Pete Drake

Forever

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Pete Drake's "talking steel guitar" effect was created when he sang through the pickup on his pedal steel, making a robotic sound that anticipated "Freak-A-Zoid" and vocoders by decades. On Forever, Drake uses the effect most extensively on "I'm Just a Guitar (Everybody Picks on Me)," but otherwise delivers more predictable fare on the order of an instrumental rendition of Bill Anderson's "Still," an entrancing steel guitar arrangement of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk," and an occasional original. A vocal chorus chimes in wordlessly or, as on "Sleep Walk," by dreamily intoning the song title. Drake was a virtuoso and a sought-after sideman who deserved to step forward as a soloist. Forever is a treat for enthusiasts of the steel guitar and Drake's ability, but only ones who also have a liking or tolerance for easy listening -- the country music content on Forever is very low.

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