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Playing Guitar The Easy Way
- First ever CD issue and first time reissued on vinyl
- Hand-numbered and expanded gatefold tip-on jacket
- Reproduction of original 20 page book with tunings, tablature, and lyrics
- 1,500 on “blue” wax for Record Store Day stores
- 500 on “clear” wax for U.K Record Store Day stores
- 100 on “red” wax for LITA Seattle Record Store
Following on the heels of LITA’s previous Chapman reissues comes an ultra-rarity, 1978’s Playing The Guitar The Easy Way – an instructional record (complete with a 20 page booklet of notation) making its CD debut and reissued on vinyl for the first time ever! For guitar geeks, it’s one of the first instructional methods to deal with open tunings like DADGAD. For Chapman fans, it’s merely a gas to listen to!
Along with Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, and John Martyn – Michael Chapman is one of the most influential and important British singer/songwriter/folk guitarists of his generation.
Like his peers, Chapman blended traditional folk influences with rock and jazz overtones for a unique sound that remains fresh to this day. Michael Chapman is also legendary for discovering electric guitar maverick Mick Ronson and recording with him before David Bowie did! Chapman also utilized string arranger Paul Buckmaster (whose name appears on early 70’s LPs by Elton John, the Rolling Stones and Miles Davis).
Following on the heels of LITA’s previous Chapman reissues comes an ultra-rarity, 1978’s Playing Guitar The Easy Way – an instructional record (complete with a 20 page booklet of notation) making its CD debut and reissued on vinyl for the first time ever! For guitar geeks, it’s one of the first instructional methods to deal with open tunings like DADGAD. For Chapman fans, it’s merely a gas to listen to!
Released with the direct involvement of Michael – who supplied the original master tape as well as some new liner notes – he still stands by this record as he told Thurston Moore during a recent interview for the Fretboard Journal:
“I still think it was a good idea. [But] it wasn’t meant to be for people starting the guitar; it was for people who had maybe got bogged down a bit and then maybe wanted to write some songs, and here comes an interesting way to find some new chords, which is what I did, you know, I just went.”
Now just about everyone can try Playing Guitar The Easy Way!
Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material, he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI’s Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums. LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound.
The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the lead guitar of Mick Ronson (of David Bowie fame) and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp’s bass, was John Peel’s favorite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman ‘hit’, “Postcards of Scarborough”, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.
After the release of Wrecked Again, Chapman parted company with Harvest, choosing to sign to Decca’s subsidiary Deram, where he altered course somewhat, adding electric guitar and harder rhythms to his work. Several albums were released on Deram during the early to mid 1970’s including one produced by Memphis legend Don Nix.
Recording for numerous smaller record labels, and playing the folk and club circuits, the 1980’s was a quieter time for Chapman. He continued to make recordings that straddled musical genres and pushed his guitar playing to the fore, but had neither the profile nor sales of the previous decade.
The late 1990’s onwards represented a period of continued rebirth for Chapman. He embraced the ‘elder statesman’ role and enjoyed critical acclaim for albums like Navigation, Dreaming Out Loud and Still Making Rain (a wry pun title that looked back to his debut album). With the 1997 release of Dreaming Out Loud, Chapman was releasing albums at the rate of one every two years, while attracting high praise from the likes of Thurston Moore and Supergrass.
A decade later and Chapman is still going strong, having just toured United States in 2011.