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suzode.de Website, 2001
Since his early day as member and soloist with the legendary Captain
Beefheart and the Magic volume has Gary Lucas proven that it must be counted
as one the innovativsten Gittarristen of our days. In its innovative guitar
work, he connects almost everything for ektrischer and acoustic guitar -
armed by the erdigen style of a Howlin ' wolf ' up to passionate
abstractions, with a zerschrammten Stratocaster and a Gibson Acoustic from
the 40ern as well as an enormous border at effect devices Lucas craziest
Songs and sound produces Albert Ayler. Its pieces of acoustic on the age-old
national Steel Guitar inspire through exessiven, halsbrecherischen
Fingerpicking style. Drawing Folk and classical period for Blues, with both
hands from the korpus of skirt, jazz, again invents Gary Lucas the solo
guitar as virtuose One one volume.
After the intellectual elektrofinizierten shower of VX, Gary Lucas inspired
public, one man, two guitars and a proud number of effect devices, which
were spread partially before him on the boards of the stage world and
partially on a table beside Gary Lucas. How much does a guitar hero of the
old school need effects? All and none! None, in order to be can present on
the six lateral hero harp, because experiences of many years always contain
quality, but it needs this pallet of the effects, in order its play joke and
play-rubbed to under-paint and extend. And that is which Gary Lucas
constitutes, with effects, while he gaunert in the Gefilden of Folk, Blues,
jazz, skirt and classical period rum, one mine could the danger of a yawning
accumulation would be paired with it prophesied a its being able in a
erotischen fantasy, surprises it the present people with berauschenden
variations, straight lines of these up to declines belonged style
directions. Gary Lucas builds interesting stories, hear-worth, kurzweilig,
to the abrocken over relaxen up to the upspacen. Feedback Orgien, Noize
window blind and guitar sounds to Synthesizer carpets mutate, change with
Bottleneck Blues, High speed Fingerpicking and classical guitar work. Into
the Schmunzeln one, if Gary Lucas finger leave the guitar, comes over as
wildly at the effect devices rumzuschrauben, if he acts enthusiastically as
verkappter electronics engineers and keeps only thereby his musical history
upright. In addition, if Gary Lucas, in its modest and symphatischen kind,
does not seem which fills time of the guitar being correct with anecdotes
from its life, the river of the happening to break off, it creates it the
public to actually bind. Charisma, ability and a strong prize individualism
united with love for creativity and fantasy, gave this evening very
bekoemmliche and satisfying nuance, which naturally makes desire on more.
Public favourite in this evening, the Chinese tuned Blues!
The Event Guide (Dublin), December, 2001
"THIS MOST ECLECTIC OF MUSICIANS IS FINALLY ENJOYING HIS MOST BUSY AND FRUITFUL PERIOD YET...ONE OF THE WORLD'S LEADING FINGER PICKING GUITARISTS."
The Guardian (UK), December, 2001
Peter Stampfel on Gary Lucas
"WHEN HE PLAYED HIS GIBSON GUITAR, MY JAW HIT THE FLOOR."
The Guardian (UK), December 17, 2001
Gods, monsters and us
They fought with Beefheart, lost Jeff Buckley and grew used to obscurity.
But the Du-Tels just keep on going.
By John Aizlewood
The combination of Gary Lucas and Peter Stampfel, collectively known as
the Du-Tels, is a peculiar marriage. Lucas is a prolific, peripatetic,
49-year-old guitarist whose varied solo career has run parallel to his
collaborations with the semi-underground glitterati, from Captain
Beefheart and Jeff Buckley to Nick Cave and Joan Osborne. Milwaukee-born
Stampfel, now approaching 70, is the force behind the Holy Modal
Rounders, a little-known but hugely influential and highly entertaining
psychedelic folk band that celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2003.
The pair first met on March 22 1992, when Stampfel attended a gig by the
Gods and Monsters. "Peter was a hero of mine from high school days," says
Lucas. "I didn't admire Gary," shrugs Stampfel, "because I'd never
heard of him. But when he played his Gibson guitar, my jaw hit the floor." That
evening's Gods and Monsters' singer was Jeff Buckley, son of Tim. If
anyone nurtured this short-lived talent, it was Lucas. The pair were
introduced by producer Hal Willner at rehearsals for a 1991 Tim Buckley
tribute. "I see this bundle of energy, a skinny waif with the most
bugged-out eyes," says Lucas. "He was popping out of his skin with
electricity. He knew every Tim Buckley song inside out and wanted to
collaborate. He started to sing, I was gaping. We played the tribute, and
the place erupted."
