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While My Guitar Only Plays Reviews

LES FRADKIN-
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

LES FRADKIN: While My Guitar Only Plays

Guitar virtuoso extraordinaire, Les Fradkin, performs a refreshingly breathtaking instrumental album of Beatle pop tunes on his new CD entitled "While My Guitar Only Plays." Born and raised in New York city, Les played the role of George Harrison in the original Broadway cast of Beatlemania. On this new album, almost half the tracks are Harrison compositions which is Les's own way of paying homage to the late great Beatle. The remaining album tracks has him giving the nod to the other two composers, John Lennon and Paul McCartney by including some of their great songs that have become well-known to Beatle fans. Les's cover versions of "I Feel Fine", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Paperback Writer" are filled with high energy performances with lots of interesting guitar improvisations. Any listener who plays these catchy instrumental tunes will easily come to appreciate and understand the reason why Les had been chosen for the part of Beatle George in the production of "Beatlemania." Rather than a rocker, Les chose to turn "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" into a light, graceful acoustic ballad almost like a quiet inner reflection of oneself. If this was Les's intention for the listener, then he definitely succeeded. Featured on "While My Guitar Only Plays" album is special guest Nokie Ewards of The Ventures. Between the two guitarist, they perform a very heart-warming version of "Here Comes The Sun" -- a recording that, if George were alive today, would surely put a smile on the face of the former Beatle (and sure to delight the ears of Beatle fans.) The medley that closes the album, "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" has Les and the band pulling out all the stops: THEY ROCK!!! Aided by drummer Joe Rotondo and bass guitarist Dave Stalheim, Les puts in some gutsy guitar licks. If I may use a phrase here from John Lennon, Les can easily "make a guitar speak" and then some, especially his lead guitar improvisations that trade off of each other on "The End" are simply brilliant.
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

Les Fradkin's latest release, "While My Guitar Only Plays"
A collection of Beatles instrumentals in Les' distinctive guitar play'n style.
Beatles fans this is a GREAT CD!
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

I first heard this album on Archer's 'Breakfast With The Beatles' show and was amazed how Les Fradkin had duplicated the exact sounds of the lead guitar trade-offs in 'The End.' Then, when I got to listen to the CD, I was further impressed by Fradkin's unique interpretations. The moody, soulful 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and the extra-jangly version of 'And Your Bird Can Sing' are truly phenomenal. Plus, the first cut I heard The Mountain radio station play, 'Here Comes The Sun,' features Nokie Edwards of the Ventures. I'm not usually a fan of Beatles covers, but this album really stands out.
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

The local Breakfast With The Beatles show on The Mountain (in Denver, Colo.) has softened me up to cover songs with its special features, but as a die-hard Beatles fan I usually won't go out and buy any, but Les Fradkin's CD has changed all that. When I first heard him duplicate the lead guitar effects on 'The End' I rushed to CD Baby and got the CD and, wow, it is great. His guitar and synth (which I usually don't like, but Fradkin takes the classic mellotron route) breath new life into these songs, especially 'And Your Bird Can Sing' and 'Here Comes The Sun.' No one will ever surpass a Beatles original, but Fradkin does the best re-interpretations I've heard since Aretha Franklin's 'Let It Be.'.
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

Les Fradkin has a new CD out, called While my guitar only plays. As you can guess it's not only a tribute to George Harrison, it also has all Beatles covers. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a fan of this type of album, but this is one that will REALLY surprise you. In the first place because it's an all-instrumental album, which kinda takes away the urge to compare to the Beatles' original. And with Les' guitar very much taking the lead part in all the songs, you tend to concentrate on that. But there's so much more...there's bits of mellotron, percussion, guitar layers...they all contribute to the fact that this album is a unique listening experience. Each song has its own character, sometimes close to the original, sometimes taking on a life of its own. But Les always makes them his own, not in the least because of his unique guitar sounds. Just listen to that guitar solo in the Abbey Road medley !! In short, this is a CD I can strongly recommend !!

Eric Sorensen Reviews

Les Fradkin-"JANGLEHOLIC"
(RRO-1010)
Les sure does love that fireglow Rickenbacker 360V64 12-string guitar of his! Once again, this George Harrison model Rickenbacker is featured on the cover of Les' latest album (Les confided that he is a disciple of the Frank Zappa school of prolific recording) - Jangleholic. The album features several original tunes and Les' cover versions of some of his favorite songs from the past five decades. The title track recounts Les' lifelong love affair with the jangly, chiming sound of a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar.

Roger McGuinn turned many Bob Dylan folk songs into sing-along pop tunes with 4/4 time and chiming Rickenbacker riffs; Les does the same on his version of Dylan's "I Want You." If you ever wondered what a Simon & Garfunkel tune would have sounded like with Rickenbacker 12-string accompaniment, check out Les' fab version of "The Dangling Conversation." Les shines on the other cover tunes as well as on his own compositions. Les further enhances the chiming guitar licks with the use of the superb effects pedal - the JangleBox. (It's a small world - I met JangleBox inventor Steve Lasko last year, and I ran into him again at a Roger McGuinn concert!) Les is busy working on his next release; until that disc hits the street, this album should be the top attraction for jangleholics in 2006! You can find it at the following web link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lesfradkin10. Move over Starry Eyed & Laughing and Starbyrd; Les Fradkin belongs in that first pew of Jangledom with you!
LES FRADKIN:
"PERFECT WORLD" (RRO-1004)

