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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Arbiter Fuzz Face

 
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When Jimi Hendrix released his first album, 1967’s Are You Experienced, he launched a new level of guitar heroics as well as a sartorial fad for ruffled shirts and band jackets. He also fed a fashion for fuzz. One of Jimi’s main weapons was the Arbiter Fuzz Face, a cheap, crude fuzz box that would […]

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Heil Talk Box

 
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When Peter Frampton began using the Heil Talk Box in 1974, he remembers it being viewed with skepticism as an “alien effect.” Similar contraptions had been around since 1939, but few people recognized them or their otherworldly capabilities. Frampton had yet to record with it, so when he used it onstage, it caused a furor. […]

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Whit Smith

Rhythmic Rendezvous and the Hot Club of Cowtown
 
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For its latest album, Rendezvous in Rhythm, the Hot Club of Cowtown has stepped back in time. Guitarist Whit Smith plays acoustic jazz echoing the work of his heroes including Allan Reuss and Django Reinhardt. The result is a sweetly swinging collection of vintage jazz with a modern twist. True to its cattle-punching moniker, the […]

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Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin

The King of Soul The Queen of Soul
 
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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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Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost

The Stones Gear: All the Stones' Instruments From Stage to Studio
 
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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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Greg “Freddy” Camalier

Muscle Shoals
 
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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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Ibanez Tube Screamer

 
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From the first notes of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood,” you can hear it loud and clear; that snarly tone is not just pure Stratocaster and amplifier! To get that bluesy edge, Vaughan plugged into a small green box – an Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pro. SRV used the Tube Screamer to drive his […]

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