Thursday, March 1, 2007

Merle Travis and Joe Maphis - Country Music's Two Guitar Greats

Looks like it's a tradition in country music for two great guitar players to record an LP together. This disc might be the one that started this tradition - or maybe not, I am not too keen on the c&w history. Anyway, if Chet with Breau was jazz, and Chet with Les Paul was, like, country-jazz-pop, then this one is unadulterated country of the highest grade.
An average listener associates country with the nauseating radio shlock, but it was not always like that, and it should not be. There is a great guitar tradition that runs through the history of the style, under the radar of the music business and many fans. The contemporary guitar wizards like Junior Brown or Jim Campilongo are but heirs to the virtuosos of the 40s and 50s like Jimmy Bryant, for whom Leo Fender created Telecaster. But Merle Travis and Joe Maphis are probably the fathers of them all. Merle is the inventor of the "Travis picking", that inspired Chet Atkins to develop his own thumb-and-two-fingers playing style, and Joe Maphis is simply an excellent musician; that doubleneck monster you see him holding on the cover is his signature instrument, a mandoline/guitar mutant.

Merle Travis and Joe Maphis - Country Music's Two Guitar Greats
320 kbps, 68 mb

[excerpt from the original LP liner notes]:
"Merle Travis and Joe Maphis deserve a far finer tribute than I have the ability to write. I would ordinarily shy away from anything that involves writing. But a job like this can be a labor of love if the subjects are two of the mightiest men who ever rested guitars in their laps, and, of course, they've been two close friends of mine for a good many years now. Now that Capital Records has teamed these two thoroughbreds, this album will be a must for all of us guitar pickers." -- Chet Atkins, 1964

1. Corrine, Corrina (Willams / Chatman / Parish) (2:31)
2. Big Midnight Special (trad. arr. Travis / Maphis) (2:30)
3. Bayou Baby (Merle Travis) (2:04)
4. Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Merle Travis) (2:18)
5. Guitar Rag (Merle Travis) (2:13)
6. Blast Off (Travis / Maphis) (2:23)
7. When It’s Time for the Whippoorwill to Sing (Alton Delmore) (2:02)
8. West Coast Blues (Merle Travis) (3:37)
9. Mainstreet Breakdown (Chet Atkins) (2:25)
10. Picture On the Wall (trad. arr. Travis / Maphis) (2:19)
11. Kentucky Waltz (Bill Monroe) (2:40)
12. Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar (Alton Delmore) (2:21)


  1. tal farlow. I don't know why, maybe because of all the atkins and two player albums. anyway farlow is a tip.
    this album is great and i thank you!

  2. I can't get the download link to work and I would love to hear this one. Joe Maphis just entered my world by way of Flying Fingers and he's great!

  3. It works for me. What is the problem that you are having? Try direct link, maybe that will help:

  4. Many thanks for the direct link-when I tried last night, it stuck on the Linx protector page and would not advance. I have no-script on my computer. It would not advance even when I alowed the page. (As a for instance of what no script does, if I don't put in a page as trusted, I can't post on comments to blogs. It allows more control over the functionality of various pages, and stops a lot of ads too.)

  5. I'm listening now-just amazing. BTW, you can find another album by Joe at African Gospel Church, called Gospel Guitar. Just name search Joe Maphis at captaincrawl

  6. Thank you, I'll check it out.

  7. I just found this Capitol original LP today in a ThriftStore..... along with a sweet George Jones on the "Starday" Label. This duet is a rockin,' picken, great callaboration between these two guitarists. The Flip-side is my new favorite....Kinda Bluesy(fast & Slow) and much deeper than the A-side. A deffinate Keeper !
    Thanks for the info .

  8. Link to download is dead ):