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Toolin' Around Woodstock (feat. Levon Helm)

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iTunes Review

Arlen Roth, a well-known guitar teacher and the originator of the Hot Licks video series, is caught here putting down some definitive riffs and tunes with Woodstock, N.Y.'s best-known drummer—Levon Helm of The Band—at his professional home studio. Helm's laid-back but funky drum style was something to behold. His vocals were also always first-rate, even after surgery from throat cancer, and he brings a strong, authoritative voice to Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," a classic bar-band staple that gets everyone in the mood. He works similar magic on Buck Owens' "Cryin' Time." Joe South's "Games People Play" gets a nice workout between Roth and Bill Kirchen, while Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" receives an instrumental overhaul that smolders with tension and various guitar voicings, making it an immediate highlight. "Tumblin'" teams up Roth with Sonny Landreth for some definitive slide work. While surely attractive to fans of guitar virtuosos, the songs here transcend mere technique. Roth has ensured that anyone can appreciate the gold-standard musicianship here.

Customer Reviews

pilgrims progress

As a friend of Arlen's and someone who has known him since his teens i can say there is no body more dedicated to the purity and spirituality of his art form. To see him squeze this music out of his guitar using only the tone controlls on the body (and every other piece of the actual guitar) with no artifical help is just a joy. his greatist gift is his phrasing Arlen is one of the last great guitarists to play in complete sentences. i hope he has another thirty years to advance his style and im around to hear it

Telecaster Master

Arlen's work here is nothing short of remarkable. Click on Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" to give aural witness to a very special approach to guitar playing. Though the album is cover laden, Arlen never duplicates past recordings. He always brings a new and fresh dynamic to each song. Levon Helm's vocals on "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Cryin' Time" will make you smile in fond recognition of the signature voice of The Band. You can't go wrong buying the whole album or culling some great cuts from it. From Warren Street to Woodstock, Arlen Roth has been an important force in music.

It does not get much better than this!

Arlen Roth is one of the best guitarists around today. The version of Nightlife with his daughter Lexi on vocals is worth the price of the album alone.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Arlen Roth has been a respected rock guitarist since the '60s, when he used to release solo recordings. He eventually became a fairly well-known sideman, performing with artists as diverse as Pete Seeger, Rick Wakeman, and Paul Simon. On top of that, he also became an instructional guitarist with a series of educational videotapes covering a wide range of styles. His obvious talent for the guitar...
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Toolin' Around Woodstock (feat. Levon Helm), Arlen Roth
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Customer Ratings