Amos Garrett is probably best known for his guitar solo on Maria Muldaurs 1974 hit "Midnight At the Oasis" (one of Jimmy Pages favorites) and his work with Paul Butterfields Better Days. Over nearly 40 years, Garretts brilliant, tasteful playing has enhanced countless recording sessions by artists ranging from Todd Rundgren to Bonnie Raitt. Get Way Back is his seventh disc for the Canadian roots-music label Stony Plain, and this time around he concentrates on the music of blues great Percy Mayfield.
Mayfield was a highly regarded songwriter whose successes for other singers include Ray Charles "Hit the Road Jack." Garrett doesnt cover that tune, but he takes a soulful run at "Lost Mind," which Mose Allison made famous. Garrett gets Mayfield's combination of elegance and grit down perfectly on Get Way Back, but he doesn't copy him as much as capture the spirit of the earlier musician's greatness. Garrett's baritone is a fine instrument for interpreting Mayfield's lyrics, but it is his guitar playing that really commands attention. His solos are concise and fluidly played, with a deceptively laid-back feel that belies their complexity. Guitarists will be woodshedding for months to lift ideas from Garretts work.
Get Way Back is exceptionally well recorded, placing Garretts voice firmly in the center of the soundstage and a little forward, with the remaining instruments precisely arranged behind him. Engineers Nik Tjelios and Dave Allcock capture the timbre of each instrument, especially the horns (nicely arranged by Dave Babcock). Get Way Back is the work of a master.
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