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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Les Paul

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Album Review

This would be more properly titled "The Best of Les Paul at Decca," as all 12 of the songs are taken from his slim body of 1944-1947 Decca recordings. That isn't to say that these aren't quality tracks that are of substantial importance to Paul's discography, only that they certainly aren't among his best or most popular, particularly as none of them were done with Mary Ford. That qualification out of the way, these lead off with four good small-combo instrumental jazz sides from 1944, including "Begin the Beguine" and Irving Berlin's "Blue Sides," in which Paul's speedy, nimble runs are already well in evidence. Less interesting to Paul fans, since Paul is less in the forefront, are sides on which he accompanies the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, and Dick Haymes. Filling out the program are more instrumentals, including the 1945 instrumental "Hawaiian Paradise" and four 1947 tracks, among them his versions of "Steel Guitar Rag," "Caravan," and Arthur Smith's "Guitar Boogie." Because Paul had yet to record his pioneering multi-track overdubs, this early work isn't nearly as important as what he would record during his subsequent stint on Capitol, but it does serve to illustrate his solid foundation as a skilled, versatile jazz-pop guitarist.

Customer Reviews

The Passing of a Musical Giant - August 13, 2009

I want people to know what a great guy Les Paul was and how great and far reaching his influence has been. It is a true loss, but Les lived his life his way and played to the end. He was from the same county i was born in, Waukesha, WI and his small town friendliness showed. Pick any song and you will listen to a skilled and practised musician. His lightening speed playing on his own Gibson Les Paul is wondrous -- God Bless! Add this super selection to your collection -- you will be happy you did.

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Les Paul

I purchased a few of the cuts on this album such as Blue Skies, Steel Guitar Rag, and Caravan after learning of Les Paul's passing. I didn't realize he was the inventor of the multi-track recording system which, or course, changed the industry. Mr Paul's virtuoso playing, though, is what we will always remember. Les Paul and his band, offer up a swingin' performance on these cuts. I really really enjoyed listening to them! Great album


Love the Guitar he made, but this isn't really my thing, nothing like the stuff we play on his guitars. Good singer. Not my thing.


Born: June 9, 1915 in Waukesha, WI

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Les Paul had such a staggeringly huge influence over the way American popular music sounds today that many tend to overlook his significant impact upon the jazz world. Before his attention was diverted toward recording multi-layered hits for the pop market, he made his name as a brilliant jazz guitarist whose exposure on coast-to-coast radio programs guaranteed a wide audience of susceptible young musicians. Heavily influenced by Django Reinhardt at first, Paul eventually developed an astonishingly...
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