I confess! When I was 15 years old, David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars seemed a little odd to me. When I got a little older, I realized what great rock and roll it was. So it was no surprise Mick Ronson escaped my notice. He was, of course, Bowie’s foil and guitarist during [...]
Monthly Archives: March 2002
If you’re a fan of vintage ’60s fat-bottomed fuzz, nothing sounds better than a vintage Arbiter/England Fuzz Face… when it’s operating right. The pedal is highly regarded among players and collectors alike, especially when it’s equipped with NKT-275 transistors. In an attempt to recapture the pre-Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face sound, Ivor Arbiter recently reissued his [...]
The likes of Dylan, Mellencamp, Van Morrison, Dwight Yoakam, and many more cover the songs of one of country music’s pioneers. The covers mostly work. There are a few clinkers, but cuts like Steve Earle and the V-Roys “In the Jailhouse Now” salvage the effort easily. This review originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’98 issue.
An album just short of brilliant from a name I had’t heard in awhile. Killer songs, great delivery, and amazing use of an acoustic guitar. Highly recommended. This review originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’98 issue.
John Hurt played a different breed of blues from Delta stalwarts like Son House and Robert Johnson. Hurt was an all-around songster, and his simple guitar and downhome voice were infectious. This two-CD set is a fine collection of Hurt’s best work, recorded at his peak following his “rediscovery,” in 1964. This review originally appeared [...]
Electric guitarists often speak of the “Fender sound” or the “Marshall sound” when referring to amplifiers. And these amps certainly provide distinct coloration to the amplified signal, with different, but equally musical tones. But bands leading the early British “invasion,” beginning with the Beatles, used other amps, the best known of which was the Vox. [...]
North Carolina bluesman Roy Roberts is an original, and there’s no other blues singer or guitarist who can equal his blend of minor-key, soul-laced shuffles. Like the great Otis Rush, much of Roberts’ best blues and ballads are driven by his minor-key songsmithing, which adds a smooth underlying darkness to his themes. He sings in [...]
This four-CD box set illustrates again how the seed planted by Hendrix’s created a whole tree of rock guitar that still fourishes, although not at the level of creativity it did with Jimi. The music here is all alternate takes and previously unreleased stuff. And, it all re-establishes Jimi as the rock guitarist. There’s too [...]
This month’s guest reviewer is so good I asked him to stick around for two sessions so we could savor his down home humor and nasty guitar playing for twice as long. Will Ray is a Hellecaster, a record producer, and hellacious guitarist. Plus, he invented a new style of electric guitar playing using his [...]
Big Jack “Oilman” Johnson lays down modern-day Mississippi Delta blues at their best. Hailing from Clarksdale, some of his songs come straight from his front porch, such as “Lonesome Road;” others are hot from a juke joint stage. Throughout, Johnson’s fiery riffs and jagged, intense slide and fretted solos give you no mercy. These are [...]