Arlen Roth review…April 14, 2015…

ARLEN ROTH

SLIDE GUITAR SUMMIT

AQUINNAH RECORDS

DO WHAT’S RIGHT–DUST MY BROOM–STRANGER ON THE SHORE–SONNY SKIES–ROCKET 88–DIXIE CHICKEN–POOR BOY BLUES–AND WHEN I DIE (ONE CHILD BORN)–PEACH PICKIN TIME IN GEORGIA–PARADISE BLUES–STEEL GUITAR RAG–YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME–HER MIND IS GONE–AMAZING GRACE

Upon listening to this collection of songs from some of the finest slide guitar players on the planet, all we can say is–“WOW!”  Arlen Roth is one of the most influential guitarists of our lifetime, having played with literally hundreds of artists, including Simon And Garfunkel, Janis Ian, John Prine, and countless others.  Heck–he even sat down front at Woodstock in 1969 to see Johnny Winter.  He’s a noted instructor as well, with many well-known manuals and on-line tutorials.  Johnny was Arlen’s first choice for this album, “Slide Guitar Summit,” and it would sadly serve as his last recorded works prior to his untimely passing in 2014.

This set has it all—brilliant guitar playing, a topnotch lineup of songs, and diversified talents, each of whom brought something unique to the proceedings.  Jack Pearson starts the action with one of his original works, a Fifties-inspired rocker, “Do What’s Right,” with he and Arlen trading smoldering licks throughout.  Arlen and Lee Roy Parnell have more fun than the law will allow on “Dust My Broom,” and a tribute to Lowell George, “Dixie Chicken,” both with killer piano from one of the South’s finest, Kevin McKendree.  The latter also features backup vocals from the Britts, Etta and Bob.

Arlen and Jimmy Vivino give two powerful acoustic performances, with Jimmy’s vocal leading the way on “Poor Boy Blues,” and a spirited “And When I Die.”  Arlen takes the lead vocal (and yodel!) on “Peach Pickin Time In Georgia,” his slide backed by Kentucky Headhunter Greg Martin.  They team up again to close the set offering a somber instrumental version of “Amazing Grace,” in tribute to loved ones lost by the families of Arlen and Greg.

Cindy Cashdollar, a tremendous steel guitar player, added a unique dimension to two instrumentals.  One has always been a favorite of ours, Mr. Acker Bilk’s “Stranger On The Shore.”  This one has Arlen adding some Duane Eddy “twangin” guitar, while the other is the timeless “Steel Guitar Rag.”  Johnny Winter’s performance on “Rocket 88” with Arlen bring to mind those vintage sides from Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West, and served as our favorite from a set that has absolutely no weak points.

With Arlen Roth’s “Slide Guitar Summit,” he brought together not only some of the world’s greatest players, but, through them, paid tribute to many greats who have passed on.  This is a tremendous set that every listener can appreciate!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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