Various Artists

Legends of Western Swing Guitar

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The 23 concise selections on this video (most of which clock in between two to three minutes) are jazz-oriented and mostly relaxed renditions of swing standards or Western swing tunes based on that style. Most prominent of the players is Eldon Shamblin, who is renowned as a masterful rhythm guitarist. Shamblin is on 15 of the 23 cuts (probably from the 1980s), some with a trio also including guitarists Billy Dozier and Bob Kiser, others in a quartet with fellow guitarist Benny Garcia, and a few in a duo with guitarist Tommy Morrell. Shamblin, who takes some solos and offers expert accompaniment, sounds influenced by Charlie Christian and shows that he could have been a strong force in the jazz world if he had chosen that route. Also featured are veteran guitarist Zeke Campbell (both in recent times and in the 1930s with the Light Crust Doughboys), early Western swing guitarist Herb Boyd (in the mid-'30s), and, on clips from Bob Wills' 1940s films, guitarists Junior Barnard, Cameron Hill, and Jimmy Wyble. It is a pity that the performances on this video are not given dates and personnel listings (other than the guitarists) and are not programmed in chronological order (they skip around quite a bit). However, the music does hold one's interest and shows how country and jazz guitar styles in the 1930s overlapped.