It's not obvious from listening to it, but Popa Chubby's Big Man Big Guitar is a compilation of two live albums that were previously only available in Europe: Live at FIP and Wild. The CD is the sister title to a DVD, too, and while the release may show every sign of being a souvenir of the video, or a thrown-together hodgepodge, it isn't at all. Chubby's known for his blistering live sets, but this collection takes a risk by having a gradual dramatic arc, starting slowly with a slinky version of "Hey Joe" and working its way up to the frenzied "Keep on the Sunny Side" and "Time Is Killing Me" (consider the solo performance of "How'd a White Boy Get the Blues," a gutsy encore). What's fascinating for returning Chubby fans is that these shows come from 2001 and 2002, and the bitter political muse summoned for 2004's Peace, Love and Respect was not a major factor yet.
A massive, 2-disc compilation featuring cover versions of virtually every Peter Green song written during his Fleetwood Mac period, and a few drawn from his mid-80s solo period. While there are some weaker moments in this 39-track collection, the majority of the interpretations feature blues guitar, piano and vocal at their very best. Rather than simply pay tribute to Peter Green by faithfully imitating his material, the artists have chosen to re-interpret these songs and in most cases the results are superb. The power of Green's influence is felt all the more deeply when so many artists use his music as a jumping-off point. A must have item for blues guitar fans.
Oscar Alemán is one of the great unknown talents in jazz history. A brilliant guitarist who sounded very close to Django Reinhardt at times, Alemán was overshadowed in Europe by Reinhardt in the 1930s and spent much of the rest of his career in his native Argentina, remaining well known only in that country. This 1998 double CD from Dave Grisman's Acoustic Disc label has highlights from Alemán's career, including the eight selections he recorded during his three European sessions of 1938-1939, plus music from 1941-1947 and 1951-1954. Although the settings varied (including a sextet with violinist Svend Asmussen, a nonet, and two unaccompanied guitar solos), Alemán's basic swing style stayed the same, retaining its enthusiasm and creativity and remaining unaffected by bop. Sticking throughout to acoustic guitar and taking an occasional good-time vocal, Alemán is heard in peak form. He deserves to be much better known. A definitive two-fer from a major talent.
With a whirlwind of instrumental styles fusing classical, rock, blues, jazz, world music, progressive, as well as the quintessential California musical genre surf music, the California Guitar Trio's stunning virtuosity and sly sense of humor have earned them an enthusiastic following and wide notoriety, with significant crossover in the progressive, acoustic and classical music scenes.
JSP's New Orleans Guitar compiles four CDs of performances by Smiley Lewis, Guitar Slim, and T-Bone Walker. It's hard to go wrong with these 102 recordings cut between 1947 and 1955. The tracks have been remastered, making the majority of this material sound great. Unlike other packages of this type, the liner notes are informative, listing personnel, dates, and a concise history without going on ad nauseam. As an extra bonus this is a budget-priced set, making it highly recommended, especially for the blues novice.