6/7/51 ~ 11/12/97
|Rainer at Bandcamp|
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The Inner Flame
The 2012 release of 'The Inner Flame' is more than a repackaging of the tribute album (of the same name) which was released after Rainer's death, it includes many stunning recordings which, for whatever reason, were left off of the earlier compilation, or were recorded too late to be included in the original tribute. Much effort has been expended in order to present, to you, those of you out there intimate with Rainer's music, or even more eagerly, those out there who have only recently discovered it, an 18 song compilation performed by the cream of the music industry, in unison, expressing their thanks to Rainer and his contribution through his music to these things we call goodness and the fullness of life.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to record some of Rainer's body of work (the Westwood Sessions), and knew him as both a friend and an artist. All I can say is, the experience of being in his company, whether it was outside his little house in Tucson talking while smoking a cigarette, or witnessing the blustering, yet often subtle, storm of emotion that eminated from his performances, both on stage and in the studio, made all the more mind-boggling by Rainer's fingerboard dexterity, count among those moments in my life that I remember distinctly.
Apparently, many notable artists of our time also took note of Rainer's unique talent, for they came out of the woodwork to support Rainer and his family when he took ill, and the fruit of this outpouring of support is 'The Inner Flame'.
Howe Gelb, one of Rainer's close friends, also commented on the 2012 re-issue of the tribute compilaton:
"We offer up this new version to pay tribute and celebrate the man, the likes of whom I've yet to ever encounter again, and allowing a glimpse now of what he had done here on the planet and to share that embrace for ever having known him at all. The best way here to sum up the man is perhaps by his own quote. Near the end, during his final interview, when asked the impossible question of what he thinks we are all doing here in this life, Rainer answered without hesitation: "to love away the pain".
Roll Back The Years
Rainer with Joey Burns and John Convertino
ROLL BACK THE YEARS is a recent release from the vast archive of the late guitarist, singer and songwriter RAINER PTACEK.
Recorded late July / early August 1997 in Tucson, Arizona at the Barrio Viejo home of journalist, author and activist Bill Carter, with the (then) GIANT SAND rhythm section of Bassist JOEY BURNS and Drummer JOHN CONVERTINO. John and Joey have since gone on to great acclaim as the core duo of the Tucson based band CALEXICO.
Rainer was at a high point in his recovery from a brain tumor when these sessions were recorded. The tribute album to Rainer, THE INNER FLAME had just been released, and a month earlier his triumphant concert at the Performance Center in downtown Tucson (on the eve of his final birthday) had taken place. Rainer's long time recording engineer Cliff Eager captured these recordings, as he had the Performance Center concert, but less than a month after these sessions took place Rainer suffered the relapse that would finally claim him in November of 1997. Rainer did enter the studios at the urging of GIANT SAND front-man HOWE GELB one last time before he passed away. Those sessions were issued in 2002 as THE FARM. As a result, these session tapes lay tucked away, untouched for many years.
That fact, by all means, has nothing to do with the quality of the album at hand. ROLL BACK THE YEARS captures the sound of three highly skilled musicians caught in the act of listening to each other at the highest level. Here you will find Rainer working on some of his newest compositions, as well as a brace of tunes he loved and performed for years. Some took only one take to capture, others took up to 20 to get just right.
Lovingly restored, mixed and mastered for compact disc by Jim Blackwood at AZPM, we hope you enjoy ROLL BACK THE YEARS: Rainer Ptacek with Joey Burns and John Convertino.