From the Vault...


Les Paul & His Trio
"Crazy Rhythm"

© Varese Sarabande/Soundies Records

Year of Release: 2005

track listing
  • Who's Sorry Now
  • You Took
    Advantage Of Me
  • For You
  • What Is This Thing
    Called Love
  • I Never Knew
  • Won't You Tell Me
  • It's Only A Paper Moon
  • Nice Work If You
    Can Get It
  • I Can't Believe That
    You're In Love
    With Me
  • The Man I Love
  • Crazy Rhythm
  • Deed I Do
  • Lazy River
  • Melodic Meal
  • It Had To Be You
  • My Future Just Passed
  • There's A Lull In My Life
  • What A Difference
    A Day Made

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    Les Paul & His Trio
    "Crazy Rhythm"

    Les Paul, a true and great guitarist -- He recently passed away on August 13, 2009, at the age of 94. Throughout his 94 years of life, he was performing and recording. What a way to live a life and keep pursuing the dream of a true musician. Les Paul designed his own guitar, and from that point on, his influence in his guitars and how he played it inspired many guitarists to follow him, and beyond.

    His real name was Lester William Polsfuss, and was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age eight, he began playing the harmonica. After trying to play the banjo, he proceeded next to the guitar. By age 13, he was performing as a country music singer, guitarist and harmonica player. By age 17, he was in a band, and dropped out of high school. At age 19, he was introduced to pianist Art Tatum, and from then on, he focused more on the guitar as his primary instrument. After two recorded songs in 1936 (at age 21), he began playing jazz, and adopted his stage name as Les Paul.

    In 1937, he formed a trio, with singer/rhythm guitarist Jim Atkins (Chet Atkins' older half-brother), and bassist/percussionist Ernie "Darius" Newton. He disliked how acoustic guitars were designed, so he started creating his own guitar. By 1945, his famous "Gibson guitar" was designed, as he began using this instrument for recordings. Also by this year, he had played guitar with Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby, and the Andrews Sisters. And during this year, he met country & western signer Colleen Summers, who would later become his wife, and changed her name to Mary Ford. They were married in 1949. By the end of the 1940s, Les Paul's trio had recorded a few albums, and his career with Mary Ford as singer was developing.

    In 1950, he had his own radio show, The Les Paul Show, featuring his trio, which now consisted of himself, Mary Ford, and rhythm guitarist Eddie Stapleton. They had their own TV show, The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show, with "Vaya Con Dios" as its theme song. The song would become a #1 hit for the married couple in 1951, for 11 weeks.

    In 1965, he went into semi-retirement. He and Mary Ford divorced in late 1962. By the mid-1970s, he had two albums, Les Paul Now (1968), and an album with Chet Atkins in 1976, entitled Chester And Lester.

    As for his health, he survived two fatal events: An electrocution in 1940, which took two years of recuperation. In 1948, he shattered his right elbow as a result from an auto accident. Doctors told him that could not rebuild his elbow to normal movement. Therefore, his arm would remain permanently in whatever position they placed it in, or another option was amputation. Les Paul instructed the doctors to place his arm at an angle, that would allow him to play the guitar. His recovery was a year and a half. In 1987, he underwent heart surgery. When he was in his 80s, he was suffering from arthritis in his hands.

    In 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At age 90 (2005), he received two Grammys for the album Les Paul And Friends, American Made World Played. He performed every Monday night at Fat Tuesdays, and later at the Indian Jazz Club in New York City. (I remember WGN Radio personalities Steve King and his wife Johnnie Putman would call Les Paul on their early morning shows, during or after Les Paul's Monday night performances.)

    A brief history of Les Paul's career in this review, as WSVNRadio debuts Les Paul and his Trio's Crazy Rhythm. An album of primarily of instrumentals, with a few vocal songs by Kay Starr. This album truly defines Les Paul as an inspiring guitarist, and no one could ever match how he made the guitar his very own personal signature, and the impact he made on Popular Music.

    The album starts out with "Who's Sorry Now," a song which was most famous by Connie Francis. "You Took Advantage Of Me" and "For You" are just simply great recordings by the Trio. Jazz couldn't have sounded better with the classic standards, "What Is This Thing Called Love," "It's Only A Paper Moon," "It Had To Be You." "I Never Knew." has a great snappy jazz feel. Likewise, the great upbeat jazz sound is heard on "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me" and the title track. Cool-sounding jazz has "Deed I Do" and "Melodic Meal." "Lazy River" also has the great upbeat jazz sound.

    Then there are the mood setters of jazz music that could easily be a good soundtrack for the romantic evenings: "Won't You Tell Me," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "The man I Love."

    The album's closing 3 songs featured Kay Starr (another popular female singer from the 1940s/early 1950s): "My Future Just Passed," "There's A Lull In My Life," "What A Difference A Day Made" (My only complaint on this was the first 15 tracks were instrumentals, and then there were 3 vocal tracks. Possibly having 3 more instrumentals would make it better? The album is superior as it is, though. Or maybe it would have been better with the last 3 tracks with Mary Ford as vocalist. But then again, there are other compilations of Les Paul & Mary Ford, with Mary Ford as vocalist through the entire compilations.)

    Les Paul was and still is an inspired Legend. The opening liner notes from Crazy Rhythm says it all: "It seems that all roads lead to Les Paul, a one-man institution who has had an immeasurable impact on the popular music of the twentieth century."

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Varese Sarabnde/Soundies Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1325
    Next Review: #1327
    The B-52's--Cosmic Thing