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Rainer Ptacek — Barefoot Rock With Rainer & Das Combo (2013)

 Rainer Ptacek — Barefoot Rock With Rainer & Das Combo (2013)

Rainer Ptacek — Barefoot Rock With Rainer & Das Combo
▼  While never rising above cult status, especially in America, Rainer Ptacek did impact many fans of the blues, including some famous performers, during his brief recording career. He combined the traditional style of Robert Johnson with a dexterous finger-picking technique more reminiscent of a folk artist to form an original sound. His untimely death only increased his standing as one of the most distinctive blues players of the last generation.
Born: June 7, 1951
Died: November 12, 1997
Member of: Giant Sand
Album release: 2013
Record Label: Fire Records
Duration:     cc
Tracks:
CD 1:
01. Barefoot Rock      (3:11)
02. Sleepwalk      (3:21)
03. Around And Around      (3:37)
04. That’s How Things Get Done      (3:00)
05. I Am A Sinner      (3:53)
06. If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day      (3:43)
07. Where’s That At      (2:52)
08. The Last Fair Deal      (2:54)
09. How I Wanted You      (3:20)
10. I Wish You Would      (3:31)
CD 2:
01. Mellow Down Easy      (3:09)
02. The Unseen Enemy      (3:10)
03. Life Is Fine      (5:33)
04. Dark Water      (3:38)
05. Who Woulda Thunk It      (5:09)
06. Away      (3:36)
07. Deadly Sins      (4:29)
08. Broken Promises      (4:35)
09. What Have I Done To You      (2:14)
10. Poor Me      (5:20)
11. While You Were Having Fun      (2:48)
▼  Born in East Berlin and raised in Chicago in the 1950s, Rainer Ptacek found his musical voice experimenting with steel guitars and traditional Czech stringed instruments. Having formed Giant Sandworms with Howe Gelb in the late 1970s, he was an early proponent of the desert rock sound that would lay a path for Naked Prey, Calexico and, down the line, Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age.
▼  Stepping away from Giant Sandworms — which went on to proper success in the mid-1980s as Giant Sand — he devoted himself to crafting his own distinctive brand of blasted blues. Working solo and with backing band Das Combo, Ptacek knocked out a string of under-the-radar tape releases, and eventually had his moment in — well, near — the sun on 1992s gentle Worried Spirits.
▼  His musical activity, however, was cut short in 1997, when he passed away following a battle with a brain tumour. Tribute album The Inner Flame arrived the same year, and the cast list says something about Ptacek’s critical standing: Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, PJ Harvey, Grandaddy and Jonathan Richman were among the contributors to take on Ptacek originals. All of Ptacek’s nine albums are currently out of print — but not for long. Following a 2012 reissue of The Inner Flame, Fire are to put out freshly remastered versions of Ptacek’s entire solo catalogue. The first release in the series will be Barefoot Rock With Rainer And Das Combo, released exclusively in the UK in 1986. The album is a dusty collection of bare bones blues-rock, carried by Ptacek’s man-in-trouble vocals. Jim Blackwood’s remaster — previously given a limited release on Record Store Day, incidentally — comes bundled with a bonus disc of rare and unreleased material.
Artist Biography by Brian Downing
▼  While never rising above cult status, especially in America, Rainer Ptacek did impact many fans of the blues, including some famous performers, during his brief recording career. He combined the traditional style of Robert Johnson with a dexterous finger-picking technique more reminiscent of a folk artist to form an original sound. His untimely death only increased his standing as one of the most distinctive blues players of the last generation.
▼  Ptacek was born of Czech descent in East Berlin in 1951, but his family relocated to Texas when he was five. That environment obviously influenced his burgeoning blues interest and style, which was cemented by an adolescence spent in Chicago. He eventually settled in Tucson, where he began a guitar repair business. Ptacek honed an affinity for the Dobro and National Steel guitar into a new sound that blossomed on a series of underground tapes released in the late '70s and early '80s. After playing in a group called Das Combo for six years, Ptacek released his own Worried Spirits in 1992 to much acclaim. Continuing in that solo and acoustic vein was Nocturnes, an all-instrumental album that featured a cover of George Harrison's "Within You, Without You." However, Ptacek was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after that in early 1996. ▼  His medical expenses skyrocketed, so a tribute album was planned to help out with the cost of his treatment. The Inner Flame: Rainer Ptacek Tribute came out in July 1997 and showed just how many converts Ptacek had made over the years. It featured Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Emmylou Harris, and PJ Harvey, among others, as well as Ptacek himself on guitar. After a brief remission, his cancer returned and he died on November 12, 1997. Several posthumous releases, including Live at the Performance Center, have been released.
▼  In February 1996, Rainer was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent intensive chemotherapy within months of being diagnosed. By summer's end, the cancer had gone into remission. But while the immediate threat to his life had passed, Ptacek still faced an intense period of rehabilitation. He was healthy, but nearly buried under the weight of a staggering pile of medical bills. The tribute album "The Inner Flame" was pioneered by close friend Howe Gelb, bringing together artists such as Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Emmylou Harris, Evan Dando, PJ Harvey, Madeleine Peyroux, Viotoria Williams, and Giant Sand. Rainer passed away in 1997.
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Rainer Ptacek — Barefoot Rock With Rainer & Das Combo (2013)

 

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