STONY PLAIN RECORDS SPCD 1381
THAT’S ALL RIGHT–SUSIE Q–SLEEP WALK–LEAVE MY WOMAN ALONE–YOU’RE THE ONE–COMIN’ HOME BABY–FLIP FLOP AND FLY–ONLY THE YOUNG–POLK SALAD ANNIE–BAD APPLE–COUNTRY BOY
The blues has been on a hot streak lately, given the number of outstanding releases over the last few weeks. They include the Arlen Roth “Slide Guitat Summit,” Tad Robinson’s “Day Into Night,” and a live set of previously-unheard tracks from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Add to that list one of the most-anticipated releases of the year, “Guitar Heroes: Making History” from Stony Plain. Recorded live at the Vancouver Island MusicFest on July 12, 2013, this set features the legendary guitar talents of Albert Lee, James Burton, Amos Garrett, and David Wilcox performing some of the most-recognizable songs of the rock era.
The reverence these players have for each other is the reason this whole set is such a fun listen. There were no egos—just four guys getting together to jam, altho these four arguably changed the course of rock and roll guitar forever thru their recorded legacy.
Albert Lee’s backing band serves the same purpose herein, including Jon Greathouse on keys and vocals, Will MacGregor on bass, and Jason Harrison Smith on drums. Every cut is a gem, embellished by the brilliant solos traded back and forth by these men. Leading off, Albert Lee has the vocal on “That’s All Right,” and everyone gets a solo. Albert also takes lead vocal on a cover of Ray Charles’ “Leave My Woman Alone,” and closes the set with his own “Country Boy,” filled with one flourish after another.
Jon Greathouse has the vocal, but it’s that killer riff that drives “Susie Q,” played by James Burton just the way he did on the Dale Hawkins original. James also has a fine solo on “Comin’ Home Baby,” an instrumental that took us back to the days of listening to just about any Elvis Presley live recording from the early Seventies, where, as that song played in the background, he’d introduce the band members, including “James Burton on guitar.”
One of the most unique vocalists on the set is Canada’s “best-kept secret,” David Wilcox. His big voice sets the tone for “You’re The One,” “Flip Flop and Fly,” and his own “One Bad Apple.” Amos Garrett has perhaps the most electrifying performance on the album. His solo take on Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” begins as did the original, then takes off into new territory by its climax, thanks to Amos’ groundbreaking string-bending techniques.
Meant to be just a souvenir for the band, it soon became something special that everyone believed HAD to released to the music-loving public. And so it is—“Guitar Heroes: Making History” is four legends at their best! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.