Eric Gales / Eric Gales Trio

Ghost Notes

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Eric Gales was hailed as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix when he first hit the blues circuit, an anointment that carries with it impossible pressures, and while Gales is a wonderful guitarist (naturally right-handed, he was taught to play the guitar left-handed, an odd thing, but again, Hendrix-like), he isn't Hendrix, nor will he or anyone ever be. Working out of the power trio format, Gales has more than proven he can play on his many albums, but his voice is average at best, and his songs tend toward the generic, often more like vehicles for guitar leads than actual songs that are crying out to be sung. That's why Ghost Notes is so intriguing, because it's Gales' first all-instrumental album, and therefore it bypasses his weaknesses as a performer and plays to his strengths -- the man sure can play guitar. Ghost Notes crackles with energy, a sturdy mix of blues, rock, and straight-out funk fusion, and Gales' playing is joyous and elegant by turns, making this arguably his best album yet. The opening track, "Pickin' 'n Grinnin'," begins at a gallop and never lets up. "EG Shuffle" blasts across the speakers. "Just Funk" is, well, wonderfully funky. Not everything here roars, though. "Grandaddy Blues" is a lovely acoustic blues, while the set closer, a version of the traditional "Amazing Grace," is a little bit acoustic and a little bit electric, opening as a gentle, chiming acoustic number before exploding into a full electric anthem. There's nary a vocal in sight on Ghost Notes, and they're not missed -- Gales' guitar does all the talking, and in the case of this album, that's a very good thing.

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