Unplugged

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969)

The Hard Rock Bible Led Zeppelin II opens with the mythical riff of Whole Lotta Love but manages not to lose strength and intensity in the almost 42 minutes it lasts. First comes Jimmy Page's Les Paul Standard Sunburst from 59, then he is joined by the bass guitar of John Paul Jones and a little later by the voice of Robert Plant. By the time...

The Smashing Pumpkins - Cyr (2020)

The Chemistry Returns It is not known whether Smashing Pumpkins’ guitarist James Iha missed playing his Gibson Les Paul on the band’s new album, Cyr (27 November 2020;  Sumerian), but it is known that synths were favoured over guitars in its production. It is also clear that with the guitarist, and drummer Jimmy...

Freddie King - Burglar (1974)

Funk seen by a King of blues Freddie King was living a second golden age on an artistic level in the early 70's but the company where he was recording, Shelter Records, went out of business - so, even though his popularity among white audiences was greater than ever- with King going on tour with Homer Simpson's favorite group, Grand Funk...

Chris Stapleton - Starting Over (2020)

Charting His Own Course With his quadruple-platinum 2015 album, Traveller, behind him, and his own exhibit planned in Nashville’s Country Music Hall Of Fame Museum, Chris Stapleton’s star is clearly in the ascendancy. On the one hand his cowboy hat, husky whiskey-bar voice and long beard shouts ‘country’ loud and clear, but...

Albert King - Live Wire/Blues Power (1968)

The Velvet Bulldozer LiveBeyond his 1961 single Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong, Albert King's career saw no real popular success until he signed to Stax in the mid-60s and began releasing classic after classic, accompanied by Booker T & The MG's. In August 1967 Born Under A Bad Sign appeared, an album on which a number of his biggest...

Paul McCartney - McCartney III (2020)

Paul confinedPaul McCartney has nothing to prove, at 78 years old everyone knows that we are before one of the greatest composers in the history of popular music, so it is interesting to see him looking back and create a new volume of his albums completely alone, in which he acts as the only responsable of every note heard on the album, by...

Taylor Swift - Folklore and Evermore (2020)

Out of the Woods           Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album, Folklore (24 July, 2020; Republic), came as something of a surprise, in a year that has been full of them. Swift had been due to headline Glastonbury this summer to promote her latest record Lover, but then the pandemic arrived...

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

The perfect end to a glorious careerThe recording sessions of Get Back (which would eventually lead to the album Let It Be) had made it clear that the Beatles were nearing the end, as friction had been continuous - something that had begun on the recording of The White Album, after the trip to India. The 60's were coming to an end and the group...

ACDC - Power Up (2020)

Roaring from the edge of extinction In times of crisis it is good to hold on to something familiar - something that is known to be reliable, lasting and that cannot fail you. This is what Power Up offers, the essence distilled from 100% AC/DC, a band that neither the worst year in memory, nor the worst circumstances in its history, have been...

The Dirty Knobs - Wreckless Abandon (2020)

Unsurprisingly, Mike Campbell’s Dirty Knobs’ studio album, Reckless Abandon (the original release date 20 March 2020 was postponed until now because of the pandemic) sounds very similar to his work with Tom Petty, but much more emphasis has been placed on the guitars. In fact, the whole record is packed full of great riffs and solos, 95 percent...

The Jam - Sound Affects (1980)

By the time Paul Weller went into the studio to record this album, along with fellow band members Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, the continuation of Setting Sons he had already made it, and the Jam were the most popular band in the UK. Their recent single Going Underground/Dreams Of Children had given them their first number one and the first...

Dave Davies

Dave Davies had just bought a 10-watt green Elpico amplifier and was crazy to try it with his Harmony Meteor with DeArmond pickups. When he got home, he plugged the guitar into the amp and could see that it was not bad, especially given that it had only cost him six pounds. But it was not the sound he was looking for, so he looked around the living...

Blue Oyster Cult - The Symbol Remains (2020)

Crashing into a very difficult year with power, style and grace, comes a great new album from Blue Öyster Cult (BÖC). Fans have waited 19 years for new material from the legendary American rock band and thankfully The Symbol Remains (9 October, 2020; Frontier Records) does not disappoint; in fact, Guitars Exchange believe it is the...

Queen - The Game (1980)

The Game is the album that divides the career of Queen, not only because it is their first of the 80's, but for several other reasons, such as going from being the group that boasted of not using synthesizers to the group that would make use (and much) of them in this decade; starting with the first note that sounds on this album. It also sees the...

Bon Jovi - 2020 (2020)

If it could be said that Jon Bon Jovi’s 2016 album This House Is Not for Sale dealt with personal issues, then 2020 (2/10/2020; Island Records) deals with social themes. And specifically the songs deal with subjects that are red hot in America right now, such as racism; xenophobia; and war. The cover image sums up these diverse issues...

Ayla Tesler-Mabe

Ayla Tesler-Mabe (7th March 2001) is a Canadian-based guitarist and songwriter who by the tender age of 15 had uploaded covers of Pink Floyd’s Time, and Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You, to YouTube. ‘Nothing too unusual about that’ you might think; until you hear that those songs alone have since clocked up well over seven...

The Velvet Underground - Loaded (1970)

The Velvet Underground was one of the most avant-garde bands of its time; from which emerged punk, noise and 99% of alternative music. But what makes them absolutely essential is that when you take away the experiments, the art rock, the noise and Andy Warhol you are left with the songs of one of the best pop songwriters of all time, Lou Reed....

Alter Bridge - Walk The Sky 2.0 (2020)

Great bands, like the best leaders, know when to take their opportunities when they come. The outstanding live act Alter Bridge, for example, were looking forward to growing their reputation and fanbase with an extensive tour promoting their Walk The Sky album when the global pandemic shut down their tour; but they took advantage of the live...

Orianthi - O (2020)

When Orianthi recently gave an exclusive interview to Guitars Exchange, she provided a big clue as to the direction her new album might be taking: “I have done a lot of pop in the past, my first single was pop, but I am a big fan of many genres of music [….] I have been playing some heavier stuff too, and that’s also been fun,” she...