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FAME Review: Bill Kirchen - Word To The Wise
Bill Kirchen - Word To The Wise

Word To The Wise

Bill Kirchen

Proper American Records - PHPACD011

Available from

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This renowned guitarist, who has had such appellations attached to his name as Titan of the Telecaster to live up to, doesn't disappoint here at all. He is joined on this raucous and honky-tonking disc by a very tight band of friends and joined by some all-star vocalists he has worked with through the years whose work he admires, and yet it is his guitar that stands in ones' memory. It stays there because of the way he manages the sounds/moods/landscapes/colors that come out of it, without ever having to really crank it up. Though the guitar playing is rollicking and boisterous it is never out of control and overpowering, it allows the touch in the songs to come through without diminishing the raucous nature of his music.

Though he first came to prominence with Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, he has moved on and broadened his horizon while still maintaining touch with his early cohorts; the Commander (AKA George Frayne), as well as Blackie Farrell are on this disc. Also contributing are Norton Buffalo, Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and Chris O'Connell to name but a few of the others that contribute. The music is oversized portions of Rock and Roll, Country, Western Swing, Boogie-Woogie, and Rockabilly; maybe it is just easier to say Americana. This is one of those discs that with repeated listening reveals the multiple levels that make it disc is a gem. iI is great music for putting the top down and just cruising down the road, or for listening to a fantastic master of the Telecaster as he shows off the 40 plus years he has spent honing his craft and putting his name on a level with those better known guitar gods of the universe.

Track List:

  • Bump Wood
  • Shelly's Winter Love (with Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack)
  • Man in the Bottom of the Well (with Elvis Costello)
  • I Don't Work That Cheap (with Commander Cody on piano)
  • Time Will Tell The Story 6. Husbands And Wives (with Chris O'Connell)
  • Open Range (with Kevin "Blackie" Farrell)
  • Arkansas Diamond
  • Word To The Wise (with Dan Hicks)
  • Ain't Got Time For The Blues (with Maria Muldaur)
  • Valley Of The Moon (with Norton Buffalo on harmonica)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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