Author Archives: Dan Forte

Various artists

I Heard The Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from the Nashboro Label, 1951-1983

With recent crossover success of gospel icons Mavis Staples and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, along with the sacred steel school of slide guitar coming out of the shadows, this four-CD package focusing on more obscure acts of Nashville’s Nashboro label (more…)

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Calvin Keys

Electric Keys

To some, Calvin Keys is already a legend; to far too many, he’s an unsung hero or, worse, an unknown. In addition to being honored with Pat Metheny’s tribute “Calvin’s Keys,” on the composer/guitarist’s Day Trip album, in his 50-plus-year career Keys has toured with Eddie (more…)

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ZZ Top

The First 20 Years, Un-Remixed

Usually, the hook with boxed reissues is that they include previously unreleased songs, alternate takes, live material, and maybe some extra tchotchkes like rare photos, revisionist essays, or poster reproductions. Sometimes it’s remixed versions of familiar hits. It’s rare that the main attraction is un-remixed albums (more…)

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Nick Knirk

Nick Pickin'

As soon as this Louisiana native finished high school, he relocated to Denton, Texas, near Dallas, where he got a degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. He lists Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Cliff Gallup, Danny Gatton, Chet Atkins, George Harrison, (more…)

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Jeff Beck

He Can’t Help It... He Just Keeps Getting Better

In 1985, speaking of the ’83 Action Research into Muscle Distrophy (A.R.M.S.) Tour that united Yardbirds alumni Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton, the latter stated, “At that time and for many months after that, I began to think of Jeff as probably being the finest guitar player I’d ever seen. And I’ve been […]

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Eric Bibb

Celebrating Wendell Berry In Music and Jericho Road

Kentuckian Wendell Berry is a 79-year- old farmer, activist, novelist, journalist, and poet. He has received numerous awards, but never anything like this tribute, which puts Berry’s words to music – in two distinct formats, each succeeding admirably. One CD, In Song And Shade, finds (more…)

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Jo’ Buddy

Inside Out

To celebrate 30 years on the road, this Finnish bluesman gathered up the various aggregations he’s toured and recorded with, along with some special guests, to deliver a dozen originals – each screaming “lowdown.” “Finnish bluesman”? That’s right. Before you snicker, remember that the best instrumental (more…)

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Michael Bloomfield

From His Head to His Heart to His Hands

It’s difficult to critique compilations, especially those that include material from various labels: you never know what licensing restrictions were imposed, which cuts the A&R folks would’ve included but weren’t able to. It’s even harder when the artist in question changed your life. Mike Bloomfield had that (more…)

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Lenny Breau

Live at Dante's, 6-18-84

Jazz and R&B great Phil Upchurch said, “Lenny Breau was the most innovative guitarist since Wes Montgomery.” Considering that Montgomery is widely regarded as the third link in the chain of jazz guitar’s greatest stylists, after Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, it’s a lofty claim (more…)

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Perry Beekman

So In Love

Perry Beekman’s solo debut, subtitled Sings And Plays Cole Porter, offers 15 examples of why Porter’s catalog has outlived passing fashions and fads. The Woodstock-based guitarist considered calling it A Tale of Two Coles – the other being Nat “King” Cole, whose drummerless-trio format Beekman (more…)

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