Merle Travis

Strictly Guitar

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The thumb- and index-finger guitar picking method Merle Travis learned as a kid in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky served him very well throughout his long career, and he developed into one of the most skilled and innovative guitar players on the country (or any other) scene, capable of making an electric guitar sound like a complete swing orchestra. Strictly Guitar was recorded in Nashville in 1968 with Kelso Herston producing, and saw Travis revisit some of the tunes he cut his teeth on when he was first starting out in the 1920s and '30s, as well as tackling slightly later pieces like Floyd Tillman's 1949 hit, "Gotta Have My Baby Back," which Travis turns into an elegant, dream-paced instrumental masterpiece. This CD version of Strictly Guitar reproduces the original Capitol LP's cover art and set sequence, which means it comes in at under 25-minutes in length, making it a good deal short by digital-era standards, and one wishes Sundazedhad added some bonus material, but what is here is pretty amazing, including the set closer, a blistering guitar rendition of the old fiddle reel called "Fishers Horn Pipe."

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