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He Wrote Hit Songs for Hendrix and Joplin But No One Knew Who He Was: How Chip Taylor Made a Name for Himself

Russell Hall
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10.05.2007

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Had Chip Taylor done nothing more than write the classics “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” his place in rock history would be assured. Fact is, however, in addition to writing those songs, the New York City-based veteran has amassed a vast body of work rich in Americana traditions. As a recording artist in the ’70s and early ’80s, Taylor garnered a reputation for merging country and rhythm ’n’ blues in a way that gained notice in Nashville. Among his hits from this period were “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” which was co-written with Jerry Ragovoy and recorded by Janis Joplin, and “Son of a Rotten Gambler,” which became a Top Ten smash for Anne Murray in 1974 and was later covered by Emmylou Harris. After giving up music in the mid-’80s to become a professional gambler, Taylor undertook a national songwriter’s tour in 1993 and began writing again. Then came several solo albums and a fruitful collaboration with violinist/singer Carrie Rodriguez that yielded three acclaimed duet albums. Both he and Rodriguez returned to solo activities last year, but they remain close, and their chemistry lives on in the just-released Live from the Ruhr Triennale, which features Taylor on his Gibson J-45.
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Trini Lopez: Original Latin Pop Superstar and Inspiration for Gibson’s New Dave Grohl Inspired By DG-335

Gabriel J. Hernandez
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10.05.2007

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Growing up in the Latin “barrios” of Dallas, Texas, Gibson signature artist Trinidad “Trini” Lopez, III, learned quickly how to be a survivor. With four brothers, a sister, and a mother and father that did whatever it took to bring food to the table, Lopez’ early childhood struggles proved vital in preparing him for life as the original Latin pop superstar. As an adolescent in the early 1950s, Lopez was your typical teenager, hanging out with friends, occasionally getting into trouble and wanting to be everywhere but the classroom his parents insisted he stay in. What’s more, the elder Lopez—a musician himself— didn’t approve of his son’s circle of friends, and was always warning him to stay away from his associates. Legend has it that Lopez, Sr. grew so weary of his son’s behavior that one day he administered a severe beating in the hope of changing his son’s ways. Afterwards, he felt so bad he went out and purchased his son a black Gibson acoustic guitar. He taught him a few chords and the rest, you can say, is history!
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New Jersey Folk Rocker Matt White Has a J-200 and a Sweet, Guitar-Driven Album That’s Sure to Make Him a Star

David Sprague
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10.04.2007

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Some folks choose to pick up a guitar and play, while others have the call of the six-string encoded in their DNA—the latter category most assuredly includes Matt White, a New Jersey-bred folk-rocker with three generations of musical pedigree (not to mention a wicked way with a memorable hook) behind him.
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Revisiting Black Sabbath: The Dio Years

Aidin Vaziri
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10.03.2007

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Heaven and Hell may wrap up its North American tour this week but that doesn’t mean you need to kick yourself for missing out on the fleeting reunion of Black Sabbath’s founding members—guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and drummer Vinny Appice.
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Dusty Gem: Rockpile’s Seconds of Pleasure

Josh Baron
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10.03.2007

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As a musicologist or lesser authority—music geek, nerd, enthusiast—one of life’s true pleasures is discovering new music. Whether it’s recent or old, the hunt for something “new” is always on. As a young editor, I’ve often found asking older friends a fruitful beginning for such hunts. So it was several weeks ago over dinner that I discovered Rockpile, a one-album, no-frills band whose years of playing out has instilled them into the hearts of just about every music geek I’ve met over the age of 40.
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Ian Astbury on The Cult, The Doors, and Life as a Dirty Little Rockstar (Free MP3 Stream!)

