Stevie Salas The Sun and the Earth: The Essential Stevie Salas Vol. 1

Fans of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani would be quick to agree that a disservice has been done to this missing link in the guitar worship canon. This petite Native American sideman with the colossal sound began his career with no less than George Clinton, quite by accident and in a classic rags-to-riches story, became a first-call session man for Was (Not Was), Bootsy Collins and Terrence Trent D’Arby before touring with Rod Stewart in the late ’80s. Forming his own band, Stevie Salas Colourcode, he released his first true solo record in ’88, causing a bigger stir in Japan than Stateside. Likewise with the 18 discs that followed. Herein lies the proof of his significant contribution, fusing strong elements of funk to hard rock that should’ve given Prince a good run for his money, while his ability to deliver a tender ballad or nail a groove against the wall is documented on this double-disc collection. At the same time, these tasteful arrangements underline his ability as a superb writer and deft arranger, embellishing his role as more than a crack gunslinger and soulful vocalist. Difficult to pigeonhole, an introduction to Salas and his last 17 years of productivity will fill the major gap in your collection you didn’t know you had as it profiles a player way ahead of his time. Better late than never. (Arbor)