The young buck joined Gods and Monsters and the pair co-wrote a dozen
songs, including two that made Buckley's Grace album. When Buckley
departed for solo glory on March 14 1992, Lucas was devastated. Buckley
briefly re-established contact in July 1993. They had reunited on stage
and were planning to collaborate again, but then Buckley drowned in May
Lucas had been hurt before. A fan of Captain Beefheart and His Magic
Band, Lucas had joined in 1980, playing on Doc at the Radar Station and
its subsequent world tour, before briefly becoming Beefheart's manager.
"My mission in life was to tell people what a genius he was, but he's a
mind-fucker par excellence. We all have demons, but his could get pretty
pronounced. He'd use them as a crutch to be ultra-abusive. I still love
him, but I'm aware of the monster side. I'm not really inclined to call
him up. I gave enough blood in that area, but I've memories to last a
Buoyed by Spider Web, his Grammy-nominated co-composition for Joan
Osborne's Relish, Lucas picked up his solo career after Buckley's death.
Meanwhile, the Du-Tels were New York fixtures. They recorded an album, No
Knowledge of Music Required, in 1994. Everyone passed. Like Lucas,
Stampfel was used to rejection and following his maverick muse. He had
arrived in New York in 1959 with a purist's attitude to folk. Hearing the
Harry Smith Folk Anthology and the nascent pop boom, the peyote-fuelled
Stampfel mused upon the notion of Smith's discoveries in rock'n'roll and
pop. In 1963 he met "evil speed freak" Steve Weber and found out for
"Today we're the group that's been around for the longest time while
remaining invisible to the largest percentage of the population. When we
first met, I thought we were going to be huge, and that the Holy Modal
Rounders' traditional folk music with a wildass bent would break
through." But Weber's wildness and Stampfel's remarkable vocals put a
stop to any thought of success. "I'm an optimistic guy, but was resentful
for years," says Stampfel, "until 1974, when Bruce Springsteen in Central
Park snapped me out of my depression."
There are plans for Stampfel, Weber and Lucas to make a record as the
Wilderness Brothers. And the success of Lucas's 20-year retrospective,
Improve the Shining Hour, enabled the belated release of the Du-Tels' No
Knowledge of Music Required and their first UK tour. "We love to roam the
fields of popular music," says Lucas. "We provide a time-travel history
of the musical margins. Our gigs are getting tighter every time. We have
The Du-Tels' No Knowledge of Music Required is out now on Shimmy
Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
Liberation (France), November 2, 2001
GARY LUCAS "THE EDGE OF HEAVEN" (Label Bleu/Indigo/Harmonia Mundi)
by Francois-Xavier Gomez
Un disque-ovni, une sucrerie decadente tombe du ciel. Apres trente ans
d'une carriere invraisemblablement proteforeine (entre autres, guitariste
du legendaire Magic Band de Captain Beefheart, accompagnateur de Jeff
Buckley, collaborateur de Nick Cave, producteur du dernier disque des
Francais Tanger, pilier a New York de la Knitting Factory, antre de
l'experimentation tous azimuts, et de Tzadik, le label du John Zorn),
Gary Lucas s'est souvenu de Bai Kwong et de Chow Hsuan, sublimes
cantatrices chinoises des annees 40 et 50 dont il ecouta les cassettes
lors d'un long sejour a Taiwan. Sur la soie des melodies, il brode des
sons de guitares complexes et aeriens, travaillant la pate sonore avec
une invention constante. En sept titres instrumentaux et six chantes en
mandarin par deux voix de femmes au charme veneneux, The Edge of Heaven
dispense le meme parfum, la meme tristesse resignee que In the Mood for
Love et sa soupe de nouilles aux larmes. Un concentre de glamour que Gary
Lucas presentera sur scene, le 11 novembre, au Reservoir a Paris.
The Guardian (UK), January, 2001
Concert Review, Gary Lucas live at the Borderline, London, 1/2001
by John Aizlewood
One man, several guitars and countless effects pedals could have
been as grim a live proposition as a solo album from a minor member of
Level 42. Gary Lucas, however, had other ideas.
