Arlen Roth released his first album “Guitarist” in 1978 and it won the Montreux Critics’ Award for “Best Instrumental Album”. He recorded “Foolin’ Around” in 1993 with Danny Gatton and Duke Robillard, and a documentary commemorating the event. In 2008 he recorded the sequel “Foolin’ Around Woodstock”, with Levon Helm and Sonny Landreth, and another documentary. Roth’s 2012 album “All Tricked Out” received four Grammy nominations. His last recording was 2015’s “Slide Guitar Summit”.
During the course of his forty-five year career Roth has toured and recorded with Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Levon Helm, John Prine, Pheobe Snow, Janis Ian, and The Bee Gees among others. Roth was involved in the making of the blues film “Crossroads” with Ry Cooder. Roth is also a teacher as his “Hot Licks Video” series pioneered guitar education; with over 2.5 million copies sold. Roth has been voted one of the “Top 50 Acoustic Guitarists of All-Time” by Gibson and has also become known as the “Master of The Telecaster”.
“Tele Masters” was produced by Grammy winner Tom Hambridge. The core band includes Roth, guitars; Billy Panda, acoustic guitar; Tommy MacDonald, bass; and Hambridge, drums.
In the making of this album Roth and producer Hambridge enlisted many of our greatest guitarists. Roth states “This was such a rewarding experience for me to make…I got to do some Telecaster duets with the best of the best…” “This album is dedicated to the great ‘Tele Masters’ of the past: Albert Collins, Danny Gatton, Mike Bloomfield, Roy Buchanan, Clarence White, Roy Nichols, Don Rich, Jimmy Bryant, Luther Perkins, Muddy Waters and so many more.”
“Remington Ride” is an instrumental written by Hank Penny and steel guitarist Herb Remington who recorded it in 1950. I first heard the tune years later by the bluegrass band Reno and Smiley and the Tennessee Cut-Ups when it became a showcase for Don Reno’s five string banjo. It serves as the introduction as Roth is heard with both guitarist Steve Wariner and lap steel sensation Cindy Cashdollar.
Cashdollar is heard again with Roth on Stan Jones’ classic “Ghost Riders in The Sky”. Guitarist Vince Gill joins Roth on the country standard “Satisfied Mind”. On “Tennessee Waltz” Roth is accompanied by, his daughter, vocalist Lexie Roth. On Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway” guitarist Jack Pearson accompanies Roth and also sings. Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” features guitarist Albert Lee. Guitarist Will Ray, from the Hellecasters partners with Roth on Link Wray’s “Rumble”. Jerry Donahue is the guitarist featured beside Roth on Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land” with a vocal from Sweet Mikey C.
Roth also contributes five originals on which he can be heard alongside guitarists Brad Paisley, Brent Mason, Bill Kirchen, Redd Volkaert; and on a tribute to Danny Gatton featuring Johnny Hiland.
Guitarist Steve Cropper joins Roth on “White Lightning”, a song Cropper co-wrote with Hambridge, and he also sings. Joe Bonamassa pairs with Roth on a traditional arrangement renamed “Joe’s Blues”. “I Can Fix It” written by Pearson was included on Pearson’s 1994 “Step Out” album and is reprised with Roth.
This is another fine album from Arlen Roth, one of the greatest guitarists of our time.