Thursday, April 25, 2013

Joe Maphis - King of the Strings

This is another terrific instrumental album, aptly named for the C&W/Bluegrass "king of the strings". Here he shows off, once again, his blinding speed and precision and demonstrates how he influenced many musicians to follow.

Plenty of bluegrass influence here, as usual, but lots more, as on "Hot Rod Guitar", the obvious basis for Commander Cody's hit "Hot Rod Lincoln" (with vocals added). Joe is quite at home on banjo in "Banjo Boogie Shuffle", and dedicates a tune to his pal Merle Travis, picking up some of his techniques, on "A Little Bit of Travis". "Double Neck Boogie" explores the two necks of his custom Mosrite guitar while "Invitation to the Blues" is one of his most country-influenced (as opposed to bluegrass) numbers. On "Sweet Rosie" (dedicated to his wife, who he often teamed up with) he shows that he can play gut-stringed, acoustic guitar as well as electric and gives it a jazzy-style. "Coffee Break" is one of his insanely manic tunes, done in a single take, utilizing the full extent of his Mosrite!

Fiddle was Joe's first instrument and he is nearly as fast on this, as is evident on "Scalping the Indians" but he goes back to what he is known for on "Fiddlin' on the Guitar" - taking high-speed fiddle runs and adapting them to guitar. Wild stuff!

While Fire on the Strings would be my first choice as a recommendation for someone looking into Maphis, this is another excellent outing!