Les Paul & Mary Ford

Galloping Guitars

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As soon as Les Paul began racking up huge hits on Capitol in 1951, his old label Decca retaliated by packing its meager collection of Les Paul Trio singles onto a ten-inch LP. These sides are souvenirs from two of his jazz trios: a 1944 unit that converted standards like "Blue Skies," "Begin the Beguine," "Dream Dust" and the Russian folk tune "Dark Eyes" into vehicles for his nifty guitar, and a 1947 edition that covered two country tunes, "Guitar Boogie" and "Steel Guitar Rag." While everything he does here is marvelously tasty and original in conception, it is the two country numbers that have the most pizzazz and swing (and both remained in Paul's repertoire more than a half-century later). These tracks and seven outtakes from both sessions were reissued on The Complete Trio-Plus on CDs in 1997, albeit in CEDARed noise-reduced form, but at least they're available at long last.