Alright, here’s the deal. I haven’t played in a band for about three years. It became a deal of the “day job” getting in the way. But I just got some gigs with some old playing buddies, and was doing some woodshedding. “Oh, yeah,” I thought to myself after a few days of practice, “I can play!” Then I heard Classic Scotty – a display of guitar playing both intimidating and inspiring at the same time.
I’ve always been impressed by Anderson’s chops, but this record is another thing altogether. It may be the most perfect guitar album I’ve heard in years.
Scotty combines every form of country with jazz, rock, and anything else you can think of. “Going Down This Road Feeling Bad” starts things off with some Atkins picking guaranteed to have Chet smiling in heaven. By the time he’s done with this wonderful cut, it has covered the history of the mixture of country and jazz and displays some insane chops. Single lines and double-stops that bounce everywhere.
If “Honey Fingers” doesn’t bring to mind Jimmy Bryant, you ain’t heard Jimmy Bryant. What’s really fun, though, is the way Scotty keeps things personal and unique. The mix of country and jazz overflows on this uptempo gem.
The tour de force is an incredible rendition of the old Animals classic, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” The solos and the arrangement are extraordinarily clever. The feel is almost Blue Note at times. There are several solos, all imaginative, and all classic. But check out how he plays around the changes at the end. This is easily my guitar song of the year – so far!
If ballads are your deal, the beautiful tones and sounds Scotty coaxes out of his Tele on “16 Candles” and “Cold, Cold Heart” will satisfy you. Check out the harmonics on the latter. The playing is beyond description. The cover of the Beatles “All My Loving” is yet another highlight. It starts as a solo statement of melody, delivered Chet and Merle style. Then it flies into bebop heaven. Scotty even puts his own flourishes on the melody that actually add to the already excellent original.
Blues your deal? You’ve probably never heard a version of “Milk Cow Blues” you’ll like as much. You want some ideas to spice up your blues playing? Give this one a listen. Oh yeah, did I mention the cover of “La Grange?” The arrangement doesn’t change much from the Z.Z. Top original, but the playing sure does. Scotty weaves blazing jazz and rock licks with killer bends to really jazz up this classic.
The oddest cut on the disc is also one of the best. I never thought I’d hear this kind of player cover Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” but to say it works would be an incredible understatement. It’s jazzy, it’s funky, it’s rocky, and monster fingerpicked riffs add a touch of country.
One other thing I love about this record is its length. For some time now it seems every disc I get is longer than 70 minutes. Invariably, there’s some waste. Not here. It’s 40 minutes of pure guitar heaven. If you pick up only one CD this year, make it this one. “Virtuoso” is an overused term, but it fits Scotty Anderson.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.