Darby Slick reviews


Darby Slick – King of the Fretless Guitar (1998)

King of the Fretless Guitar CD cover

Classification – Middle of the Road (Rock), Easy Listening

Darby Slick – Fretless Guitars, Guitars, Bass Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Scott Mathews – Drums
Jor Slick – Bass on Red House and Hearts Desire

Taxim Records; Inh. Hans-Hermann Pohle, Am Dobben 3, 27330 Asendorf, Germany

Track listing:

1  Cosmic Love (Don’t You Hate to Say It) (Darby Slick) 05:43
2  Siddhartha (Darby Slick) 05:06
3  Yosemite Eagle (Darby Slick) 05:13
4  Moodchanger (Darby Slick) 00:25
5  The Freedom Song (Darby Slick) 05:37
6  Hand-held Camera (Darby Slick) 05:13
7  To an Alcoholic Dying Young (Darby Slick) 03:54
8  Little Old Men from Long Ago (Darby Slick) 01:30
9  The Iguana With the Best Make-up (Darby Slick) 03:19
10  Red House (Jimi Hendrix) 05:20
11  Muir Beach Horse Ranch (Darby Slick) 06:04
12  Heart’s Desire (Darby Slick) 02:37


I’d wondered about this CD for quite some time and when one came up on an ebay auction
I put a single bid in and won it outright.

First off, and as a departure to normal reviewing, it makes sense to read Darby’s notes on the album:


King of the Fretless Guitar, sleeve notes

He could almost of written it specially for Unfretted, or any aspiring fretless guitarist.

But what of the album itself? The record company has it categorised as rock, and there’s me saying middle of the road. Well if you compare it to the other fretless albums reviewed here it certainly is. Nice and accessible, you won’t upset the mother-in-law playing this one.

There is a fair mix of fretted and fretless playing and Darby certainly knows how to put songs together. And in a way that is the surprise, all of the songs are bolted together in a very conventional format, its hard to describe but its almost as if the songs had lyrics and now the words are replaced by the fretless guitar. You know, a bit like the album “Popular hits played by the Pan Pipes” but this time its the fretless guitar.

For me the way the fretless is used on the CD is a little tiring after a while, but no one else is playing in this style, so we have yet another avenue to wander down.

Stand out tracks – Moodchanger, short but fun. Hand-held Camera, nice chord changes.

Darby Slick's twin neck fretless CD picture

Darby Slick’s twin neck fretless

This guitar is pictured on the CD, looks like a metal board and that would tie in with the sound and some of the techniques heard on the CD. I thought it might just be an artist’s impression but the intonation setting on the fretless makes me think it is genuine.

Review: Jahloon 2004

More Music Reviews