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5.0 out of 5 stars Wondrful collection of 12 string instrumentals played by masters, 10 Mar 2009
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This review is from: The Complete Twelve String Story (MP3 Download)
I would like to think that when I reviewed 'Anthology of the 12 String Guitar' and commented that I wished they would also release Volume 2 of the set, that someone, somewhere listened. But I'm not that vain. However, I most certainly AM please that this CD does contain both sets of recordings that I once bought (and still have) on those two LP's.

These are brilliant recordings of the 12 string guitar being played in all manner of country, folk and blues styles by a whole range of top notch guitarists. There's no singing to interrupt or distract you - it's pure 12-string from the start of track 1 to the final jangling chord of the final track. There is fingerstyle, flatpicking and rhythmic playing .... absolutely anything and everything that any fan of the 12 string could possibly want.

The recordings all date from the early 60's, so the styles reflect music of that period. There are thus none of the pyrotechnics or techniques of modern 12 string players - but that's NOT to say that all you hear are folk songs played instrumentally. Listen to the mp3 samples and you'll see what I mean. Fred Gerlach's '12th night' is a case in point. Gerlach stays on just the right side of dischord as he explores a wide range of 12 string tonal properties. Then there are several varied tracks featuring superb blues playing by Billy Strange, Mason Williams, Frank Hamilton etc.

Soon after buying the original LP's I found a book titled 'The big 12 string guitar' published as part of the 'Pacific Popular' series. This featured Jim Helms' transcriptions of the main themes from 21 of the 24 tracks. As far as I know, this book has been long out of print but can occasionally be found on Ebay (especially the American version). Thankfully, I held onto my copy.

So to whoever authorised the release of this compilation (and just in case they ARE reading this) - thank you. Thank you.

Those of you DO like folk tunes played reasonably 'straight' might like to check out these CD re-releases of LP's by Billy Strange. (He was a renowned session musician and part of 'The Wrecking Crew'. He specialised in the 12 string, and his LP's, plus a couple of 12 string instrumental LP's by Glen Campbell, were some of the earliest LP's I ever bought, and which I still have).

Railroad Man
Strange Country

One word of warning about other Billy Strange CD releases - one or two contain selections from the same tracks as the two I've identified, but use different album titles. All others seem to be his electric guitar releases which were much more run-of-the-mill (ie: 'bread and butter' work for a session man) and not to my taste at all. Obviously, you may disagree, but I suggest you listen to mp3 samples first. His 12 string recordings, however, are classic and well worth checking out.
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