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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost

The Stones Gear: All the Stones' Instruments From Stage to Studio
 
Rolling-Stones-Gear

The rest of the world may be titillated by what the Stones smoked, shot, snorted, or ingested. But some of us have our priorities straight; we’re more concerned with what the band strummed and drummed. Noted guitar historian Andy Babiuk is hip to all this. Babiuk is, of course, the author of the phenomenal Beatles […]

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Steve Cropper

Homage to Lowman Pauling
 
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All but forgotten today, with his low-slung guitar, stylish rhythm licks, and tasty leads, Lowman Pauling was one of the great guitar heroes of the ’50s. Guitarist for the R&B doo-wop band the 5 Royales, not only did Pauling pick melody lines and play leads, he also composed many of the band’s songs, sang in […]

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Little Feat

Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971/1990
 
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Little Feat’s run of records for Warner Bros. from 1971 to 1990 was no little feat. The band suffered the effects of too many genius musicians, personnel changes, drugs, and alcohol. In effect, too much of the bad old ’70s in general. The band’s music remains legendary, however. This 13-CD box set explains why. The […]

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The Strypes

Blue Collar Jane
 
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Here’s rock and roll like it used to be – ageless, timeless, and ready to count off again. The Strypes are a quartet from Ireland, all just 15 to 17 years old, running on pure raging teen energy, Ray-Bans, and Clearasil. And they play wailing, howling, and strutting R&B with raw force. Yes, this is […]

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Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin

The King of Soul The Queen of Soul
 
Otis-Redding

First off, neither of these excellent four-CD sets includes personnel listings in their skimpy liner booklets. This is simply unpardonable – especially considering how stylish, how influential, how downright phenomenal the backlines are on most of these songs. But to back up and start from the start, these two new collections are fine, budget-priced sets […]

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Greg “Freddy” Camalier

Muscle Shoals
 
Muscle-Shoals

To the rest of the world, the Swampers are best known from the cryptic verse in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” And while they might have picked up Mr. Van Zant when he was feeling blue, most folks can’t say the same. But that’s simply because most folks couldn’t name a song the Swampers played […]

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Dan Auerbach

Black Keys’ Road Map Back to Blues, British Rock
 
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Forget about the classic quartet. Forget the power trio. Forget any preconceived shortcomings you may have concerning a rock-and-roll duo. There’s no denying it – the Black Keys crank out impressive noise. As one half of the band – drummer Patrick Carney – once joked, “We’re normally a 12-piece jazz big-band, but the other 10 […]

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The Band

Live at the Academy of Music 1971
 
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The Band’s double-LP Rock of Ages was released in August 1972, their first live collection – as well as their last before they disbanded with 1978’s The Last Waltz. As phenomenal as their finale show was, guest stars and all, the earlier collection captured them at a creative peak and was a much more characteristic […]

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Jimbo Mathus

Dark Night of the Soul
 
Jason-Eady

None other than Jim Dickinson once christened Jimbo Mathus as “The singing voice of Huckleberry Finn.” Huck Finn with a hot-wired and hoppedup electric guitar in hand, that is. And now he’s back with his ninth solo album. Mathus is best known as the ringleader of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, which fused old-timey jazz, blues, […]

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Jeff Senn and Crazy Aces

Dealing Out Twang
 
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When you build guitars for a living, you might unwind with another hobby – say, beer-can collecting or crochet. Not Jeff Senn, mastermind behind Original Senn Guitars. He started a band. Call it R&D or just plain fun, but Senn’s band, Crazy Aces, is a funky, kitschy ensemble that plays an amalgam of hard-driving surf, […]

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