California Guitar Trio: Rocks the West
This is a live outing, and that is exactly how I discovered them. A friend wanted to go to show at a particularly good local venue. Another friend (guitar player/singer/songwriter) suggested we go to see a band I had never heard of, The California Guitar Trio. I had now Idea what I was about to witness. Almost immediately, King Crimson came to mind. Then I thought about The League of Crafty Guitarists, and it made sense. My suspicions were confirmed, when Paul Richards related some history. They are truly amazing. The scope of material is just as astounding. They have originals, delve into surf music, Beethoven, and even Queen.
This recording is taken from three different shows, at three different locations, in 1999. It even features the legendary Tony Levin on several Tracks. There is also wonderful sax playing by Bill Janssen on quite a few. The sheer entertainment value is worth the price, but the music is outstanding. These guys can play, and play they do.
You wouldn’t think a group of acoustic players could pull off the last Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth. Let me tell you, it is a treat.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is probably more effective when you are in the audience. That doesn’t mean that it is not enjoyable at home.
“Caravan” is beautifully executed, and rivals any other artists’ versions.
You can’t help but love Dick Dale’s “Miserlou.” When these guys do it, it is an event.
“Blockhead” is a tune they did with (and I believe wrote for) The Robert Fripp String Quintet. This seethes with proggy goodness.
The rest of the tracks take you through many different places, and are all worthy.
This is probably the next best thing to actually seeing them live, and stands out for that purpose. Their studio albums are more concept-oriented. This is fun, and exciting. Check it out.
Bert Lams – guitars
Hideyo Moriya – guitars
Paul Richards – guitars
Bill Janssen – drums
Tony Levin – stick, bass