If you're craving new Les Paul tunes, the fourth generation release, Now! , is not where you'll find them. Not because it's not a great albumit is. Classical artist Michael J. Dutton's remastering allows you to hear more delicate elements of the different guitars' various tones and textures. But this album was originally conceived as a compilation for Les Paul. And now the compilation has been released three times without changing much.
Most of the tracks on Now! first appeared on a variety of Capitol recordings from the '50s. Some of the tracks included the soft, twangy voice of Paul's former wife, Mary Ford. In 1967, when Paul was working on Now! and had divorced Ford, he rearranged the tunes she had sung on and recorded them again without her. Little else distinguished the 1968 compilation LP's music from the original recordings. In 1979, the album was released again, this time under the title Multi-Trackin'. Again, the music was basically the same.
25 years later, Dutton's work on this collection does create a new layer of nuances to Les Paul's recorded sound, albeit a subtle one. For example, "Lover,"? written in 1947 for eight electric guitars, remains a celebration of technique and the remastering makes it sound as if it's being performed in your living room. "Lady of Spain"? and "Golden Earrings"? are still great and "Los Angeles"? rocks out, distinguishing it from most of his work.
If you haven't already heard Now! , maybe now is the time to check it out. Besides the enhanced sound quality, the original liner notes that accompany the disc provide an informative look back at the nature of Paul's innovations on guitar. Though dated, the notes remain fresh in the sense that when they were first written, Les Paul was not the same stuff of legend that he is today. But your money might be better spent checking out the master in action on a Monday night at the Iridium than on another re-re-issue.
Track Listing: 1. Lover;
2. Bye Bye Blues;
3. The System;
5. I Really Don't Want to Know;
6. Tennessee Waltz;
7. How High the Moon;
8. Little Rock Getaway;
11. Los Angeles;
12. Lady of Spain;
13. Golden Earrings;=.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.