While far from a household name, Lucas, from Syracuse, New York, has
played with quite a few since his professional debut in 1973, as the
guitarist for the European premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass. Lucas
has played alongside such luminaries as Lou Ree, Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry
and DJ Spooky, but his reputation rests on his tenure with Captain
Beefheart's Magic Band circa 1982's Ice Cream for Crow, and writing and
playing contributions to the opening two tracks of Grace, the only proper
album by Jeff Buckley. Buckley was an alumnus of Lucas's Gods and
Monsters ensemble, as are Mary Margaret O'Hara and Matthew Sweet.
Two parts Glenn Branca at his most inventive, one part Leo Kottke at
his most complex, Lucas could have spent an evening mired in the
bitterness of a perennial sideman, but instead he simply showed what the
wider world has been missing. The opening demolition of Kraftwerk's
Autobahn—"an old folk song"—gave way to a shredded, Hendrix-style
Amazing Grace, a twisting of Albert Ayler's already corkscrew Ghosts, a
supple instrumental trundle through Grace itself, and a slew of
Crucially, there was little in the way of guitar histrionics and
contorted facial expressions; trouper that he is, Lucas—big velvet
jacket, big jaunty hat, big heavy eyelids—simply got on with it in
good-tempered fashion. He sang occasionally, supplying an effective Delta
voice on the cotton-picking Let's Go Swimming and more worldly tones when
the initially ferocious Coming Clean quoted Dylan Thomas during its
quiter sections. The cotton-picking Police Dog Blues transcended an
unpromising title to soar into a feast of intriguing, subtle wizardry,
underpinned with a core of accessibility: for all his dexterity, Lucas
always stayed the right side of a guitar shop demonstration.
His finest moment was The Wall, a brief, beguiling instrumental,
played, as ever, with intricate precision, but so full of quietly
contrasting, whistleable melodies, there could have been a whole band up
there with him. In truth, he doesn't need anybody else.
The Berkshire Eagle, April 23, 2001
Concert Review, Gary Lucas (Club Helsinki, 4/20/01)
by Seth Rogovoy
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., April 21, 2001) - It was easy to get swept up
the extraordinary range of the music and styles that guitarist Gary Lucas
performed in his dizzyingly intriguing performance at Club Helsinki on
Friday night. On the surface, Lucas seemingly jumped from traditional
country-blues to 1930s Chinese pop to Wagner to the Marx Brothers to
Hendrixian distortion to his own patented brand of shimmering,
roots music in a celebration of post-modern juxtaposition or global
But what was even more impressive was how Lucas effortlessly tied it
all together. He did so through sheer virtuosity, through his unique
style, and through an unflinching curatorial curiosity and intelligence
finds the common connection, the voice of human yearning, between the
Broadway kitsch of "Fiddler on the Roof" and a Robert Johnson blues.
That Lucas achieves this musical humanitarianism - this ability to
the universal in the particular—without succumbing to naked
sentimentality is all the more to his credit as an artist and
He avoided the obvious, finding beauty in the music of Wagner, whom he
was a gross anti-Semite, and achy blues in Jerry Bock’s "Sunrise,
Lucas juggled three guitars throughout the evening - acoustic, electric,
dobro—often using more than one instrument per song. He made skillful
of looping and effects, so that at various times his guitar sounded like
keyboard, particularly an organ, an orchestra, or a power tool. Come to
think of it, in his hands a guitar is a power tool, but one he wields
deft authority and delicacy for the most part, and appropriate excess
such is called for.
Early in his set, Lucas played Blind Blake’s "Police Dog Blues" on dobro,
which showcased what someone once aptly called his "exploding note"
technique. Lucas’s notes don’t get played so much as they burst, like
popcorn or fireworks, and his harmonics were rich and resonant.
An early highlight of his 90-minute set was his composition, "Rise Up to
Be." The piece was originally written for the late rock singer-songwriter
Jeff Buckley, who collaborated with Lucas in his band Gods and Monsters,
formed the foundation of the title track of Buckley’s memorable album,
A kind of mini-rock suite, it built to a fierce power-rocker, with shades
Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page, before morphing into an ethereal,
transcendent mood piece, in which Lucas didn’t so much play notes as he
released them into the air, figuratively tossing them up and out from his
guitar like white doves. It was a beautiful gesture, as much dance or
performance art as it was music, and utterly deserving of the title that
Buckley gave to it.
