We all have a few favorite albums that made a bigger impression on us than they did the public at large.
Joe Satriani recently sat down with Music Aficionado’s Joe Bosso to talk about “five great guitar albums you don’t know”—basically, some real gems he’s discovered over the years.
Satch said that while these albums aren’t known to the masses, “they’re fantastic albums with great guitar playing, so it’s good to show them the love they deserve.”
Enjoy these excerpts from the story, and visit Music Aficionado for the full interview.
Howlin’ Wolf—Howlin’ Wolf (1962)
“This is the music that influenced everybody who influenced me when I was 14. It took me a while to figure out who they were listening to. I’d read articles in rock magazines, and after enough people mentioned, ‘Hubert Sumlin on the Howlin’ Wolf album,’ I was like, ‘Hey, who is that already? I’ve gotta check that out.’
“Once I did, I started to see the connection between Hubert Sumlin and Jimmy Page and Keith Richards. The lineage became obvious. Hubert laid the groundwork for the gunslinger guitar guy accompanying a singer who was out of control.”
John Abercrombie—Timeless (1975)
“You’ve got John Abercrombie on guitar, Jan Hammer on organ and foot bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. It’s a jazz recording—here’s a big red flag for everybody—and it’s equally loose. The song ‘Timeless’ blew my mind when I first heard it. It’s such a gorgeous song in seven. And ‘Red and Orange,’ which Jan Hammer wrote, knocked me out, too. I listened to it and said, ‘What is John Abercrombie thinking? How does somebody hold on to music like that?’”
Michael Landau—Live 2000 (2000)
“It was recorded at the Baked Potato, and they’re doing that very Los Angeles club thing. I don’t see that anywhere else. Landau is quite unique, and he does that thing so well. He’s just a special blend. He’s been on a lot of people's records, so you’ve heard him even if you don’t know it. Fantastic improvising on this album. No matter what these guys attempt, they pull it off.”
“It features Dug Pinnick from King’s X, Ray Luzier from Korn, and George Lynch, whom everybody knows from Dokken and Lynch Mob… George Lynch has a totally original set of fingers… He has a way of squeezing phrases out, and he can really make those high notes scream. On this record, though…he’s playing in a very artistic way but he also attacks the guitar quite savagely, like people know him for. It’s as if he’s got this huge new canvas and he’s using far more colors than he usually does.”
Glenn Hughes—Resonate (2016)
“This guitarist is somebody I don’t know who's also the co-producer, Soren Andersen, and man, he’s so good… It’s funny that I started this list by talking about Howlin’ Wolf, because a guy like Soren Andersen is totally into the future. His playing is very natural-sounding, and he manages to perform to the songs while still putting in some crazy textures. His choice of notes is interesting—every time I put the record on, I go, “Hey, I didn’t hear that before.”