Richard Johnson and Jud Martindale — Creatures of Habit
(11 el-0113, 1993, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01For those interested with tracking down the roots of master acoustic fret bender, Richard Leo Johnson, look no further! Uncovered from the independent release catacombs is a 1993 gem from Johnson and percussionist, Jud Martindale on an obscure label from Arkansas. All twelve tracks were recorded live with minimal overdubs from Johnson and showcase his then already great dexterity which can now be confirmed prior to his Metro Blue Note label release, Fingertip Ship from last year. Johnson's "habits" on this disc are just as spectacular as you'd expect. There are many notable pieces from the album's bright opener, "Men' Jahbo" to a few opus pieces including "Brick Dust and Fish Oil/Iron Mountain Waltz." The guitarist is adept at adding his own distinctive flair to the ten-minute track by using a shuffle rhythm counterbalanced by an Ozark Mountain motif. The second half of the piece has some added backing from electric sitar which adds a unique texture to the mostly acoustic outing. By tapping and utilizing an aggressive picking action, Johnson places himself on a plateau with Michael Hedges' high energy work. Too bad the two of them never had a chance to exchange a healthy musical dialogue. Percussionist Jud Martindale is at his best when not just time keeping by emphasizing the melodic context of the guitarist's backside so to speak. Overall, this disc is a welcome find to lovers of tasty acoustic guitar playing without self- indulgence or too much introspection.
Related artist(s): Richard Leo Johnson
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more