A Tribute To A Legend review by Les Paul

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  • Released: Sep 30, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.3 (15 votes)
Les Paul: A Tribute To A Legend
6

Sound — 8
When you immerse yourself in rock music for the good part of your life, you usually come to associate the Les Paul guitar with a few biggies - namely Jimmy Page, Slash, and Keith Richards. With it's undeniably thick, powerful tone, the Les Paul has become a staple among rock guitarists and the namesake has deservedly been exalted in various tribute albums. The latest nod to the master guitarsmith is titled Les Paul & Friends: A Tribute To A Legend, which does feature another helping of heavy hitters. Joe Perry, Peter Frampton, Richie Sambora, and even Slash are among the guest musicians, and you're pretty much guaranteed a quality product simply by having these names attached. But do be warned: If you're expecting something in line with the styles of rock they've recorded over the years, you'll be in for a rude awakening. The album is easier to describe it as Adult Contemporary more than anything. That being said, the 93-year-old Les Paul is a featured player in almost every track, and it's a bit awe-inspiring to hear the man in action. Starting everything off is The Good Luck You're Having, a bluesy track played by guitar master Joe Bonamassa. There's a distinct Stevie Ray Vaughn feel to it at times, and it's one of the standouts because of it's key solo work and energy. It would have been great to hear a bit more solo work like Bonamassa's on the record, and a few of the tracks do seem as focused on the vocal work as much as they are on the guitars. There are some fantastic singers who lend their talents, but the album only comes alive when things begin to sound like an ever-changing jam session. For the Slash fans out there, the Velvet Revolver/Guns N' Roses guitarist does not disappoint. Playing as the lone guitarist on an instrumental called Vocalise, Slash keeps thing subtle, but heavy. It consists of beautiful solo work that builds throughout, although it never reaches a full-on rock vibe. Most of the tracks do keep to more of a soft rock vibe, so just be prepared for restraint on the guitarists' part. Richie Sambora also shows up as vocalist and guitarist on the closing track Great Hall Of Fame, which doesn't have the impact of Slash's instrumental, but does have an inspirational theme as the closing number. The Goo Goo Dolls' Johnny Rzeznik delivers a version of U2's All I Want Is You, which although played at the same tempo as the original, loses a bit of the drama without The Edge's heavy delay. Peter Frampton and Les Paul laid down their own guitar tracks on this particular song as well, and it would have been great to get a more defined breakdown of who was playing what. In any case, it's a touching version, but it's played very similarly to the original. The Edge is another Les Paul player and his influence has been undeniable, so it is understandable that the makers of Les Paul & Friends would want to give listeners various styles that have been created with the legendary guitar.

Lyrics — 9
There are a good number of songs on the album that will be fairly familiar to listeners, particularly the cover of U2's All I Want Is You. The other tracks span everything from jazz to blues to funk, so you're getting plenty of diversity in the lyrical department as well. That kind of diversity allows for an interesting journey, although at times the vocalists tend to grab the spotlight. The guitar work is still essentially what Les Paul & Friends is designed to celebrate, and in the end the lyrics become secondary.

