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Album Review

Tony Taravella: Dedicated To Les Paul

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Les Paul (1915 to 2009) was one of the innovators in the creation of the solid body electric guitar. Paul enjoyed a long and successful career—performing and recording from 1945, backing Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, offering up a bunch of singles (this was pre-33rpm album days) with his wife Mary Ford, playing with Chet Atkins on Chester And Lester (RCA Victor, 1976) and Guitar Monsters (RCA Victor, 1978), then moving into the new millennium outing American Made World Played (Capitol Records, 2007) by Les Paul & Friends, with Eric Clapton, Sting, Keith Richards, Edgar Winter and more.

With Dedicated To Les Paul, Nevada-based guitarist Tony Taravella takes a tasteful, laid-back trip through Paul's fifty plus years of playing the guitar.

Mary Ford and Chet Atkins aside, Taravella opens "Dedicated To Les Paul with a song he recorded with Bing Crosby in 1945 that went to number one on the Billboard charts, "It's Been A Long, Long Time." Taravella's take has the same uncluttered, unpretentious relaxed vibe as the original. It is interesting that Les Paul not only pioneered the electric guitar, but that he was also instrumental in incorporating overdubbing (sound on sound) into his recording process, a mode that Tony Taravella embraces, in his playing of all the instruments here and throughout the album—multiple guitar parts (acoustic and electric), bass guitar and drums.

"How High The Moon" is from the Mary Ford/Les Paul songbook, recorded by the pair in 1951. Taravella's version eases down on some the freneticism just a bit, giving it a smoother flow here, with a marvelous arrangement featuring an echoey guitar over shuffling drums. "Limehouse Blues" is inspired by the Chet Atkins/Les Paul version from taken from Guitar Monsters (RCA Victor, 1978), and the Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington classic "Caravan" comes from the album Chester And Lester (RCA Victor, 1976), treated to another great Taravella arrangement, with a rock solid rhythm and tangy lead guitar parts.

"Via Con Dios" was a gold record for Mary Ford and Les Paul in 1953. A couple of Tony Taravella guitar parts give the sound a holy reverb, and Taravella closes the show with a prickly take on "Brazil," originally recorded with Mary Ford in 1948, and also on the previously mentioned Guitar Monsters set, featuring a convivial guitar duel give and take, originally from Paul and Ford, then Atkins and Paul, and here from Taravella and Taravella, wrapping things up with some spice.

Track Listing

It's Been A Long, Long Time: How High The Moon; Limehouse Blues; Caravan; It Had To Be You; Vaya Con Dios; I'm A Fool To Care; Tennessee Waltz; Am I Blue; The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise; The Birth Of The Blues.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Tony Taravella: acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitar, drums.

Album information

Title: Dedicated To Les Paul | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced


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