8/10/2006

The Knights-King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art

Artist: The Knights
Title: King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art
Genre: Rock-Instrumental
Label: Lance Records
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One of the progenitors of surf instrumental music, Dick Stewart, and his band The Knights have returned in 2006 with a new release titled King Richard's Red Hot New Mexican Chile Stew – Art. I knew the band’s previous release, In Progression was going to be hard to top; it is my personal favorite, and I do not think The Knights will ever come up with anything better than that album. It stands alone in uniqueness for the instrumental genre. That does not take anything away from this new release, however, which is destined to be a classic as well. This great CD will find its way into the hearts of the true instro fans that have been waiting for a new release from the Stewart camp.

You may recognize some of the tracks on this new album from the band’s 1998 CD release, Surfin’ the Web. This CD is no longer available, so hang on to your copy if you have one. The tracks on Surfin’ the Web were never mastered, so Stewart decided it was time to fix that and add a few new twists and turns. One of the tunes, “Cool Links,” now has son Jason ripping off some slick fretwork of his own on the bridge in order to make the newly mastered recording sound as crisp and powerful as possible. Listening to the Stewarts play is like a guitar 101—old school vs. the new wave; it is a lot of fun, and the contrasts are very interesting and can be very educational if you happen to own your own six string.

The first track kicks things off with style with a haunting wind blowing as “Phantom Riders” begins--it’s Dick’s own “Ghost Riders In The Sky” 2006 if you will, which he happens to cover on this release as well (remastered and reissued). I love the song; it has the kind of melody and rhythm you cannot resist, and I think it will go down as an instrumental classic—you heard it here first. An important nod for a job well done goes to Dick’s son Richard, for his fine bass playing on the track.

“Riley’s Switch” (formerly “Surfin’ The Web” now updated and mastered) is a tribute to the legendary town of Clovis, New Mexico, once called Riley’s Switch. One thing you can count on with Dick Stewart when he records an album is that you will get a history lesson of the area in which he lives. He is an avid historian and has studied meteorology over the years. I have spent literally hours talking to the man throughout the years, discussing everything from soup to nuts and beyond, once we get all the music talk out the way, of course.

Stewart’s love affair with the Southwest continues with this brilliant release, from “Chas” Pike’s colorful and cultural artwork on the CD cover to the surf-rock-country (with Southwest spice) influenced music you will hear on this CD. Other outstanding new tracks are the atmospheric “Cimarron,” “Waterfalls,” with its rapid-fire metallic picking pushed through a phase shifter, and the self-explanatory “Calm and the Storm.”

Once again, King Richard and his court have gathered to delight all comers to his castle instrumental. I am very pleased, but then again I expect to be when a new album comes out. Dick Stewart is an amazing man; he is 66 with the heart and spirit of man 30 years younger. Its no wonder he just keeps crankin’ out the tunes with regularity. There are not many original ‘60s instrumental dudes around still making music. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear one of the best still bending the strings with passion and purpose.


© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

August 10, 2006


Tracks & Credits:

01. Phantom Riders (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, Ritch Stewart – bass) (3:58)

02. Cool Links (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:47)

03. Riley’s Switch (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:30)

04. La del Moño Colorado (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:20)

05. Ghost Riders (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:59)

06. Mother Road (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (5:14)

07. El Rancho Grande (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:32)

08. Cimarron (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:28)

09. El Incendio de Los Alamos (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (3:16)

10. Waterfalls (Jason Stewart – all instruments) (2:08)

11. Poco de Todo (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Little Ralph Pais – backup lead guitarist, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (2:30)

12. Penetration (Dick Stewart – first lead guitar, Jason Stewart – second lead guitar, bass, and keys) (3:22)

13. Surfin’ the Rio Grande (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (4:16)

14. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (Dick Stewart - lead and rhythm guitar, Gary Snow – bass, Steve Hudgins – drums) (4:13)

15. Calm and the Storm (Jason Stewart – all instruments) (4:12)

16. A Medias de la Noche (Dick Stewart – lead guitar, Little Ralph Pais – backup lead guitarist, Floyd “Flaco” Gonzales – rhythm guitar, Jose “Prospero” Montoya – bass, Anthony Lucero – drums) (3:12)

17. Adios (Dick Stewart – lead and rhythm guitar and vocal, Jason Stewart – keys) (1:52)

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