Tom Principato – House on Fire

House on Fire

Tom Principato is probably familiar to many VG readers. A fine player in his own right, he’s also responsible for some fine books that teach about guitar, and he’s also been known lately for his release of material from his old buddy, Roy Buchanan.

Anyway, this one is Tom’s first new record in a long time, and it sizzles with the intensity of someone who couldn’t wait to get in the studio and just burn. Check out the big, fat chunky Fender chords, and the honking, squawking, and bending of the solo in the opener “‘Til I Get What I Came Here For.” You know he means business right off the bat.

There’s a couple of excellent shuffles here too. “Crazy Mixed Up World” has one of those solos where the notes appear to be “singing.” They hang in mid-air, just asking to be plucked down. “Shuffle-50” lets him use the Leslie, and also take it off to give a demonstration on blues soloing for all listening. “Break Out!” is an uptown shuffle that lets Tom add a little jazz spice to his playing. A song usually associated with Buchanan gets a nice workout here too. “Done Your Daddy Dirty” is served up as an instrumental, with nasty solos that include big string bends and chords all mixed together. Tom even reworks a song I haven’t heard in about 25 years; the very funky “Apricot Brandy” has nice chickin’ pickin’ and big-time soloing. That tune was a minor hit in the late ’60s for a band called Rhinocerous.

All in all, this is a fine record with fine guitar playing. Tom’s playing is smart, without sounding too studied. His vocals are always adequate, if not distinctive. And his cohorts, John Perry (bass) and Joe Wells (drums) keep things moving along nicely.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

No posts to display