Lucas’s version of a 1938 Shanghai pop hit from the film "Angel on the
Street" instantly established a relationship with American delta blues,
which he underlined by following it with a bit of Captain
country blues. He followed with a ferocious display of English-style
rock a la Jeff Beck on a version of Howlin’ Wolf’s "I’m Built to Hurt You
Like the Police," in which he looped the rhythm guitar portion and
accompanied himself on lead.
By the time he closed his set with his recent composition, "The Opener of
the Way," from his marvelous new album, "Street of Lost Brothers"
he had come full circle on this musical journey from gut-bucket blues to
transcendent, spiritual psychedelia, as had his appreciative audience, a
little wearied from the exhaustive, exciting trip, but renewed and
by the suggestive potential implied by Lucas’s humanitarian muse.
[This review originally appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on April 23,
Copyright Seth Rogovoy 2001. All rights reserved.]
Jazz Corner Web Site, Record Reviews, January 2001
Gary Lucas - Street of Lost Brothers, Tzadik, 2000 (with John Zorn and Walter Horn)
"Sh'ma"—based on the (central) Jewish prayer, Walter on synths, piano
sampler tracks and Lucas on electric guitar. Much of the piece has dense,
shifting overlays of sound and it's not clear what kinds of instruments
producing the sounds. At 11 minutes, it's more than twice as long as any
the other pieces on the album.
The sound is of an organ/synth on a journey. Like Sun Ra's 'Atlantis'. Or
'Welcome to the Lonely Village', my favorite piece from Walter's last
But Lonely Village had a resigned melancholy to it, while Sh'ma covers a
much more physical, passionate, jagged and varied terrain. Walter gets a
huge variety of sounds of his synth on this one, and each enters with its
own unique voice. Yet there is an eerie evenness to the piece (probably
Sh'ma at its core) that keeps moving it along, folding the unique
into the churning whole. The previous melody is still visible, barely,
below the surface when a new voice enters, sings or shrieks,
into something else, and folds into the roiling whole, adding another
just as another new, entirely unexpected voice enters. Each new voice
to want to tear the momentum of the horizontal Sh'ma line free of its
moorings, but then becomes absorbed by it.
Some highlights from the rest of the album:
Yigdal - John Zorn plays only on this first cut, with a brief (though
nice) alto solo. The cut is a hard-driving klezmer piece. I have to say,
a regular (if not frequent) listener to klezmer music, I found the
pieces among the least interesting on the album.
It's Like A Wheel - This piece makes me notice Gary Lucas! Opens with a
wonderfully bright spray of acoustic guitar melodies (reminded me a bit
Bert Jaensch), sunny and dancelike, which suddenly pivots full around and
takes off into a feedback-filled, electrified, powerful, screeching
Hendrix-like version of Amazing Grace; and then, just as suddenly (though
strangely aptly) returns to the bright folk-like melody for a coda. A
This piece and Walter's are both recorded live, no overdubs, which—given
what they sound like—make them both even more remarkable!
I Kill For Nothing - for the Marx Brothers, amiable and engaging acoustic
Ride of The Valkyries - on electric guitar, maybe more interesting as an
idea than as a performance. Curious inclusion on a Radical Jewish Culture
disc, but perhaps explained by the liner note: "To defeat thine enemy,
Let My People Go - Very cool, gutsy version on steel guitar.
Mahzel Means Good Luck - Campy Klezmer, good fun, what Louis Jordan might
have put out as a klezmer musician.
International Herald Tribune, January 26, 2001
Gary Lucas is a Guitarist with 1,000 Ideas
By Mike Zwerin
View an image of this article here
PARISGary Lucas, dubbed "the guitarist with 1,000 ideas" by The New
York Times, claims to have "learned more at Beefheart U, than at Yale."
He made his reputation with the "Magic Band," led by the oddball,
Zappa-like rock hero Captain Beefheart, who used to say: "I don't make
music, I make monsters." A perfect fit for Lucas, whose style has been
called "haunting" and who "always did love the supernatural." At Yale he
ran the midnight horror-movie club "Things That Go Bump in the Night." He
formed a band called Gods and Monsters and one of his first recordings
under his own name was Albert Ayler's "Ghosts."
