A lifetime of lessons in
Jazz-meets-country in an impossibly hot
session, ca. 1959! A platter of lightning-fast picking and impeccable taste
from the legendary George Barnes!
The description on the back of the original
album reads: "A wonderful collection of Western favorites that everyone will
love?and played in the traditional Western style." The front cover features a
more accurate explanation: "Great guitar solos in modern country jazz style -- as
if "modern country jazz" was an established category" though, if anyone
could establish a new species of music, it was George. Country Jazz was
not designed to explore a new iteration of country music, rockabilly--but when
George added his own twist of jazz, the resulting influence was unmistakable. His arrangements of
traditional folk and country songs represent the enjoyment he got out of
crossing musical genres. After all, he could, and did, play anything--which made
him invaluable in the studios of Chicago and New York City, but also meant he
defied categorization, inadvertently denying himself a prestigious place in any
one class of musician.
Country Jazz was fun
for George; little did he know it would become one of his most influential
recordings. It's been said that one Barnes fan, the terrific guitarist Danny
Gatton, learned it note-for-note--and that it inspired Jimmy Bryant to record
his Country Cabin Jazz in 1960. Young guitarists who hadn't yet been
born when George died in 1977 are as enthralled by Country Jazz as rock
guitarists are of anything from Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, who referenced
George in his autobiography.
Pressed on red, pristine RTI vinyl!