Perfect World - by veteran jangly artist Les Fradkin, who once played with Edison Lighthouse. If you admire 60s pop, you can't help but sing along and tap your feet to this disc! Fradkin's guitars chime on numerous tracks, but his great cover of "Funny How Love Can Be" should delight Rickenbacker 12-string fans. This album also has the distinction of featuring the 60s studio artists affectionately known as the "Wrecking Crew." Fradkin wears his love of 60s pop music on his very talented sleeve. Long may you run, Sir Les!
LES FRADKIN-"Goin' Back"
RRO-1009 and
LES FRADKIN-"Love You 2"
(RRO-1008) -

LES FRADKIN: Goin' Back

LES FRADKIN: Love You 2

When it comes to Roger McGuinn disciples … and George Harrison disciples (Les portrayed Harrison in the original Broadway cast of Beatlemania), Les Fradkin is among the leaders of the pack. These two discs feature, respectively, twelve very jangly tracks and eleven Beatles tunes (nine of which are Harrison-penned tunes). Les' fireglow Rickenbacker 360V64 12-string guitar is pictured on the cover of both discs. Almost every track has that snappy compressed sound that Roger McGuinn is known for. Among my favorite tracks are Les'cover version of "So You Want To Be A Rock'n'Roll Star" and all of the Beatles cover tunes.
Fans of jangly music should acquire both of these discs … and be on the lookout for the two-volume Jangleholic compilation that Les plans to release this month (Volume One) and in March (Volume Two). Long may you run, Sir Les!
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

While My Guitar Only Plays - by Les Fradkin. Fradkin follows up his 2004 solo disc with this 14-track (all Beatles tunes) instrumental disc that features Nokie Edwards of the Ventures. Fradkin portrayed George Harrison in the original Broadway production of "Beatlemania," and there's lots of jangly, chiming guitars on the Harrison-penned tracks on this disc. The Fradkin/Edwards guitars work well in unison, and I hardly miss the vocals on these classic Fab Four tunes. Twelve-string Rickenbacker fans will dig these instrumental treatments.

Robert Silverstein Reviews

LES FRADKIN & GET WET:
"A DAY AT THE BEACH" (RRO-1003)
"SPLASH!" (RRO-1002)

LES FRADKIN & GET WET: A Day At The Beach

LES FRADKIN & GET WET: Splash!

Back in the ‘60s, instrumental guitar aficionados were in paradise. England had The Shadows and America had The Ventures. More than four decades later, few American guitarists are capable of combining the spirit of the classic West Coast surf-rock sound of The Ventures and the Euro-tinged guitar instrumental sound of Hank Marvin & The Shadows better than Colorado-based guitar ace Les Fradkin. Forty plus years after the Ventures and Shadows early ‘60s breakthroughs, Les Fradkin and his band, Get Wet, are in the midst of reviving the time-honored surf-rock instro sound and a whole lot more. Just in time for Summer 2004, Fradkin has re-launched the first two Get Wet albums—Splash! (from 1999) and A Day At The Beach (2001)—on his own RRO Records. Huge hits on mp3.com when released on CDR a few years back, Fradkin has shored them both up as definitive CD releases complete with 24-bit remastering, eye-catching new artwork and liner notes. Bonus tracks of Les Fradkin & Get Wet performing live in California and Colorado alongside a number of top players are featured on each—with the Splash! reissue spotlighting Les riffing out alongside legendary Eddie & The Showmen guitarist Eddie Bertrand. Colorful new artwork and top remastering makes these classic albums look and sound even better. The big, rocking guitar beat of Les Fradkin & Get Wet is essential listening for fans of surf-rock and symphonic rock instrumental sounds.
LES FRADKIN:
"WHILE MY GUITAR ONLY PLAYS"
(RRO-1005)

There is perhaps no better or more qualified guitarist around today to serve up a CDs worth of rock Beatles instrumentals than Colorado-based guitar maven Les Fradkin. After all it was Fradkin who was chosen, back in 1976 out of a pack of 2000 guitarists, to play the George Harrison lead guitarist part in the original Broadway production of Beatlemania. And with good reason. On his 2005 Beatles tribute CD—entitled While My Guitar Only Plays—Les and his band (including Joe Rotondo on drums and Dave Stalheim on bass) offer up fourteen of the best rock instrumental versions of Beatles classics ever recorded. And that’s saying something, because over the years there’s been hundreds of artists—from The Hollyridge Strings to Chet Atkins—who’ve paid instro honors to the greatest Fab Four music of the ‘60s. Fradkin puts all the arrangements and guitar parts in the right place and he’s chosen a collection of songs earlier overlooked as possible guitar covers in the past, achieving a fine detail of inlocking melodies with guitar voicings depicting the vocal harmonies and arrangements. Among the highlights on While My Guitar Gently Plays include Fradkin-ized covers of “Here Comes The Sun”—including a guest appearance by Ventures guitarist Nokie Edwards—instro covers of “And Your Bird Can Sing”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, a sentimental, mellotron hued “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and a blistering instro rave-up of “I Saw Her Standing There”. Beatles fans who still relish the spirit in which these greatest ‘60s pop classics were first made, owe it to themselves to check out Les Fradkin’s While My Guitar Only Plays.