Above all, though, Lucas, who is 48, emphasizes his overview: "The
secret of success is just showing up." Be advised that by saying that he
is ignoring the decade or so he spent showing up where it didn't really
count—to perform a musician's worst possible scenario, that
unmentionable last resort: a day gig. Never mind. The way it worked out,
along the zig-zagging but sturdy line of his musical career, Lucas still
managed to pull together a string of impressive credits, playing with,
among others, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Leonard Bernstein, Patti Smith, Graham
Parker, Bryan Ferry, Nick Cave, Bob Neuwirth, DJ Spooky and Jeff Buckley.
And anyway, Lucas had a talent for day-gig-like work. During his five
years, 1979 to 1984, as their guitar-slinger, Lucas assumed the
additional duties of manager with Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band.
Eventually the good Captain broke the band up because he was not
being taken seriously enough as a professional painter, which he wanted
to become. And which, under his given name, Don Van Vliet, he eventually
became. Lucas later heard that some of Van Vliet's larger canvases were
priced as high as $40,000. Van Vliet tried to persuade Lucas to manage
his new career. "Man, we'll both have yachts," he said. While hooking him
up with the Julian Schnabel gallery in New York, the guitarist replied:
"I'm proud to have played music with you but I'm not going to be your art
pimp." While the music lasted, Lucas felt he "was on a mission."
"I thought that Beefheart was making the coolest music on the
planet. He was my mentor. I was a messianic type. I loved the music and I
thought the guy was really important. Too bad he stopped. The New Wave
and the Punks took so many of his ideas."
After Yale, he eventually decided to run off to Taiwan to work in
his father's import-export business. He formed his first band in Taiwan.
After "a horrible brawl" during a gig in a "seedy" bar called The
Scarecrow in which a youngster in th audience had some fingers cut off,
Lucas ran off again. He was`"more or less run out of Taipei on a rail."
The day gig followed his return home. It was in a building known as,
appropriately enough, "Black Rock"—a sinister dark-glass high rise on
Sixth Avenue that served as Columbia Records' headquarters in New York.
As copywriter and promotion man, he "masterminded the Beefheart
phenomenon out of my little office in Black Rock." His superiors were
happy to let him moonlight on guitar with Beefheart at night and on
weekends and even on work-days because it lent the record company
"credibility on the street." Lucas, from his reverse angle, remembers
being the "counter-cultural mole in Black Rock."
Beefheart folded The Magic Band and Lucas went out on his own. His
solo acoustic album "Evangeline" was named one of the best albums of 1997
by Rolling Stone. The Wall Street Journal called the album "Gods and
Monsters" one of the best of the following year. "Spider Web", a song he
co-wrote with multi-platinum singer Joan Osborne, was nominated for a
Grammy award: "It supported me for quite a few years."
Lucas would rather use commercial success as an opportunity to
"woodshed," he said, i.e., to practice, than go out and waste physical
and psychic capital desperately looking for another hit. It took him six
weeks to memorize and execute the fiendishly difficult Beefheart
composition "Evening Bell"—for which a journalist proposed "some sort of
an award for finger contortion."
In 1989 he wrote music for the classic German expressionist silent
film "The Golem." He still tours extensively with the film playing his
score live (there's a lot of improvisation). In the summer of 1991, Jeff
Buckley, son of the folksinger Tim—this unknown "kid with the voice of
an angel"—became his singer. It was a "big break." They cut demos and
performed together. Buckley wrote lyrics to Lucas's guitar song "Grace".
The song became the title of an early solo album by the young singer,
who soon left Lucas to become a big star on his own.
Lucas spent the remainder of the 90's touring from Japan to Slovenia
and Corsica by way of Israel, including a package called JAM, "Jewish
Avant Garde Music," sponsored by Michael Dorf's New York club and
production company the Knitting Factory. Over the past year, Lucas worked
on studio projects in London, Scandinavia, and Paris—another case of
"foreigners" recognizing an overlooked American talent.
Earlier this month, he performed to a packed house in the elegant
Hotel du Nord in Paris. And last week, he was the headliner in the
Knitting Factory's new West Coast annex. "My L.A. debut," said Lucas,
with irony: "I know every nook and cranny of Germany, but the U.S is
still virgin territory."
Billboard, January 27, 2001
Gary Lucas featured in the "Declaration of Independents" column
by Chris Morris
Flag Waving: "Street of Lost Brothers," the new album by guitarist Gary
Lucas, is the latest entry in New York-based Tzadik Records' "Radical
Jewish Culture" series. That makes sense, since, as a youngster, Lucas
always wanted to be either a rabbi...or a vampire.
