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Guitar Man

The U.K. twang that changed England’s ‘50s pop music for the better, Hank B. Marvin’s famous Shadows guitar sound is given a new twist on his 2007 CD Guitar Man. Yes, that’s him covering the David Gates’ song with Bread, but in his able hands, Hank’s instrumental version moves at a brisker tempo and is reworked into pure instro-retro magic. And that goes ditto for fresh Marvin guitar instrumentals of Sting, The Doors, Cat Stevens and a new and cool guitar take of the Carol King classic, “You’ve Got A Friend.” The midas touch in the guitar world, to those who know of him, Hank is always at his best when playing Hank, as he does on a pair of Marvin instrumentals here. Going out in a blaze of ‘60s rock flashbacks, Guitar Man closes with Hank finally doing his own instrumental rock version of the Beatles white album classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”—focusing on both melody and memory. The original U.K. guitar man’s Fab Four affinity breaks new ground with Hank’s instrumental take on the Revolver classic, “Here, There & Everywhere.’ Commenting on his connection to the Lennon/McCartney classic, Hank recalls “At sometime during 1966 I ran into Paul at Abbey Road studios. The Shadows always recorded there and of course so did The Beatles, so we regularly used to see each other and we’d all become good pals. Paul said to me ‘I’ve got a great tune for The Shadows that I’ve just finished writing’ and he played it to me there and then. I loved it, so he said he’d send me a copy of it so that we could record it, but it never showed up. Then, when I heard the next Beatles album I realized why. The song was “Here There and Everywhere. Now, at last, I finally got to record my own version and it’s on Guitar Man – it’s only taken me 40-odd years to do it!” Performing his signature Fender Stratocasters and Hodson & Aylward acoustic guitars, Hank’s 2007 CD release of Guitar Man was recorded at his studios in Australia with several players assisting including rhythm guitarist Gary Taylor, who plays a Selmer-style acoustic and the drums and percussion of Ric Eastman. With a cross-section of old and new sounds, Hank Marvin stays true to the Shadows guitar tradition on Guitar Man.



Easy Journey To Other Planets
(Misty Bridge)

He’s played guitar for some of the greatest rock legends in music history, including the late, great John Entwistle, Cream icon Jack Bruce, Traffic guitarist Dave Mason and he’s currently playing guitar with prog-rock legends The Alan Parsons Project. With such a legacy of fretboard finesse under his belts, it’s especially gratifying to see Godfrey Townsend finally get to shine in the spotlight on his solo debut. Also a great singer, Godfrey lets his guitar do the talking on his all instrumental solo CD. Produced by Godfrey and drummer / keyboardist Steve Murphy, Easy Journey To Other Planets features some excellent players but the star here is Godfrey’s guitar work and exceptional instrumental compositions. Anyone who thinks guitar-centric instrumental rock fusion—in the best spirit of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever—is a thing of the past should check out the dazzling musical interplay at the core of Easy Journey To Other Planets.



(Whaling City Sound)

The name Joe Beck will be familiar to guitar fans thanks to his work over the years with big names like Miles Davis, Paul Desmond, Tom Jobim, Paul Simon and more. Having also arranged records for Frank Sinatra and made co-artist albums with artists like David Sanborn and flamenco guitarist Sabicas, Beck returns in 2007 with an instrumental trio CD, appropriately entitled Tri07. Featuring Beck backed up by Santi Dibriano (bass) and Thierry Arpino (drums), Tri07 sounds fresh and is marked by Beck’s fat grooves, edgy improvisation and clear virtuosity on electric guitar and synth guitar. Further commenting on Tri07 Beck states, ‘These sessions were approached like a live gig. This project, I’m proud to say, has many valuable moments.’ Spanning five decades, Beck’s name has become synonymous with skillful musicianship and Tri07 is just the sort of diverse and well recorded instrumental album you’d expect from such a renowned guitarist.


Draw Breath
(Crypto Gramophone)

Draw a couple of breaths before you cue up the 2007 CD from guitarist Nels Cline. First off, there’s no singers here and not even something remotely hummable as the entire proceedings here are instrumental rock based. Currently touring with the rock group Wilco, Cline has won tons of well earned praises for his experimental merging of guitar based instrumental jazz and rock. On the third album by the Singers, Cline receives like-minded support from Devin Hoff (bass) and Scott Amendola (drums). Even with all the avant gard hard fusion wall of sound, there’s still plenty of unusual guitar flavored atmospheres to marvel at—check out track five, “The Angel Of Angels.” Between his work as a guitar figure in Wilco to his acclaimed shred-ability level as a mind-blowing fusion icon, Cline has rightly earned his moniker as the world’s most dangerous guitarist. Polar opposite in content from his guitar gig in Wilco, Draw Breath is the heaviest guitar statement yet from Cline.


The Way Beyond Blue

All the right adjectives apply to the debut solo CD from Chicago guitarist Ray Sapko. Sapko was the guitarist in the hard rock group Tantrum, who toured with legends like Kansas, Rick Derringer, Ian Hunter and more. Following his years on the rock circuit, Sapko earned his BA in guitar and he puts his vast knowledge of the electric guitar to work big time on The Way Beyond Blue. An excellent example of the guitar in an all instrumental hard rock setting, the ten track CD avoids most of the pitfall in recording an all instrumental rock album and then some. Commenting on the 2006 CD, Sapko adds, ‘The response to this CD has been extremely positive from both those who are big fans of instrumental music and those who are not.’ Hard rockers and jazz-rock fans alike will get a jolt out of Sapko’s electrifying approach to electric guitar based instrumental rock.


Chasing The Wind

Matt McPherson makes great acoustic steel string guitars and you can hear just how great they sound in the hands of Tom Hemby on his 2007 CD. Chasing The Wind features a dozen Hemby original instrumentals recorded in the studio. Hemby’s excellent guitar work and original tracks are ably enhanced by his tasteful work on bass, drum programming, synth, snare drum, organ and there’s even a guest appearance by guitar icon Phil Keaggy, who contributes a stellar electric guitar solo. Some of the jazzier tracks, featuring Hemby’s clever string arrangements, evoke some of Wes Montgomery’s A&M work in the mid ‘60s while the earthier, more acoustic sounding tracks are a little reflective of Hemby’s label mate at Autumn—the equally talented Bruce Gaitsch. Intriguing liner notes by Hemby are praiseworthy of Matt McPherson, the master builder, who’s guitar craft is put to the test and passes with flying colors on this well crafted collection of reflective, well thought out instrumental guitar music.

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in and 20th Century Guitar. Send to P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
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