I am going to cut right to the chase on this one. I have purchased thousands of blues and rock recordings in my now LONG lifetime, works of love from artists ranging from the Who’s Who of the Rock Generation to gifted independent performers with truly outstanding recordings heard by nearly no one. My personal collection has been reduced over the years to a mere thousand or so of my “favorites”.
With that in mind, I have no problem today stating that “Six String Svengali”, the latest release from the Texas based blues/rock guitarist Buddy Whittington, is my favorite recording in my collection. And, when I consider all the criteria by which I judge recordings (musicians, vocals, song writing, studio sound, energy, etc), this may also be the best recording of this genre that I have ever heard.
Known primarily as the long time guitarist for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers , Whittington has finally emerged with his own musical identity on this tremendous recording. Guitarists in this genre just do not come any better than Whittington, nor do blues/rock vocalists. His song writing which has always been formidable, took a quantum leap forward in this latest set. I could write an entire review about the remarkable opening track “Back When the Beano Was Boss”, which may be the finest blues/rock single I have ever heard. The song is partly biographical, partly historical, and paints a somewhat dual picture to me. It is primarily a statement in regards to the famous “Beano” album, John Mayall’s second album featuring a young Eric Clapton on guitar (a Les Paul that would also become known as the Beano guitar) . Whittington’s song recalls the days “back when the Beano was boss”, referencing a time in my own musical history when I began to hear the great blues/rock music of the British invasion of the early 60s. The dual meaning of the song to me comes from the fact that not only did the Beano album of John Mayall introduce a lot of US teens to the blues, but for me personally no single guitarist brought this music more to my own ears than Eric Clapton via his assorted bands. While Clapton in his later life has been somewhat forgotten and overshadowed by others, it was his guitar that first brought the music of Freddie King and many other blues greats to our ears here in the States. Great lyrics, Billy Gibbons like licks, and Buddy’s wonderful vocals begat a tune that has been played more times in my player than most could imagine.
Not to slight the rest of the recording, as the entire set is as good as it gets. Buddy as always covers a lot of styles on the CD, all without any loss of quality which speaks volumes of his versatility. Some songs are funny, some are more serious, all are honest, enjoyable, and supported by a band that I just cannot imagine being any better, a band consisting of Whittington on guitar and vocals, Wayne Six on bass, and Mike Gage on drums. If you love power trios like I do, you will absolutely love this recording.
This is the one CD you HAVE to buy this year and it is available from numerous suppliers including Amazon.com. Please visit the official Buddy Whittington website at www.buddywhittington.com, buy some tunes and drop Buddy a note, he is both a tremendous musician as well being a world class person.
Buddy Whittington – Guitar, Vocals
Wayne Six – Bass
Mike Gage – Drums
1. Back When The Beano Was Boss
2. Deadwood And Wire
3. My World Revolves Around You
4. Ain’t Got The Scratch
5. I Had To Go See Alice
6. Fender Champ
7. Six String Romance
8. Texas Trios
9. The Put On Song
10. For Crystal Beach
11. While We’re Here
Copyright 2011 Manhaton Records
© Bluesrockers 2012