A wild, woolly, wonderful lesson in where the guitar has been and where it might be headed. If Johnny A. isn’t familiar to every guitar-head in America within two years, there’s no justice in this world. It’s rare to find a guitarist who has both a profound sense of the instrument’s history and the spunk to still explore new directions for it. On Sometime Tuesday Morning
Mr. A. and friends cover the gamut of country, blues, old-style rock ’n’ roll, and jazz stylings, and it’s nearly impossible to stop listening until the disc is done.
Johnny A.’s spongelike capacity for absorbing musical techniques blossoms to full fruition on tracks like the boogie “Oh Yeah”, where he flits between clipping chords, fluid single-line soloing and rockabilly vamping like it’s all second nature to him (which it probably is). He manages to breathe new life into the warhorse “Wichita Lineman”, addressing it tenderly with a gorgeous soft touch. He provides his own rhythm-guitar backup on the smoldering blues “Two Wheel Horse”, marrying Larry Carlton and Link Wray. A lesser-known Beatles tune, “Yes It Is”, gets a radical, shimmering makeover, while the Ventures chestnut “Walk Don’t Run” is seriously, hilariously transformed into a tango.
Most of the compositions are Johnny A. originals, all of them well thought-out and arranged with wit and nostalgic adoration. One would hardly expect to find tracks like the fun poop-kicker “Tex Critter” and wailing, brooding “Walkin’ West Ave.” on the same disc, but that’s the kind of variety that Johnny A. specializes in. Like Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble team, bassist Ed Spargo and drummer Craig McIntyre provide just enough firm, appropriate rhythmic support to drive the guitarist along without intruding on his territory.
This disc is a guitar fanatic’s wet dream come true, a consummation of six-string history with no self-absorbed shredding to take away from the real impact. Absolutely essential.
Personnel: Johnny A., guitars, bajo sexto, lap steel; Ed Spargo, electric bass; Craig McIntyre, drums. Track #2 only: John LaMoia, percussion; Mark Valentine, snaps and claps.