I remember such times as in my early childhood being total encaptivated by the guitar finger picking exploits of Chet Atkins and as I absorbed myself in this album I actually found myself drifting back to those moments in time. Without doubt this is an album that every single guitarist, whatever their particular sphere of musical persuasion, will love and enjoy greatly too. It is indeed a wonderful mixed bag collection of well-known tunes transformed into an extremely entertaining set of guitar rock and blues style extravaganzas
This album offering from ‘The Mutual Appreciation Society’ involves seven of the eleven tracks being fronted by big name super star axe men. In fact quite a preverbal list of who’s who in the lead guitar world with the likes of Steve Lukather (Toto), Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs, Kansas), John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Albert Lee (Heads Hands and Feet) Jay Graydon (Airplay) and Steve Vai (Solo) all as guest musicians for selected tracks on this project. On these occasions the basic band, in the shape of, ‘Sterling Ball (Bass)’, ‘John Ferraro (Drums)’ and ‘Jim Cox (Keyboards)’ sort of stand back as core musicians to let the guests take the lead.
With such a great guest list of lead guitarists it would be all too easy to ignore the ‘In-house’ band so as to speak. However, their altogether combined tight fluid interplay throughout is one of the features that I truly enjoyed about this album. With some wonderful barrel house piano, and then other interludes of spooky organ mixed up with oodles of immaculate tuneful rhythmic bass all of which is then supported by layer upon layer of free and easy dynamic drumming.
Above all, of course, the basic music set up on those selected tracks is injected with the totally wonderful lead guitar histrionics of the guys I listed in the second paragraph. I’m pretty sure all of these guitar super stars enjoyed their time out strutting their stuff on this delightful album. The opportunity for them to let rip on material made up of rock and other standards together with such excellent in-house musicians (so as to speak) must have been a truly delightful experience.
The choice of material too I think was just so inspired including for example a totally wonderful rocked up “Disney Medley” that was thrown in for good measure and I need to say too a great ‘Albert Lee’ rendition of the “Hank Williams” classic ‘Hey Good Looking’ so good in fact it even got my normally staid wife tripping around the room.
Summary: Not exactly anything like the progressive music that we usually support but a seriously great happy album especially for those long boring car journeys.
Artwork: Nothing special
1. Payday Song
2. The In Crowd (feat. Steve Morse)
3. Checkin' Up On my Baby
4. Baby Please Don't Go (feat. Steve Lukather)
5. Treat Her Right
6. Sugar Shack (feat. Steve Vai)
7. Memphis A/K/A Memphis, Tennessee
8. Cryin' Time (feat. Albert Lee)
9. I Want You Back
10. Disney Medley (feat. John Petrucci)
11. Hey Good Lookin' (feat. Albert Lee)
12. Strip Mall Gourmet (feat. Jay Graydon)
From The Internet -The seeds of the The Mutual Appreciation Society were planted a long time ago, back in 1972 to be precise. A young Sterling Ball, was introduced to the sound of Albert Lee by his father, Ernie Ball. It was during his time in Country Rock band Head, Hands & Feet, who were opening for Jethro Tull at a local show and Ball went to see them two nights in a row and then for a third successive night at Hollywood’s Whiskey A Go Go. He was hooked, they met the next day and developed a life-long friendship.
Sterling and John Ferraro went to school together in Junior High; in high school, they started playing music together. After high school, Sterling joined a very small Ernie Ball Company (and later became CEO of Ernie Ball Music Man) and John went on to College at Long Beach State where he met Jim Cox.