Tahoe Daily Tribune, CA
October 10, 2008
It was good to see 73-year-old Les Paul still alive to see his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twenty years later, Paul is still around to enjoy the accolades that continue to roll in.
“Les Paul & Friends, A Tribute To A Legend,” which the legendary guitarist released Sept. 28, includes a contingent of Paul prodigies who celebrate the wide range of styles from the instrument he developed.
Paul was a pioneer in creating the solid-body electric guitar, which allowed the sound of rock ’n’ roll. He was also an innovator in multitrack recording, phasing and delay effects, and overdubbing.
In 1948, Paul suffered severe injuries in a car accident. In a well-documented story, doctors told Paul he would have limited use of his left arm. Paul had them put the arm in a bent position, which would allow him to hold a guitar.
He’s made some 40 albums, playing in a jazzy style. But Paul is a master of every guitar genre, including a 1977 collaboration with country’s Chet Atkins to record the acclaimed album “Chester and Lester.”
Although Rolling Stone rated him the 43rd greatest guitarist of all time, Paul is best-known for his guitar innovations. Gibson put his 1941 electric guitar prototype into use, and music has never been the same since.
Now 93, Paul’s right hand is fine but he can use of only two fingers on his left hand. But the man can still play. He contributes to seven of the new album’s 10 tracks. The list of other contributors is impressive:
• Slash, of Velvet Revolver, best known for his time with Guns N’ Roses.
• Joe Bonamassa, a rising guitar wizard and one of the few legitimate great white hopes of blues.
• Peter Frampton, whose talking guitar led to one of the best-selling albums ever, “Frampton Comes Alive.”
• Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls.
• Joe Perry, the guy from Aerosmith who Rolling Stone ranks just five notches behind Paul.
• Richie Sambora, the player, songwriter and producer behind Bon Jovi.
• Hiram Bullock, who died of throat cancer July 25 during the album’s production.
Bullock was the big man in David Letterman’s band, and also played with Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Steely Dan, Paul Simon and David Sanborn…..