Robbie Basho’s Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12 to be reissued

Robbie Basho's Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12 to be reissued

Acoustic steel-string guitar maestro Robbie Basho’s 1979 album Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12 will be reissued next October. The LP has long been out of print, acquiring a “collector’s item” status that sadly precluded one of Basho’s finest musical moments from being heard. The Baltimore-born guitarist made his name as part of the triumvirate upon which Takoma label’s reputation was built. Though, being relatively less influenced by country blues, Basho’s music is closer in spirit to Sandy Bull’s, rather than his labelmates Leo Kottke or John Fahey. This was Basho’s second release for Windham Hill; his first album with the label, 1978’s Visions of the Country, was re-released last year. Gnome Life will reissue this on CD, while Grass-Tops Recording takes care of the vinyl LP.

Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12 might not be Robbie Basho’s best-know record (1966’s The Grail & The Lotus), nor the most influential or celebrated (1969’s Venus in Cancer, 1974’s Zarthus), but it’s believed to be the one where Basho’s playing reached its peak of technical sophistication. Indeed, the album features a bit for everyone: raga-style guitar (“Pasha II”, “Pavan India”), ultra complex finger-picking (“The Grail and the Lotus”), classical guitar vamps (“Variations on Claire de Lune”), folk inflicted workouts (“Après midi Americain”), and even a track where Robbie Basho sings! All the highlights of Basho’s work are found here: eccentric tunings, modal playing and a keen ear for Eastern music (which he studied and incorporated into his music), and a spirituality that could neither be outshined by the technical flashiness nor the (unavoidable?) exotic undertones. Hence, Art of the Acoustic Steel String 6 & 12 can be a fine primer for Robbie Basho’s music.

The album will be out on CD via Gnome Life and vinyl via Grass-Tops Recording on October 21.

Art of the Acoustic Steel String 6 & 12 tracklisting:

01. The Grail and The Lotus
02. Cathedrals et Fleur De Lis
03. Pasha II
04. A Study For Steel String
05. Ackerman Special
06. Après Midi American
07. Variations on Grieg
08. Scottish Rites
09. Pavan India
10. Variations on Ezumi
11. Variations on Claire De Lune

• Robbie Basho:
• Grass-Tops Recording:
• Gnome Life:

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