Phil Baugh was a country badass, plain and simple. Other than sporting some major, low-down twang-ability, he flaunted wicked chops that could make Jimmy Bryant or Joe Maphis blush. Baugh’s signature tune, “Country Guitar,” featured the California native reeling off impressions of 6-string giants such as Les Paul, Merle Travis, Luther Perkins, Duane Eddy, Hank Garland, and others. Impressive? You betcha. But that’s not the whole story. Baugh’s playing exuded joy and humor—two traits seriously lacking in hot country guitar these days. Whether he was aping a banjo and a saxophone on “One Man Band,” or playing it straight behind Vern Stovall’s honky-tonkin’ vocals on “Good Times,” Baugh (who passed away in 1990 at the age of 53) is a serious study for anyone interested in country guitar that oozes style and attitude. (Sundazed.) —Darrin Fox
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