Why Am I Reviewing a CD??????
And if not, why not? If it's good enough for Keith Richards, Steve Miller, Billy F. Gibbons and Slash, among others who perform here in that style, well hell, then it's good enough for you! No doubt Les's playing and his technological innovations with guitar and multi-tracked overdubbing affected all of them. But surely his playing hit them more squarely in their young guitarist wheelhouse.
Secondly, this record was recorded all-analog on vintage tube gear that warms up even a cold CD's "heart" (in quotes because CDs don't really have them)—though Slash's and Billy F. Gibbon's parts were recorded elsewhere and probably "phoned in" digitally.
And thirdly, recording, mixing and mastering engineer Ben Elliott told me he planned to issue the album on AAA vinyl. But just in case he's gotten "cold feet" I figure I'd review the CD to gauge your interest in hearing this on vinyl.
The concept was simple: pay tribute to Les by having his friends and fans play and sing songs—mostly standards— he played in concert and some that he made famous, sometimes with Mary Ford, and probably some that were just of the time.
Contributing guitar and vocals are Steve Miller (who was Les Paul's godson as he relates in a pungent liner note story), the aforementioned Gibbons, Slash and Keith Richards (on "It's Been a Long, Long Time"), José Feliciano, Blondie Chaplin, and "Jersey boys" guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and Rascal Eddie Brigati, Jr.. The performances by artist you're less likely to know, including those who regularly played with Les, are no less notable as you'll discover if you purchase this CD.
There are no lowlights, but one of the highlights is the rich, reverberant recording. You'll sink your ears into it within seconds of the opener "Avalon" (not the Roxy Music song!) featuring guitarist Frank Vignola. It's almost unfair to single any one track among the twenty one tunes, but for me, Steve Miller's take on "Nature Boy" was particularly elegant. Nothing beats people singing and playing live together minus auto-tune.
An edition containing the CD along with a DVD showing the studio goings on is even more highly recommended. I hope a vinyl edition is forthcoming. After listening to this CD there was nothing left to do but pull out my stash of Les Paul LPs on mono Capitol and stereo Columbia and appreciate the man himself.