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Review: Les Paul & Friends

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Artist: Les Paul & Friends
Title: American Made World Played
Genre: Rock-Blues-Pop
Label: Capitol/EMI
Les Paul Forum

Les Paul is 90 years old now. It is amazing that the man is still rockin’ after all these years. The only other person I can think of that performed at that age is Andres Segovia-another great guitar player.

Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Buddy Guy, Steve Miller, and Keith Richards, these are a few of the legends that join the man that made it all happen for them, Les Paul. Paul is the first electronic wizard of the electric guitar, his innovations in sound and recording would change music’s performing and recording methods forever. This is his tribute from a few of the people that became famous because of his work.

Les Paul & Friends-American Made World Played is an incredible album, it is in fact one of the very best recordings of 2005. Paul plays on every track. I was stunned when I heard the quality and sound of this album. Each performer digs deep to give their very best on each track. There is no doubt each contributor felt inspired to be in the presence of such an icon.

Some of the snippets from Les and Mary Paul’s show are at the beginning of some of the tracks, which makes it more interesting and it gives listeners a chance to hear a piece of history. Steve Miller’s “Fly Like An Eagle,” redone by Miller with the help of Paul, is a great remake of the classic rock track. Prior to the track beginning there is an actual recording of Miller singing as a little boy and Paul commenting on how he was going to go places, well, he was right on the money. Paul performs his well-covered tune “Caravan.” He sounds bright and crisp for a 90 year old, bringing the classic track into modern times. Sam Cooke’s incredible vocals make an appearance on the soulful “Somebody Ease My Troublin’ Mind,” while Eric Clapton and Paul add some blistering blues-rock riffs. It is the most memorable track on the album. Everyone will have their own favorites I am sure, and there certainly are enough great songs to choose, 16 to be exact, so take your pick. Ritchie Sambora does a killer job with “Let Me Roll It.” His vocals are so impassioned and right on, he never sounded better. “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo” matches the old guard Edgar Winter with the young buck Kenny Wayne Sheppard. They prove to be a lethal combination as Winter sounds magnificent while Sheppard does his usual astounding string bending to give the song yet another rebirth.

The energy and quality you will hear from start to finish on this CD is remarkable. When I first heard about it, my anticipation began immediately. I never felt let down once listening to this. The combination of familiar rock, blues, and pop tracks will surely attract a wide range of listeners.

This album is all about Les Paul and the great artists that followed his example. It is a thrilling recording that will most definitely sell a truckload of copies and I would not be surprised if it gets a Grammy nomination, it is that good so do not miss it!

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

September 5, 2005


01. Intro

02. Love Sneakin’ Up On You – Sting & Joss Stone
03. Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo – Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Edgar Winter
04. Somebody Ease My Troublin’ Mind – Eric Clapton & Sam Cooke
05. So Into You – Peter Frampton
06. How High The Moon – Les Paul & Alsou
07. Bad Case Of Lovin’ You – Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top)
08. I Wanna Know You – Neal Schon & Beth Hart
09. Good News – Jeff Beck & Sam Cooke
10. Let Me Roll It – Richie Sambora
11. Caravan – Les Paul
12. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl – Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, Rick Derringer
13. All I Want Is You – Johnny Rzeznik (of Goo Goo Dolls)
14. 69 Freedom Special – Les Paul & Friends All Star Jam
15. Fly Like An Eagle (2005) – Steve Miller
16. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know – Joe Perry & Mick Hucknall (of Simply Red)

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About MuzikMan

  • uao

    I remember reading an article in the Los Angeles Times a few months back that contained an interview with Les Paul on the occasion of his 90th birthday. The article made mention of the elderly, white haired man who was setting up his equipment before his show; turns out that was his son.

    The thought of even being a live and having ones marbles intact at 90 is a daunting one; to still be able to perform, on guitar no less, is astonishing.

    I haven’t heard this album, but you’ve convinced me to give it a spin. How many rock artists will still be playing on stage at 90?

  • I would say the answer to your question would be none, I can’t imagine any rock artist that is performing today will be performing, much less alive at 90!

    Hope you enjoy the CD. I am listeing to it right now, for the 10th time, I love it the more I hear it!

  • Great reviews here. Thanks for the positive feedback… This record was a year of hard work and focus, and it’s great to see your positive responses!

    Steve Zuckerman
    Associate Producer
    Les Paul and Friends

  • Well now I know that I did my job Steve! Thanks so much for your comments, I certainly appreciate the feedback from you.

  • Les Paul is cool.

  • Stuart

    Dear Steve,

    I had the wonderful privelege of witnessing the Les Paul 90th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall this summer. He did a heart warming rendition of “Somewhere over the rainbow”. He also announced that it was being recorded to be on a forthcoming dd he was working on with Claptomand others. It sounds like this cd , but that track is not shown.


  • Stuart

    I should have checked my spelling. where it says dd, it should read cd. where it says Claptomand it should read Clapton and. sorry. The concert was great, Les, Stanley Jordan, Frampton, Bucky, Guy, Winter, Martino,and others. Was “Somewhere..” deleted, or released elsewhere ?

  • Chris

    I just bought the album and it’s fantastic! As a Les Paul player myself, I have to say that Mr. Paul still has the fire after all these years and it does my soul good to know that if it wasn’t for his genius and love, rock music wouldn’t exist! I do have one slight question though. How come Jimmy Page, Slash or Ace Frehley weren’t involved in this album? After all, they helped make the Les Paul guitar famous too! Oh well, the players on the album are awesome though! Rock On, Les!

  • Tim

    I’m sure Les got what he could get with everybody’s schedules and cooperation. And I’m sure he had a good idea who he wanted to work with. I saw an interview on VH-1 with him called “In the House” or something like that, and he was in very good spirits and his sense of humor is remarkable. I think Les should be given the highest life achievment award in music possible. If not for his inventions of the 30’s and 40’s we would’nt be spending $30,000 on a pristine 1958 Les Paul, when they sold for $285.00 brand new. Who would’ve guessed?
    This is my favorite album in 10 years.
    Spank on.