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Dave Stryker: Eight Track

Dan Bilawsky By

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Ah, the eight-track. Is there any music format that's more dated? Vinyl is on its way back, albeit with a select crowd, and the CD is still holding on for dear life, but it's not likely that eight-track tapes will be making a big comeback any time soon. Those audio-delivering relics have been left behind, yet the memories surrounding their existence and the music they helped to usher in remains fixed in the mind for those who came of age in the '70s. Guitarist Dave Stryker is a proud part of that pack.

Stryker has been known to throw a '70s pop tune into his sets every now and then, but he goes the whole nine yards on this album; all ten tunes are taken from that glorious-to-some-and-not-so-glorious-to-others musical epoch. Jimmy Webb, Pink Floyd, Curtis Mayfield and many more get the Stryker treatment on Eight Track.

Since this is a different kind of project for Stryker, a slightly different instrumental combination was in order. He turned to his working trio, with underrated organist Jared Gold and up-and-coming drummer McClenty Hunter, and then added celebrated vibraphonist Stefon Harris to the mix to shake things up. Together, these four men manage to remove the layers of schmaltz that rest atop some of these pieces, giving this music a new shine while remaining largely faithful to the originals.

Things get underway with a shuffling "I'll Be Around," a "Pusherman/Superfly" that's pleasing but a bit toothless, and a "Wichita Lineman" that's wonderfully buoyant, balancing propulsion with sensitivity along the way. As the program continues, the quartet goes full steam ahead through "Aquarius," takes a reflective look at "Never My Love," simmers on "Money," and has its way with a few other well-known nuggets.

No pretense or posturing on this one. Stryker's Eight Track is just straight up fun.

Track Listing: I'll Be Around; Pusherman/Superfly; Wichita Lineman; Aquarius; Never My Love; Superwoman; Never Can Say Goodbye; Make It With You; Money; That's The Way Of The World.

Personnel: Dave Stryker: guitar; Stefon Harris: vibraphone; Jared Gold: organ; McClenty Hunter: drums.

Title: Eight Track | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Strikezone Records

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