Essential Listening, Vol. 1

Essential Listening, Vol. 1

by The Hellecasters


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Essential Listening, Vol. 1

The Hellecasters play some fierce guitar. Their decade and three albums are keenly summed up on this fine collection, which stuffs in representative chunks of jazz, blues, pop, rock, and country. The thing is, these vets are pretty fluid in just about everything they do, so it's occasionally tough to discern one track from another (or one player from another, for that matter). A couple of unreleased cuts and a rarity are bait for fans, but novices will get the most from Essential Listening. While it helps to be a guitar freak, this trio's blend of Allman Brothers-style jams and playful heavy metal rips solidly convinces that even prodigious technical wizards are capable of having fun.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/20/2002
Label: Hightone Records
UPC: 0012928814621
catalogNumber: 8146
Rank: 12313

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hellecasters   Primary Artist
John Jorgenson   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Keyboards,Vibes,Soloist
Jerry Donahue   Acoustic Guitar,Gong,Rhythm Guitar,Keyboards,Soloist,Coral Sitar
Guy Babylon   Keyboards
Dennis Belfield   Bass
Bob Birch   Bass
Luis Conte   Percussion
Steve Duncan   Percussion,Drums
John Hobbs   Keyboards
Donald Lindley   Drums
Charlie Morgan   Drums
Will Ray   Guitar,Sitar,Soloist
John Davis   Bass

Technical Credits

Michael McDonald   Engineer
John Jorgenson   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Jerry Donahue   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Hellecasters   Arranger,Producer
Jimi Hendrix   Composer
Will Ray   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Bob Kearney   Engineer
Cindy Pascarello   Graphic Design
Eric Nordquist   Engineer
Andy Green   Engineer
Jim Cowan   Liner Notes,Executive Producer

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Essential Listening, Vol. 1 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Instrumentals have been a mainstay of rock and country since their inception, and those driven by electric guitar have popped up repeatedly since the instrument¿s invention. From steel-and-guitar combos like Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant to Buck Owens & Don Rich¿s twin telecasters to British Invasion acts like The Shadows to innumerable surf bands to fusionists like Joe Satriani and recent instrumental bands like Los Straitjackets, the electric guitar has logged a lot of time in the spotlight.

The trio of guitarists that make up the Hellecasters (Fairport Convention¿s Jerry Donahue, The Desert Rose Band¿s John Jorgenson, and session picker Will Ray) are all masters of the six-string sting. Their talents include firebrand flat-picking, cozy slide playing, nearly inhuman string-bending and the sort of finger-tapping histrionics that fueled many of Eddie Van Halen¿s solos. What makes their music unique is that the guitar isn¿t spotlit for a solo, it¿s the basis. And it¿s not one virtuoso, it¿s three, trading licks and prodding each other to ever greater heights.

The band¿s fourth album, their first for Hightone, continues their application of legendary playing to a broad array of originals and a cover of Noel Redding¿s ''Little Miss Strange.'' The glee in their trio playing keeps this from being an academic exercise, though the constant onslaught of guitar pyrotechnics may be too intense for all but the guitar aficionado. As catchy as some of the melodies are, the laid-back, languorous solos are generally outweighed by dramatic, heavyweight playing. Sure to be a favorite of guitar fanatics.

3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.