In the days of commercial music schlock, it’s a shame that listeners aren’t exposed to real guitar licks these days. The era of the ‘real guitar hero’ has passed us by as far as high visibility is concerned, where mainstream listeners trade in the desire for the burning axe for emotional singer songwriter fodder; or when it gets down to the heavy stuff, it’s about screaming and aggression, and not the musicianship that sells; what has this world come to? Thankfully, Magna Carta has helped expose real guitar playing to the current generation with their first installment of their Guitar Greats series. Just like their ‘Prime Cuts’ series, Magna Carta Records presents a collection of some material from their past releases that feature various six string slingers.
You have different type of material spread out over different guitarists. From the Working Man Rush tribute, you have Jake. E Lee rocking through the straightforward version of “Working Man,” George Lynch adding a more technical approach to “Anthem,” and Michael Romeo’s interesting version of “The Analog Kid” (Feat: Jack Russell on vocals), where at the end of the song there is this keyboard/guitar duel that was not featured in the original version by Rush, making for a unique cover. Two Niacin tracks grace this compilation, adding guitarists to their most often ‘guitar-less’ power-trio stance; Steve Lukather (& Glenn Hughes) guest on the blues driven “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” while Vinnie Moore adds crunch to “Time Crunch.”
Between the Tull cover of “Cat’s Squirrel” (f/ Derek Trucks), Steve Morse’s acoustic ballad “Cool Wind, Green Hills,” the progressive metal epics of both “Fate Speaks” (f/ John Petucci) & “Screaming Head” (f/ Joe Satriani), the previously unreleased jam session of Bozzio/Levin/Stevens’ “Roadside America Medley,” or even Alex Skolnick’s interesting “Western Sabbath Stomp,” there is a lot of ‘real guitar playing’ here.
This is a nice set for those who want to look into what the true form of the six string ability is about, some of you might already have most of the material, but kudos to Magna Carta for keeping the true spirit of guitar playing alive.
- Tommy Hash, Ytsejam.com
Magna Carta Guitar Greats, Vol. 1
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