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Author Archives: Dan Forte

Robben Ford

The One and Only
 
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There’s never been a shortage of young guitar hotshots, but in recent years, particularly among blues players, these phenoms seem to be promoted more for their age than their playing. The early work of Robben Ford helps put all this hubbub in perspective. In 1970, when the 18-year-old guitarist/saxophonist came out of Ukiah, in Northern […]

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David Grissom

How It Feels To Fly
 
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One of Les Paul’s favorite aphorisms when assessing other guitarists was, “Can his mother pick him out on the radio?” Or as Albert Collins put it, “Does he have an identification?” David Grissom passed those tests decades (more…)

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Various artists

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

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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