Author Archives: Dan Forte

R.J. & the Del Guapos

Rockin! With R.J. & the Del Guapos

Guitarist/vocalist R.J. Ronquillo’s quartet utilizes three-fourths of the Panamericans, with him taking the place of Joao Erbetta. You can’t do much better than saxophonist Ron Dziubla, bassist Rob Douglas, and drummer Pete Curry – and they didn’t even have to leave their (more…)

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George Harrison

The Apple Years, 1968-'75
A Wilbury's Early Works

As the Beatles came to an end, George Harrison moved from the back seat to the catbird seat. In the Scorsese documentary, Living In The Material World, Phil Spector recalls Harrison offhandedly mentioning that he had a few ditties he’d written, after which he brought Spector (more…)

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Big Apple Blues and Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King

Energy and Fat Man’s Shine Parlor
Blues A-Plenty

Considering that its first-cousin, jazz, is predominantly an instrumental form, it’s surprising that there are so few instrumental blues albums. In terms of guitar, of course, Freddie King excelled most successfully, but that was more than a half-century ago. In recent years, Ronnie Earl (more…)

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Captain Beefheart

Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972
Ahead of His – or Anyone’s – Time

“Lick My Decals Off, Baby,” “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop,” “My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains.” That’s right – we’re talking about Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, and his Magic Band. Beefheart and co. emerged from the Southern California desert in the mid ’60s. Their first full-fledged (more…)

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Sergio Diab


Brazil and the guitar have a long, prolific relationship with each other, from the classical compositions of Villa-Lobos to Laurindo Almeida’s mix of classical and jazz to the bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto. Two standouts carrying the torch today are Joao Erbetta (more…)

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Markus James

Head For the Hills

James is Virginia-born but has spent time in Northern California and West Africa. His work with three Malian musicians resulted in the documentary film Timbuktoubab. He points out the too-similar-to-be-coincidence similarity between the black fife and drum bands in Northern Mississippi’s hill country and West Africa. The (more…)

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Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

The Complete Epic Recordings Collection
The Good, The Bad, and The Troubling

One of the greatest blues guitarists of any era, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s recorded output with his band, Double Trouble, consisted of only five albums (four studio, one live) during his lifetime. And though he hit the scene like the self-described hurricane in his adaptation of (more…)

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Charlie Haden and Jim Hall

Charlie Haden - Jim Hall

In the past year, the jazz world lost two giants in guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Charlie Haden. All the more reason to celebrate this previously unreleased recording of the pair performing as a duo at the 1990 Montreal Jazz Festival. Haden and (more…)

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Dave Ray

Snaker is Back!

Kudos to Red House Records for this three-CD set of rare and unreleased recordings by blues singer/guitarist Dave Ray. It probably won’t fly off shelves, but more people need to be exposed to the music of Ray, who has been largely overlooked in the various treatises on blues and the Folk Boom. “Snaker,” as he […]

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Annie Ross

To Lady with Love

Although she has released 20 solo albums, Ross is best known for her tenure in the vocal trio of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, from ’57 to ’62. But she’s also been a nightclub owner, songwriter, actress, and the subject of a documentary and a Broadway (more…)

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