2015 October

Happy 100th Les Paul: 5 Classic Albums with a Les Paul on the Cover

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The Gibson Les Paul is a very popular guitar amongst musicians. It has been on the market for over 60 years and used by so many iconic guitar players, such as Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Keith Urban, Muddy Waters and so many more musicians. But what is truly iconic is there have been five album covers with these legendary musicians with a Gibson Les Paul guitar in their hands. These album covers show how much love these legends truly have for this guitar.
If you look at the cover of 1975’s Blow By Blow featuring Jeff Beck, it features him playing on his electric guitar. There is no singing or anything going on there, except from the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. This cover contained one of the earliest illustrations to feature the Les Paul. You will find plenty of other Les Paul cover examples from albums such as 1975’s Alive by Kiss, 1975’s Bob Marley and the Wailers Live, 1979’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Rust Never Sleeps, and 2013’s Skydog the Duane Allman Retrospective.
So why is the Gibson Les Paul popular amongst musicians? Many famous musicians claim they were inspired by the sounds produced from the instrument. Big rock bands, like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, were said to have been inspired by Neil Young’s guitar playing with the Les Paul. The instrument itself is a solid body electric guitar that was first introduced by the Gibson Guitar Corporation back in 1952. The man who created the Gibson Les Paul was actually named Les Paul. He was a songwriter, guitarist and inventor. Les Paul was born in 1915 and died in 2008, so he did live a pretty long life. But even though he is dead, people are still celebrating his 100th birthday by remembering five classic albums that featured the Les Paul guitar on their cover.
The very first Les Paul that was sold contained two P-90 pickups and complete gold finishing. In 1958, sunburst finishes were added with humbucking pickups. Over the next 50 years, the guitar would be redesigned repeatedly to accommodate the look and feel of certain musical genres. Musicians use Les Paul guitars with all kinds of musical genres, including blues, punk, reggae, jazz, soul, rock, heavy metal and more. The craftsmanship of the guitar is topnotch, which means you can expect to pay thousands of dollars if you want to purchase one.

Take It As It Comes by J. Roddy Walston & The Business

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“Take It As It Comes” is an outtake from their Austin City Limits performance. It’s not one of their best songs (those weren’t outtakes), but even as an average JRWATB track you can get an idea of their live performance. This is a more subdued number from them, remember they make James Brown look lazy.

J Roddy Walston and the Business

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J Roddy Walston And The Business formed 13 years ago in Tennessee but relocated to Baltimore two years later. The four piece band plays a Southern rock/Americana style of music that you don’t hear much of these days. These guys are known for their live shows, and I can totally understand why after seeing them perform on Austin City Limits. J Roddy Walston handles lead vocals as well as playing piano and guitar, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. I’ve never seen anyone rock out so hard while playing the piano – I was waiting for him to crack his head open on the top of the piano they way he was head banging so hard. Surprisingly, the band has only released 3 full length albums over the years, the most recent in 2013. I think their 2nd album which is self-titled is probably their best so far. One reviewer stated “What would happen if Queen and Black Oak Arkansas birthed four boys in the backwoods and let them listen to nothing but Cheap Trick and show tunes”. You can even hear a bit of Zeppelin in a few of their songs, just in the rhythm section which is an interesting mix with the Southern rock. That album also has the song “Brave Man’s Death” that caught my attention with their live performance. Another great quote regarding their live performances from the Baltimore City Paper “they make James Brown look lazy”. The band has done extensive touring, and in addition to playing Austin City Limits, they’ve performed at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and SXSW. Their music has also appeared in a number of television shows and movies, along with a Coors Light commercial. J Roddy Walston only will play a piano during their performances – no keyboards. He stated “I don’t play keyboards – I play piano. It’s not like you tell a guitar player to play keytar.”

Unfortunately the Austin City Limits performance isn’t available on YouTube – I really wanted to post the performance of “Brave Man’s Death”. A few outtakes are available though.