Saturday, January 12, 2008

Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant - Stratosphere Boogie + Swinging On The Strings

An easy way to describe this would be to string a bunch of labels together - instrumental-country-jazz-rockabilly-blues-bop-blah-blah... The uniqueness of these recordings is that they exist outside of the style divisions. In fact, this music was created before the modern styles drifted apart; and by people who simply did not know that country cannot be jazz because "that's not done". Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant were two white hillbilly kids, and so they grew up with the sounds of bluegrass and country-and-western; they also were very talented, curious musicians, and their ears were open to the cutting edge of instrumental music in America, and in the late 40s - early 50s it was bebop. Finally, both played new, recently invented, futuristic instruments: Speedy West was a steel guitar player, and Jimmy Bryant was one of the first solidbody guitarists in the world, and the first one to get Fender Telecaster when it went into production. There is no self-conscious "breaking the rules" kind of feeling, as there were no rules. They were unconstrained by the tradition because there was none: they simply had to invent everything themselves from the ground up. Nothing like this have ever been recorded before, and soon after they walked out of the studio for the last time, the gates between different styles shut down for keeps.
The "starting-from-a-clean-slate" approach sometimes produces interesting results even in the hands of people completely devoid of talent - just look at the Shaggs or the Stooges - but West and Bryant were accomplished studio musicians, true musical geniuses, and these two collections might be some of the most far-out, unique stuff you might hear.

AMG says: Fans of country and jazz guitar will discover two new idols after delving into this 16-track collection [Stratosphere Boogie], which features the best of the genre-shattering sessions recorded by this legendary duo. Between Bryant's jazzy, lightning-fast leads and West's brash, groundbreaking pedal steel work, the two recorded some of the most astounding instrumental country music of all time. Whether it's the hilarious "Sleepwalker's Lullaby" or top-fuel classics like "Old Joe Clark" and "Arkansas Traveler," the pair's 1950s records were among the most experimental music being made anywhere in America. It doesn't hurt to add that they were extremely influential, and one spends nearly as much time laughing along with these songs as they do trying to figure out how the hell anyone ever got this good.

Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant - Stratosphere Boogie
256kbps, 67mb on depositfiles
1. Stratosphere Boogie
2. Blue Bonnet Rag
3. Cotton Pickin'
4. Old Joe Clark
5. Sleepwalker's Lullaby
6. Arkansas Traveler
7. The Night Rider
8. Low Man On A Totem Pole
9. Speedin' West
10. Comin' On
11. Bryant's Bounce
12. Midnight Ramble
13. Pickin' Peppers
14. Shuffleboard Rag
15. Bustin' Thru
16. Flippin' The Lid

Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant - Swinging On The Strings
256kbps, 94mb on depositfiles
1. Frettin' Fingers
2. Lover
3. Two Of A Kind
4. Yodeling Guitar
5. West Of Samoa
6. Opus 1
7. Truck Driver's Ride
8. T-Bone Rag
9. Skiddle-Dee-Boo
10. China Boy
11. Railroadin'
12. Jammin' With Jimmy
13. Deep Water
14. This Ain't The Blues
15. The Rollin' Sky
16. Whistle Stop
17. Hillcrest (Opus 3)
18. Pushin' The Blues
19. Swingin' On The Strings
20. Caffeine Patrol


  1. many thanks! these look cool. love your blog.

  2. ROCK ON!!!



  3. I don't listen to this kind of music often, so to be able to listen to it now is a real treat. Reminds of Texas a little bit.

  4. Fantastic!! These two albums are now in heavy Ipod rotation. Thanks!

  5. Hi,
    Thank you for these great albums have been a fan for a while of Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West and have some of their material on vinyl .You have a fantastic site with a great diversity of music ,will be checking your site daily .regards brujo

  6. Hi,
    Thank you for these great albums have been a fan for a while of Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West and have some of their material on vinyl .You have a fantastic site with a great diversity of music ,will be checking your site daily .regards brujo

  7. great, just great, feel to meet spongebob squarepants - because this groovy steel guitar sound. thanks, man.

  8. great blog!! i'm from argentina and i can't find any of those cds, thanks a lot for sharing such a incredible stuff

  9. Most folks would not like to be old but I'm so glad I grew up in the 50's and 60's with this music.I was blessed!Folks could really play back then as,it was at the end of the Be-Bop era.Guitarists knew 100's of chord solos and chords for comping also.I'm just as glad,I lived through the Rock upstart also.I play guitar and have a short attention span and so play "many" styles.Jimmy is the smoothest and cleanest player ever to me.I realize Benson and others play faster but they also play a staccatto style.Jimmy,played legato and his 16th notes sound like most players quarter notes. Jimmy made the world a better place! Ty M.

  10. This looks quite interesting. Thanks!

  11. I would love a repost so much I'd just set down and cry, I surely would.