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Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs (1970)

“I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us are.  Very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad.” [backed by distant manic laughter]   Speak To Me, Dark Side of The Moon   There are so many stories about the Pink Floyd co-founder, original lead singer and...

Rory Gallagher - Blues (2019)

The release of Blues, a 3 LP collection Rory Gallagher’s material, released on May 31, 2019, is a special treat for fans of the legendary Irishman’s style and commitment to the mastery of his instrument and the blues. It comes in 3 delicious parts, Acoustic, Electric, and Live performances, a treasure chest of rare unreleased recordings,...

Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978)

Blondie’s third album, Parallel Lines (23 September 1978; Chrysalis Records), was a pop sensation that brought the band international success and sold over 20 million copies but, like a lot of classic albums, it was born out of almost total disorder.      One key element of this chaos - and success - was...

Hollywood Vampires - Rise (2019)

You will be forgiven if you don’t know the new kids on the rock block, Hollywood Vampires, but the band’s components will certainly ring bells. The main moving parts are rock God Alice Cooper/lead vocal, Aerosmith’s axe-shredder Joe Perry, and superstar Hollywood actor/bad boy Johnny Depp brandishing his guitar on this their 2nd LP, Rise...

Jeff Beck - Truth (1968)

It’s been 51 years since the release of an album that defined an era in rock history: Truth, by the Jeff Beck Group. It would become the standard bearer of all things blues/rock to come. For starters, it brought together young talents like singer Rod Stewart, bassist Ronnie Wood, pianist Nicky Hopkins, drummer and ex-Bluesbreaker Mickey Waller,...

Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars (2019)

The Boss has released his first studio album in 5 years, a pretty little gem called Western Stars that is lined with his hybred country inclinations, backed by soulful orchestral cinematic brushes, yet while ever-Springsteen, the album is more thoughtful and less political, housing a well produced package of slow-baked short stories, woven through...

Peter Frampton - All Blues (2019)

One track on All Blues (7 June 2019; Ume), which contains Peter Frampton’s cover versions of his favourite blues classics, stands out above all the rest for its poignancy: Howlin’ Wolf’s (based on Jimmy Oden’s 1942 standard) Going Down Slow.   On Going Down Slow, Frampton teams up with Steve Morse to extend and distort...

Pretenders - Pretenders (1980)

The Pretenders eponymous debut album (7 January 1980; Real Records) is not without its critics – some argue that it is overrated – but we at Guitars Exchange rotundly disagree, because the fact is that there is a huge amount to celebrate about this band’s first offering.    Firstly, let’s talk about Chrissie Hynde....

Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)

As 31 December 1969 approached, more than the end of the decade it seemed like the end of the world, mainly because the United States was caught up in a spiral of violence from which it seemed they might not emerge. The corpses of their young continued to arrive in coffins from Vietnam, their leaders were shot, like Martin Luther King and...

Stray Cats - 40 (2019)

A few weeks ago Little Steven released the joyful album Summer of Sorcery and now Stray Cats return with 40 (24 May; Surfdog Records); a huge celebration of rockabilly. With new records by Black Keys, Tool and even the Pixies rumoured to be on the way, we may be heading for a much anticipated revival of rock and guitar music in the not too...

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River (1969)

Green River was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s third album, the second of the three they released in 1969 and the first of their ‘trilogy of masterpieces’, to be completed with Willie And The Poor Boys and Cosmo's Factory. John Fogerty seemed to be touched by a magic wand and his creativity overflowed. It is incredible to think...

Idlewild - Interview Music (2019)

‘Expect the unexpected’ might be one summation of Idlewild’s eighth album, Interview Music, released 5th April.   “It is a disparate record; it’s more explorative. Some of the songs are classic Idlewild, whereas the rest of it goes off on different tangents,” guitarist Rod Jones recently told Guitars Exchange, and a listen...

The Dream Syndicate - These Times (2019)

Californian-band The Dream Syndicate’s latest album, These Times (3 May 2019; Anti-) in many ways has the feel of a straight-forward road album, although the image they have chosen for the cover evokes a kind of psychedelic river trip. Either way, the journey is without doubt worth making.   Following 2017’s well-received...

The Who - Tommy (1969)

Tommy is one of those albums that is much more than an album, Tommy was quite an event that turned The Who into a group as popular as the Beatles and Stones. In its time it was considered to be the first rock opera in history and had a tremendous impact on its contemporaries, it may not be true but it was the album that best exemplified the concept...

Little Steven - Summer Of Sorcery (2019)

Steven Van Zandt is one confident dude.   He sees the world as being in a disastrous state - “It’s unbelievable what’s going on; we’re in a civil war here” - and so decides to make an album, Summer of Sorcery (3 May 2019; Wicked Cool/UME), as celebratory and as sunny as could be. And then he organizes a huge world tour to...

Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

At the end of 1968 Neil Young was quite disoriented, and he continued pretty lost after leaving Buffalo Springfield with a first solo album that, in his own words, had too many 'pre-recordings'. But then he listened to an album that he liked a lot; namely the debut album by the Californian band The Rockets. Young had known of them from the...

Bob Seger - Night Moves (1976)

‘Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight’, as the saying goes, and one gent who knows that to be true is American rock God Bob Seger, the Detroit native kicked around in various bands like The Decibels, The Town Criers, and Doug Brown & the Omens, then fronted his own groups called Bob Seger and the Last Heard, then The Bob...

Erja Lyytinen - Another World (2019)

Finn Erja Lyytinen’s latest self-produced album Another World (26 April, Tuohi Records) is a real treat for guitar lovers everywhere.   The European Blues Award Winner is well established as a blues artist but recently her music has tended more towards 80s rock and metal. On her latest record she has also brought in American...

Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger (1975)

In 1975 Willie Nelson had definitively ‘found himself’. This is because the key elements that led to the discovery of the Nelson that we all know today were: firstly, in 1969, when he took control of Trigger, a classic Martin N-20 with nylon strings (on which he added the pickup from his old Baldwin to amplify its sound). When he received...