A se­lec­tion of new and reis­sued gui­tar re­leases, in­clud­ing Al­bum Of The Month

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Re­views this month cover an ex­cit­ing spec­trum of re­cent gui­tar-led re­leases...

Al­bum of the month

BRIAN SET­ZER’s ROCK­A­BILLY RIOT! Surf­dog/Cargo Records The King of mod­ern Rock­a­billy is back with a corker of a live al­bum and DVD recorded in Ja­pan this year. Backed by drums, bass, keys and gui­tar this is the stripped-back Set­zer, sans his big orches­tra re­sult­ing in a more strut­ting rock and roll sound. Armed with his trade­mark Gretsch gui­tars, brown-faced Fen­der Bass­man amp and a dash of slap-back echo, Set­zer’s gui­tar tone is woody and wirey, recorded won­der­fully here. As it’s a live gig, one ex­pects some of his clas­sics so it’s great to hear Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town, Sleep­walk and Rum­ble In Brighton in all their glory. As for so­los, stand­outs in­clude the pull-off and bend­ing raw­ness in Stiletto Cool and his trib­ute med­ley, Gene & Ed­die crams in pretty much all the best dou­ble-stop, Bigsby dips and pull-off moves so beloved in the genre. Closer, Seven Nights To Rock fea­tures him and the band chug­ging like mad while his gui­tar wails mag­nif­i­cently. A riot in­deed! Janet Robin Take Me as I aM Lit­tle Sis­ter Records Janet is a busy woman with a new band project re­lease, The String Revo­lu­tion (four-gui­tar line-up) and this new solo al­bum, Take Me As I Am. The lat­ter is a vi­brant pop-blues-rock re­lease fea­tur­ing 10 songs stuffed with gui­tar tones and ‘ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced’ by John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash and June Carter’s son). A blend of electrics and acous­tics drive the opener, I’m A Rich Girl, a blues fea­tur­ing an in­fec­tious groove and Pen­ta­tonic gui­tar lines. The Bari­tone gui­tar riffs and acous­tic strum­ming in Leave It To Me hark back to the ’70s; Janet’s time tour­ing with Lyn­d­sey Buck­ing­ham has been a good in­flu­ence. The up­beat groove and rich rock riff­ing of On My Feet nods to­wards gui­tar pop while the uni­son bends, ham­mer-ons and tre­molo pick­ing add en­ergy for the solo. Janet’s got broad chops as her short solo acous­tic piece, Pre­lude To A Dream shows; it’s full of busy strum­ming and pre­cise riff­ing pull-offs. Her early lessons with Randy Rhoads have sure paid off! Jeff Healey Hold­Ing on Provogue Healey was an im­mense mu­si­cian with unique style and a great voice, so this new al­bum should ap­peal to fans of killer gui­tar! Com­pris­ing five out­takes from his 1996-98 ‘lost’ al­bum Heal My Soul and 10 live track from a 1999 con­cert it’s a riv­et­ing lis­ten. Kick­ing off with a full-tilt blues-rocker, Love Takes Time, Jeff’s gui­tar is pas­sion­ate and sear­ing with one of the most ar­rest­ing bend­ing and vi­brato ap­proaches ever. One of his most ap­peal­ing as­pects was rhyth­mic au­thor­ity, both as a soloist and as a riff cre­ator; Ev­ery Other Guy has a Bea­tles-meets-SRV feel while the dou­ble-tracked riff and strummed acous­tic in All That I Be­lieve is very ap­peal­ing. As for the live tracks, he’s on fire with a crack­ing take on Dust My Broom, a laid-back How Blue Can You Get and a fun Stuck In The Mid­dle With You with its slick slide solo. If you han­ker for more Healey gui­tar at the end, See The Light is full of bluesy blazing! Wil­lie and tHe bandits sTeal Jig-Saw Wil­lie Ed­wards (vo­cals, gui­tars), Matt Brooks (bass) and An­drew Nau­mann (drums) are known for their stun­ning live shows. And as Steal’s opener Miles Away kicks in with Wil­lie’s acous­tic lap-slide and dirty bot­tle­neck elec­tric, you get the feel­ing that they mean busi­ness. While nei­ther straight blues nor rock, this al­bum ticks a lot of those boxes, but with the added el­e­ment of strong so­cial aware­ness in the lyrics. Hot Rocks is a riffy, Stonesy, num­ber, while Scared Of The Sun is un­der­pinned by a gor­geous moody riff from Brooks’s six-string bass and a heart­felt slide solo from Wil­lie. On 1970 Ed­wards leads with a fin­ger­picked elec­tric riff, while Our World’s acous­tic gui­tar, con­gas and five-string dou­ble bass lend a cooler vibe. Filled with light and shade through­out - in­clud­ing Deep Pur­ple’s Don Airey adding keys on three tracks - it was recorded ‘live in the stu­dio’ to cap­ture the group’s leg­endary live feel. If you like your blues on the dirty side this is a great lis­ten from start to fin­ish.

JOHN May­all Talk ABOUT THAT Forty Be­low Records

Since the mid ’60s May­all has been at the fore­front of Bri­tish blues. He’s in­tro­duced us to Eric Clap­ton, Peter Green and Mick Tay­lor - and that only ac­counts for about four years of The Blues­break­ers! May­all may be 83 but you’d never guess it from this new re­lease. On Talk About That, he’s joined for a cou­ple of tracks by an­other leg­end in the form of Joe Walsh, who said of the ex­pe­ri­ence: “It has been a bucket list item since 1970 to play with John May­all… fi­nally got the chance.” The two tracks con­cerned are The Devil Must Be Laugh­ing and Cards On The Ta­ble - prob­a­bly the gui­tar high spots of the disc, with Walsh adding six-string foot­notes to May­all’s tor­tured lyrics. Other gui­tar du­ties fall to the im­mensely ca­pa­ble Rocky Athas. Look out for live dates at Ron­nie Scott’s in April. GOR­DON GILTRAP THE LAST of eng­land An­gel Air Gor­don’s lat­est project sees him team up with multi-key­board player Paul Ward, who adds sen­si­tive or­ches­tra­tion to the 14 tunes on The Last Of Eng­land. The first seven pieces make up The Broth­er­hood Suite and are based around Pre-Raphaelite paint­ings, some of which hang in Birm­ing­ham’s Mu­seum and Art Gallery. Gor­don has huge fans in the rock world in­clud­ing Pete Town­shend, Brian May and Ritchie Black­more – the lat­ter nom­i­nat­ing Gor­don as, “one of the best acous­tic gui­tarists in the world”. We can al­most hear his fans nod­ding in agree­ment. As you would ex­pect, the tracks are in­tensely melodic with touches of an al­most baroque grandeur here and there. You’d ex­pect a bit of the GG fretboard wizardry and there’s plenty of that in ev­i­dence from his ‘plec­trum and fourth fin­ger’ pick­ing style, but above all what you get here is sen­si­tive, beau­ti­ful mas­tery.

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