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Clear the Tracks
Artist: Dave Beegle
Label:  Hapi Skratch Records
Length:  66:40 minutes/14 tracks 

A Simple Prayer
Mason Street Shuffle

Self-produced masterpieces need financing, fans need tantalizing, and the public needs reminding of what the fuss is all about. Clear the Tracks, released last year, accomplishes all of this nicely. It spans Beegle's recording career from a rare early recording of  "War of the Worlds" to previews of A Year Closer

The Fourth Estate years are well represented with pyrotechnics like "Kara Kum" and "From Here to There," introspective "The Hammer Song," electrified Bach  ("Joy"), the crunch of "Juggernaut" and countrified good times of "Mason Street Shuffle." Fourth Estate exclusively used analog instruments-no overdubs, no synthesizers, no keyboards, no samples-primarily to show off its guitarist's prowess. But all those sanctions are broken on two more recent cuts, "Insallah" and "Chivalry is not Dead." The results are intriguing, mystical excursions, but compromise the integrity of the machine-free sound and will never satisfy the purists who make up Beegle's fanbase. Far more promising are the acoustic numbers, "All the Kings Men" and "A Simple Prayer" which ended up on A Year Closer. "All the Kings Men" apparently indulges in multi-tracking since Beegle credits himself with four guitars, but the bubbly middle eastern brew is all the better for it. 

"Monsters" showcases Beegle's arranging and production skills with a spirited, world-beat arrangement and  "Goin' Down" confirms what many have suspected all along. Behind the sensitive flamenco virtuoso/world music buff/guitar hero lies a rocker with the chops to alternately soar on the solos and get down with the rhythm section.

The original title for this project was "The Some-what Definitive" which describes it well. Its variety offers a good introduction to the uninitiated, but once introduced, the search will be on for the rest of the discography and perhaps even a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado for some live shows. Someone should warn the Chamber of Commerce.

Linda J. T. LaFianza  3/5/00 


Dave Beegle is an underground guitar hero, who, according to the liner notes of Clear the Tracks, has released at least six instrumental guitar albums.  Even so, he's a virtual unknown, and it's hard to understand why after listening to this album.  Beegle has twice as much creativity and talent as 70% of the people who are called legends, and, quite differently from most soloists, can play more than just the blues scale.  Most of the songs on Clear the Tracks have a Middle Eastern flavour to them, but very few of them sound alike, and the CD is anything but boring. 

Michial Farmer 3/12/200

Guitarists looking for a hero and a role model to emulate need look no further.  Dave Beegle is perhaps one of the top 10 guitarists in rock music today.  He plays with emotion, he plays with technical accuracy, and he plays with style.  He can shred it up, as on the bluesy "Goin' Down" or he can add flavour to a haunting melody, as in "Monsters."  Regardless of the setting--whether a solo project, as part of Fourth Estate, Artifact Symphony, or the BOQ Trio, Beegle's playing makes each song on this compilation shine. It's hard to not like this album if you appreciate fine rock guitar playing.

Alex Klages


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