Review in “Minor 7th” online guitar magazine- Chris Proctor, Close and Personal Friends, 2012
Years ago, when fingerstyle guitar first captured my imagination, I heard Chris Proctor. Clean lines, deft playing, inventive arrangements and clearly articulated voices. I was instantly hooked. Fast-forward some 20 years, and Chris Proctor continues to create magic on both six and 12-string guitars. His latest effort, “Close & Personal Friends,” finds Proctor showcasing arrangements of a basketful of classic tunes from decades past. Each piece is a medley of 2-5 different songs, with no less than seven Beatles’ gems represented as only Chris Proctor can. Proctor’s Beatles’ stylings on solo guitar rank up there with guitar great Laurence Juber for capturing the essence of the original with skill and artistry. Many of the songs are hits from the 60’s and 70’s, the bread and butter from my formative music years. Each song medley gets its own special name from Proctor, so the opening cut, combining For What It’s Worth/Spooky/Through the Grapevine is now “It’s Worth Being Spooky Through the Grapevine.” You get the picture. The most inventive title? The combo Deco Drive/Gecko Drive that becomes in Proctor’s musical mind “Amphibians Behind the Wheel.” (no, I am not making this stuff up!). Each medley is a gem in itself. “A Mellow Sunshine Revolution Gets Better with Helpful Friends” combines four Beatles’ titles with Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow.” (the listener can guess the Beatles’ tunes). At almost ten and a half minutes, it’s the most weighty piece on the disk. And it’s great. Proctor shows off some Celtic chops on “Scotsman Without Potatoes Arrive in Lyndhurst” (A Scarce O’Tatties/The Lyndhurst jig). It’s mostly 6 and 12-string guitar, some overdubbing, and a few effects. And it’s as fun a 58 minutes of music you’ll have as you laugh at the song titles and smile at the fine guitar work of Chris Proctor. Playing like this will keep me hooked for another 20 years.