Overall Impression — 9
While it would have been nice to feature one or maybe even two rock songs, the album still covers a lot of ground musically. It might not necessarily be the ground that clicks with the fans of Slash, but Les Paul obviously has influenced an abundance of genres that came well before the GN'R guitarist was even born. In fact, there are probably some country fans who might be annoyed that their genre wasn't selected as part of the tribute, either. We could go on and on about how many musicians that Les Paul has touched over the years, and in the end, hearing the guitarist still hold his own with the likes of Frampton or Joe Perry is a pretty cool thing.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BackInTheUSSR
    jimmypopali wrote: Keith Richards plays a telecaster...
    He is best known for his work with a Tele Doesn't mean he doesn't play a Les Paul He played one when they recorded Paint it Black
    lespaul1216
    sambargun wrote: I want to buy a Les Paul, How is the Epiphone LP? Any suggestions?
    Don't get an epiphone. i have one, it's a cheap piece of crap.
    lespaul1216
    lespaul1216 wrote: sambargun wrote: I want to buy a Les Paul, How is the Epiphone LP? Any suggestions? Don't get an epiphone. i have one, it's a cheap piece of crap.
    what i meant is if you're going to get an LP get the gibson
    perilouspete
    there's an awesome Les Paul exhibit at Discovery World in Milwaukee right now, check it out if you're in the area
    Flying Afros
    soapalot wrote: I always associate Keith Richards with a Tele... Am I alone?
    Just because he plays a tele often doesn't mean he never plays any other guitars.
    BillieJoeFreak:
    lespaul1216 wrote: lespaul1216 wrote: sambargun wrote: I want to buy a Les Paul, How is the Epiphone LP? Any suggestions? Don't get an epiphone. i have one, it's a cheap piece of crap. what i meant is if you're going to get an LP get the gibson
    Yeah, don't listen to this guy, my first guitar was an epiphone, and it plays and sounds very good. This guy probably has a Special II. Get a standard or higher and it's close to a Gibson Studio.
    GoWithTheFlow
    BackInTheUSSR wrote: jimmypopali wrote: Keith Richards plays a telecaster... He is best known for his work with a Tele Doesn't mean he doesn't play a Les Paul He played one when they recorded Paint it Black
    yes but when you think of a telecaster you think of keith richards and the other way around.
    Project Pat
    srvkicks@$$ wrote: wow 93 and can still play hes like jack o lane or watever that really old fitness guys name is
    Jack LaLanne actually
    MRAAJR
    [quote RC52190 wrote: Sounds gay. Les Pauls blow big dick. Way too overrated. [/quote] You blow big *&!@...let me guess, yo got a BC Rich Warlock and think its cool...ughhhh....LOSER!
    Guitar Sushi
    Well Muhammad Suicmez does the Warlock a lot of justice. I'd really like to see Slash play Epitaph or Symbiotic in Theory.
    BadDaddy
    This is my favorite CD! Every track has a different feel and all of them are awesome! Even though I don't consider this to be a guitar album it has some amazing guitar riffs and amazing solos. And the Slash track is so cool! Very sensitive, I've never heard Slash play like that before. This is an essential piece for a solid music collection! -BadDaddy
    mtforever
    Keith Richards was associated more with a les paul in the late 60's, it wasn't until the 72' tour that he started to get associated more with teles.
    $lipKnoT
    les pauls are good for black metal in my opinion. although id rather a randy rhoads guitar
    Wylde_Is_Wild
    There was one, it had Dokken doing Flying High and Pantera With Sebastian Bach doing Believer, and I believe Dio with Yngwie for Mr. Crowley
    RicheyVOX
    2mins2midnite wrote: we need a tribute album to randy rhoads
    There is an album tributed to Randy Rhoads
    Jugulator_cro
    Wylde_Is_Wild wrote: There was one, it had Dokken doing Flying High and Pantera With Sebastian Bach doing Believer, and I believe Dio with Yngwie for Mr. Crowley
    It was Ripper Owens
    Lil Macker
    jimmypopali wrote: Keith Richards plays a telecaster...
    He also plays a 1959 Les Paul aswell. Sometimes.
    sambargun
    Good review of a classic album. Maybe they could have added Al Dimeola.....
    bluesbreaker88
    RC52190 wrote: Sounds gay. Les Pauls blow big dick. Way too overrated.
    This album is hopefully more about the man Las Paul than his namesake guitar. If youve never heard him play i highly suggest you check him out
    prophetsfan
    whoever said they dont like les pauls because i cant find the original post: Old les pauls kick ass. The new ones (after 2000) do suck. I dunno why, its just fact. I've been looking at buying them for ages and all the ones i tried Pre 2000 are all great and post 2000 all sucked. Although im yet to try the Slash copy, which im told is much better than current les pauls.
    Mahoru
    RC52190 wrote: Sounds gay. Les Pauls blow big dick. Way too overrated.
    History tends to disagree with you, I'm afraid Definitely I'm going to check this album. Nothing beats a bit of good old rock.
    srvkicks@$$
    wow 93 and can still play hes like jack o lane or watever that really old fitness guys name is
    SRV59
    i agree whenever i think keith richards i think tele... but anyways this looks like a killer album... im gonna check it out
    MRAAJR
    Guitar Sushi wrote: Well Muhammad Suicmez does the Warlock a lot of justice. I'd really like to see Slash play Epitaph or Symbiotic in Theory.
    Hah....he does indeed, that doesnt make it cool! And i am sure if Slash wanted to he could probably play anything he wanted to...he's just not gay!!!