"There was a period when I was fairly religious," Lucas says. "I
went to synagogue every Friday night with my uncle...I guess I got
sidetracked with music and horror films. I was a big fan of Bela Lugosi,
and later, [England's] Hammer [Studios] horror films."
Lucas—currently profiled in Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary's
book "Jews Who Rock" (St. Martin's Press)—says that "Street of Lost
Brothers" is "a manifestation of the aspects of growing up Jewish."
The album includes interpretations of everything from traditional
Jewish folk music to the Velvet Underground's "European Son" (a song
inspired by poet Delmore Schwartz) and a medley of Marx Brothers tunes.
He also offers a delirious solo take of "Ride of the Valkyries" ("To
defeat thine enemy, sing his song," Lucas says in the liner notes).
Lucas is also represented in the racks by no less than two
retrospective collections—"Improve the Shining Hour (Rare Lumiere
1980-2000)" on Knitting Factory Records and "Level the Playing
Field—Early HurlyBurly 1988-1994" on France's Last Call Records
(distributed in the U.S. by DNA).
The guitarist says of these compilations, "Captain Beefheart [who
employed Lucas from 1980-84] used to say to me it was difficult to hear
his own stuff because, he said, it was 'like going through your own
vomit'...But [my old material] didn't seem to date. It sounds as fresh as
the stuff I'm working on now, to be honest."
The peripatetic axeman, who just completed a series of European
dates, will be much on view in upcoming days.
"Lalee's Kin," a new film by the Maysles Brothers featuring a score
by Lucas, is screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah,
beginning Jan. 19. "The film is about poverty in Mississippi," Lucas
says. "It exposes more of the Delta blues stylings and folkish parts of
On Saturday (20), Lucas finally makes his Los Angeles debut at the
Knitting Factory, playing a solo show.
Wire (UK), January 2001
Gary Lucas' Pros and Cons of 2000
Pros: Film: Eva (Joseph Losey, 1962)—a hitherto undiscovered (by me) classic of Euro-erotic art cinema. Jeanne Moreau smoulders magnificently presiding over Stanley Baker's ultimate degradation—woof! Music: Genuine Live 1966—Bob Dyland and the Hawks, an eight CD bootleg of select board tapes of Dylan's greatest rock 'n' roll stand, fantastic packaging and notes. Manhattan Research Inc., Raymond Scott, as an occassional soundtrack composer, these electronic vignettes from the 60s strike a profound chord with me. Now does anybody have any tapes of Percy Grainger's electronic experiments/inventions? Books: Captain Beefheart by Mike Barnes, this book actually got me back into listening to the work again (and what glorious work it is), something I'd suppressed for about 15 years; The She Devils by Pierre Louys; Roy Stuart Vol. 3. Gigs: London, Dingwalls, 21 November: solo guitar for the BBC's Mixing It show—an overwhelming experience for me, old anglophile that I am, like a childhood dream come true, audiences in NYC rarely exhibit such emotion! Merkin Concert Hall, Linoln Center, NYC, 14 September, solo guitar, 'A Tribute to Robert Johnson': an honour to be on a bill with John Renbourn. This gig, broadcast over National Public Radio, led to a commission from Maysles Films (Gimme Shelter) to score a new documentary for them (they heard the broadcast by accident, then tracked me down through the internet).
Cons: No new Teletubbies episodes! (bring 'em back now...)
Guitar World, January, 2001
Review of "Street of Lost Brothers"
By Ted Drozdowski
EDITOR'S PICK: GARY LUCAS - "STREET OF LOST BROTHERS" (Tzadik)
Full of freaky beauty, the latest release from former Captain
Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas zips from acoustic ballads to
Hendrix-inspired voodoo to whacked-out slide-guitar klezmer music and
National steel blues, and does so with unfailing virtuosity. Lucas is
backed here by an eclectic team of players that includes his Gods and
Monsters band and saxophonist John Zorn, who is also the owner of the
Tzadik label. But he's at his best when playing alone—conjuring Wagner's
"Ride of the Valkyries" by tracking live with loops, slide, edgy frailing
and walls of distortion, and summoning his own banshees on "It's Like a
Wheel" with a balance of sweet, intricate fingerpicking and filthy