It's hard to look at Danny Gatton's career and not feel melancholy. As one of the most gifted guitarists of his generation, he always commanded the respect of his peers and critics, but he never was widely celebrated during his life. Nobody will ever know exactly why he chose to take his life at age 49, but there's little question that he left behind some impressive work -- even if it is difficult to listen to his joyous, lively playing and not ponder why he chose suicide. Nevertheless, Hot Rod Guitar: The Danny Gatton Anthology is a glorious tribute to the unsung guitar hero, boasting 30 tracks that vividly illustrate why he was always considered a guitarist's guitarist. The compilers reach back to American Music, his 1975 indie debut with the Fat Boys, then touch on every phase of his career, including such rarities as a live cut with Robert Gordon. Even with such obscurities gracing the collection, Hot Rod Guitar is not a rarities compilation, it's a career history that traces the progression of Gatton's music quite gracefully. Die-hard fans may find a track or two missing, but most of the major pieces are here and all 30 tracks add up to a definitive portrait of a prodigiously talented, boundlessly inventive, and unfortunately tragic guitarist.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Robert Gordon