David Sprague
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10.03.2007

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You say you want an evolution? Well, if you come to Cult frontman Ian Astbury’s door, you’ve come to the right place. Ever since he emerged from the murk of post-punk England with the dark and stormy Southern Death Cult—a combo that added an incendiary touch to the gloom of the monochromatic goth scene—Astbury has been confounding expectations left and right. After altering that band’s course and renaming it Death Cult, he dropped the fatalistic bent altogether in 1984, bringing the Cult into the rock mainstream. Amidst the crunching classic-rock riffs guitarist Billy Duffy coaxes from his ES-1275 and his collection of Les Paul Customs, surprisingly idealistic anthems like “She Sells Sanctuary” have recently emerged.
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James Blunt: The Gibson Interview

David Sprague
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10.02.2007

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He’s no Deadhead, but James Blunt has certainly learned the meaning of “long, strange trip” in the three or so years since he ceased toiling in the singer-songwriter trenches and began his ascent to multi-platinum status. Blunt’s best known, of course, for the ubiquitous “You’re Beautiful,” but as he proves on All the Lost Souls—the just-released follow-up to his 11-million selling debut Back to Bedlam—he’s not just a one-trick pony. The Brit, who divides his time between piano and guitar (he wields both a Gibson J-45 and a vintage LG-1), exudes a burnished warmth throughout the disc, bringing to mind Lindsay Buckingham and James Taylor.
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Get on the Right Track! Unsung Heroes of Early Rockabilly and Rock and Roll

Chris Gill
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10.02.2007

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It’s fitting that the Gibson electric guitar was in the teen years of its existence during the birth of rock and roll music in the mid Fifties. Gibson guitars were the preferred choice of the most influential early rockabilly and rock and roll guitarists like Scotty Moore—who played Gibson ES-295, L-5 and Super 400 models with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins—who cut tracks like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Honey Don’t” with a goldtop Les Paul, and Chuck Berry—who virtually defined rock and roll with a Les Paul Custom and a ES-350T. Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock”—perhaps the first bona fide rock and roll hit—features a blistering solo recorded by session guitarist Danny Cedrone playing an ES-300, and Comets guitarist Franny Beecher, armed with a beautiful black Les Paul Custom, ripped an impressive version during live performances to thousands of screaming kids. That, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, is a whole lotta P-90 pickups goin’ on.
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Big Sounds from Small Amps: Recording with Gibson’s GA5

Dave Hunter
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10.01.2007

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Plenty of players going into a professional studio for the first time imagine hauling in the big amp stack they use live on large stages, miking it up for enormous sounds, and wailing away. The truth is, though, the recording environment and live environment are so far from each other in their requirements that they could exist in different galaxies. Forget the scenario of your favorite guitar hero slamming his Les Paul or SG through a pair of 100-watt full stacks the way he did it at the last major arena-rock show you attended: the chances are he didn’t record those blistering lead sounds on the album that way, and trying to do it yourself might only result in disappointment, frustration, and a lot of wasted studio time. The solution? Enter sweet little single-ended, all-tube recording amps like Gibson’s GA5 Les Paul Junior. In addition to belting out 5 watts of juicy, pure class A tone that is thoroughly rehearsal- and neighbor-friendly, the GA5—given an Editor’s Pick Award by Guitar Player magazine—is the perfect amp for easing the job of achieving stellar studio tones.
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Gibson Recommends The Fratellis

Aidin Vaziri
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10.01.2007

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THE BAND: The Fratellis HOMETOWN: Glasgow, Scotland PLAYERS: Jon Fratelli (vocals, guitar), Barry Fratelli (bass), Mince Fratelli (drums) WHAT TO BUY: Costello Music (March 2007, Interscope), the trio’s debut album, is jam-packed with rowdy garage riffs and addictive pop melodies, not to mention lyrics about the best topics—girls, girls, girls. Produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air, Dave Gahan) and recorded at Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound (Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys), the album towers over all the other punky British pub rockers that have come out in recent years. GUITARS: Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson J-45, Gibson B.B. King Lucille, Gibson Hummingbird, Epiphone Rivoli Bass
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