September 29, 2009

Will McCarthy - This is Music for Films

Will McCarthy has kindly sent me this 2008 release for the blog! It has been chosen to be used for the soundtrack of a DVD about "Forests of Spain". An instrumental release, Will works with a Spanish guitar throughout.
From the press release:

"This is Music for Films" is Will McCarthy's first soundtrack album. A self-taught musician, this Londoner of mixed descent has settled in Valencia, Spain. He's been playing and recording for 20 years and has explored all corners of Europe, East & West, North & South. He's picked up some musical influences along the way! The universal experiences of travel, work, love, heartbreak, faces and places have all played their part in the making of this album.

Here is an eclectic and distinctive collection of original compositions flavoured with folk, polkas, blues, Arabic, flamenco, funk touches and much more. It is catchy, happy, sad, reflective, mysterious, moving, irreverent and more.

It is the sound of a unique and diverse musician, more concerned with expression and feel than studied technique and endless takes. It's different and that's what makes it special. With just one guitar and one microphone, it is a naked collection of instrumentals...just for you. This is music for films. Enjoy it!
Track list
8-Con Man
18-Faces & Places
23-The Hit
27-On the Road

Download the entire CD HERE
Visit Will on MySpace

September 27, 2009

The Genius of Les Paul - Multi-Trackin'

Yeah, I know I'm a lot late on this. Been busy, or lazy, take your pick!
Sleeve Notes from the 1979 London Records release:
There is no electric guitarist performing who is not indebted to Les Paul. His sound and the hardware he invented to achieve it is revered by the likes of Jeff Beck, George Benson, Eric Clapton, Pat Mortino, Pete Townsend, Richard Betts and Jimmy Page.
Not since Thomas Edison-to whom Les Rightly compares himself-has anyone contributed as much to recording technology. He invented sound-on-sound, making it possible to record one signal independently of an entire program. This process, also called overdubbing, was first introduced on his early fifties hits with Mary Ford, where he played between three and twelve guitar parts and she became the first double-tracked vocalist. He "discovered" echo or delay, a dimension which has totally reconditioned listeners, perceptions to a "depth-of-field" or an acoustical space surrounding the source. Consequently he is responsible for spawning an entirely new area of study and systems called psychoacoustics. (Editors note: I've seen the psychoacoustics in concert!)
Les Paul perfected the solid body electric guitar, was the first to put two pickups on one guitar and the first to build a guitar with 14 frets. Since their introduction in 1952, the instruments he designed for Gibson are the ideal of the majority of electric guitarists.
Les is not only an inventor, he is a capital musician. When he came to New York City in the late thirties he fell in with the best. Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Christian. He worked in Fred Waring's Orchestra then went on to back Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters. In 1949 he had his first of what would be a long string of hit records with the Rodgers & Hart standard "Lover".
Les retired from music and performing in 1965 to concentrate on developing new inventions. But in 1967 he was coaxed back into recording again by London's Walt Maguire. The idea was to rework some of the original classics-"Lover", "How High the Moon", "Tennessee Waltz", "Bye Bye Blues", and "I Really Don't Want to Know" -with his updated systems. You hold the results in your hand as, The Genius of Les Paul-Multi-Trackin' (originally released as "Les Paul Now" in 1968).
Since 1975 Les has been active again in performing and recording; last year he won a Grammy for his collaborations with Chet Atkins called Chester and Lester. -Peter Hay
My thoughts-
Interesting that this was first released in 1968, when solo guitar was going strong; Takoma was about to release 6 and 12 string by Kottke, Basho was up to several releases, Fahey, of course was well into his career. Interesting because despite the genre differences and the emphasis on creating layers of sound, specifically layers of electric guitar, this is arguably (and i like to argue) a solo guitar album. There are no vocals, and yes, there is some other instrumentation, but it is really just light support for Les' amazing playing. The emphasis here is to put multiple guitar parts together for the sake of the song as a whole.
The first time I heard this I was blown away. This was one of those moments I can point to as being very important to my development as a fan of the guitar. My grandmother owned this album and thought I would like it. Well, being about 17 and very into Led Zepp, I had a good laugh that she would own anything I might like. Grandma got the last laugh on that one! I, ahem, "borrowed" the album periodically before getting my own copy. I now own two copies, if anyone out there is into the vinyl thing and is interested in buying one, let me know, I am willing to part with one of the two.
Some good thoughts about Les:

September 21, 2009

Ragtime Ralph - Unearthed: live...February 28th, 1981

Folks, Ragtime Ralph is back from the past with a newly discovered recording from a live show.

This is a 35 minute set performed (coincidentally?) on Fahey's 42nd birthday. If you have all of Ralph's other releases, you need this one too! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you better get with it and get the rest of the releases by going HERE.

This is a solid set in the same vein as the Vol. 4 release.

Get it HERE


September 17, 2009

Otis Taylor – Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs

I’ve heard many a musician talk about the space that needs to be left in a composition. I’ve always thought of that in terms of notes, the notes that one doesn’t play. But Otis Taylor makes songs with space between the singing…lots of space. And man-oh-man does it work.

Overall, Taylor as well as his daughter, Cassie, are about the emotional impact of the song. Taylor’s singing and lyrical style is very repetitive. He labels it call and response, call it what you like but I find it fascinating that he can say so little in a song, and have it mean so much.

Taylor crafts his songs with space for playing too, and it’s always appropriate to the feeling of the song. He builds his songs in a progressive manner, adding layers, but always leaving that space for the musicians to shine. Somehow Taylor manages to let them show off without screwing up the songs.

Taylor’s use of the acoustic guitar is great. He doesn't just play the notes, he pounds them out in a percussive way that is rarely heard in a band setting. All too often acoustic guitars are lost in the mix once all the instruments kick, but Taylor keeps it sharp and up front, setting the pace for the song.

It’s hard to really label this as a blues CD, it’s a big, messy soup of styles. One minute it’s modern blues, then his daughter sings a plaintive ballad. Next is a song with some tasty licks played on a nylon stringed guitar. Trance banjo followed by a jazz piece that seems to be equal parts Miles Davis, Nik Bärtsch and of course Otis Taylor. And all of this is a good thing. So if you haven’t discovered Otis Taylor yet, this is a good place to start.

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