Often overlooked in a sea of more modern-sounding, bebop-oriented guitarists, George Barnes could swing like mad and spin out intricate, frequently bluesy phrases with awesome precision and musicality. One of the earliest electric guitarists, he began his career as a teenager in ’30s Chicago, where he worked as a sideman for bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy and Blind John Davis. Later, he moved on to be an NBC staffer, and then play with the likes of Armstrong, Sinatra, Fitzgerald and myriad other luminaries. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore-issued by mandolinist David Grisman’s Acoustic Disc-features heretofore unreleased material from a 1977 Concord, Calif., concert that was recorded a little more than a month before Barnes’ sudden death at the age of 56. Here Barnes leads a quartet-manned by Bay Area rhythm-section veterans drummer Benny Barth and bassist Dean Reilly, and guitarist Duncan James, one of his students at the time-through tunes that, for the most part, were featured on the last two albums he made for the Concord label.
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