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April 12, 2008

Peter Lang - American Stock: A Guitar Collection

Peter Lang is an American Primitive Guitarist in the true sense of the word. His technique is rooted in open-tuned, pre-blues guitar styles dating back to revolutionary times. His music looks forward, however, and combines the deep, mysterious, memory-inducing melodies and dark chords of John Fahey with the agility and precision of Leo Kottke. He draws these influences together with strains of classical guitar, Joseph Spence, ragtime, country blues, and timeless American folk melodies. You can hear all these influences, along with the white-collar folk-blues of Koerner, Ray & Glover, but Lang's style is unique and instantly recognizable.

He recorded an LP for Takoma in 1973, and was featured on their "Fahey, Lang, Kottke" release. Then he made some albums for Flying Fish and Waterhouse records, which began to augment the classic, stark, solo guitar sound with other instruments and vocals. These albums are somewhat uneven; Lang's singing is a warm and muddy baritone not unlike Kottke. The presence of other instruments sometimes enhances the guitar, and sometimes sounds totally dated.

American Stock: A Guitar Collection was released in 1986, and recorded on several dates from 1976 to 1986. On it, he revisits many of the songs and styles that he premiered on other albums, but with a new understanding and maturity. It stands out as a return to the classic instrumental sound. The few tracks augmented by other instruments are integrated more successfully. The interplay between National Steel guitar and screaming electric violin on "Halloween Blues" is amazingly spooky, and his solo cover of Joseph Spence's version of "There Will Be a Happy Meeting in Heaven Tonight" is classic.

After releasing this album, Peter Lang went into semi-retirement, and didn't release another album until 2001's Dharma Blues.

Peter Lang - American Stock: A Guitar Collection
Year: 1986
Label: Aspen
get it here.
from vinyl | mp3 >192kbps vbr | no cover | 79mb

This album is out of print, but you can get most of his others from his website/itunes.

for guitar tunings and discography, check out


Exposing Dana Houle said...

I have not heard this Peter Lang record. Thank you for posting it. I have been listening to his early 70s takoma recordings.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting record. Thanks a lot for posting it. Attilio.

J. Scott Moore said...

Just found's a good one! Thanks!
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