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Monthly Archives: May 2004

Johnny Winter – The Best of Johnny Winter

The Best of Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter was such an important guitarist when he hit the national scene in 1969, it’s a shame his discography has become so littered with bootlegs and “best of”‘s that don’t do justice to his stature as a artist. This is at least the third retrospective Columbia has served up – following White Hot Blues […]

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The Hellecasters – Essential Listening Volume 1

Essential Listening Volume 1

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone. You have certain players and bands that just can do no wrong. It’s that way for me with the Hellecasters. I just don’t know how you get three guitar players together in a better way and have them just play. This nice compilation features cuts from their previous […]

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Jim Hall – Storyteller


I guess a review of this could just say “He’s the master,” and leave it at that. But that wouldn’t be fair to you, the reader, or the publishers of VG, who wouldn’t pay me for a three-word review. This is actually a two-disc set that repackages Jim’s 1981 record Circles, and 1989′s All Across […]

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Merle Haggard – Roots, Vol. 1

Roots, Vol. 1

Norm Stephens isn’t a household name, even to country music fans who have no doubt heard his guitar playing. But to Merle Haggard, Stephens – the original guitarist behind Hag’s biggest influence, Lefty Frizzell – is a hero. When Stephens decided to come out of retirement, he placed a classified ad in the local newspaper. […]

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Ian and Silvia – The Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings

The Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings

I suppose some husband-and-wife singing duos were more influential than Ian and Silvia, but I’m hard-pressed to think of any. Their combined voices have a power and energy that is unique: instead of a lead joined by harmony vocals, Ian and Silvia sang dual leads, much like the Allman brothers’ dual guitar solos. Their first […]

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Dan Bern – New American Language

New American Language

Dan Bern must be prescient. The songs on his new CD elaborate on the new social American landscape post-September 11 with eerie accuracy. For instance, take “God Said No,” where he tells of meeting God and volunteers to go back in time and undo the misdeeds of Curt Cobain, Hitler, and Christ’s crucifixion. In every […]

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Marc Antoine – Cruisin’


Antoine is a fine acoustic guitarist who has developed a style rooted in smooth jazz, but is always pretty interesting. In fact, Antoine, and his fellows, on this one, do work that could easily degenerate into light-funk hell. Things start with a remake of the Sergio Mendes chestnut “Mas Que Nada.” Antoine and friends make […]

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John Hiatt

America's Troubadour

Over the past three decades, John Hiatt has emerged as one of America’s most inventive songwriters, covering the genres of rock, blues, acoustic, folk, and new wave. As Hiatt developed his own songwriting technique, artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Three Dog Night, Iggy Pop, and Paula Abdul have taken notice and […]

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Alison Brown Quartet – Replay


Acoustic jazz is one of those “difficult” musical categories that doesn’t get much attention. Most jazz fans won’t take seriously anything that lacks a horn, while folkies are intimidated by music where they can’t hum along after 10 seconds. Ironically, if they give it a chance, both groups will enjoy Replay. Acoustic jazz at its […]

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The Band – Rock of Ages and Islands

Rock of Ages and Islands

These two late albums by The Band need little introduction. By the time they were originally released – Rock of Ages in ’72 and Islands in ’76 – The Band had made its mark both on its own and by backing of Bob Dylan. While these albums both included some solid music, they were far […]

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