Friday, December 17, 2010

15 Guitarists Who Do Not Suck (Part 1 of 3)

This is going around on Facebook right now but I thought I'd post my 15 over here. Here's a list of 15 guitar players who are better than me. They are in no particular order and I'm not going to number them because I am not intending to rank them. But, go ahead--count 'em--there are 15!

GRADY MARTIN--This guy was a real trail blazer! From his early days with Red Foley, to his incendiary rockabilly playing, to his faux Spanish playing on Martin Robbins' "El Paso", this guy is hard to beat. He contributed excellent guitar work on Johnny Horton's records, too. That would have been enough to make this guy a guitar hero but these examples are just scratching the surface. He was a mainstay on the Nashville scene for many years and played on thousands of recordings. Later in his career, he joined Willie Nelson's band for several years.

Here he is pickin' behind Red Foley (thanks to Deke Dickerson for posting this clip):

MICKEY BAKER--Probably best known to the general public as half of Mickey & Sylvia, Baker spent many years in a New York recording studio backing up R&B artists as well as laying down some burning guitar on Joe Clay's RCA/Vic recordings. He can be heard on recordings by Zilla Mays, Louis Jordan, Young Jessie, and Larry Dale. He also wrote several guitar method instructional books that are still in print today.

Here he is laying it down on "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan:

DAVE LEROY BILLER--He's probably tired of me speaking so highly of him but...too bad! This guy is the baddest of the bad. I've known him for about 14 years now and have the fortune of sharing the stage with him quite a bit. We've also worked in the recording studio together. I've learned tons of stuff from this guy and I am glad to call him a friend.

Here he is jazzin' it up:

JIMMIE VAUGHAN--I first heard of this guy when I was young teenager. I went to the music store looking to buy the Fabulous Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enuff" but all they had was their first Chrysalis recording (sometimes referred to as "Girls Go Wild"). I bought it and was blown away. I know they call steel guitarist Jerry Byrd the master of touch and tone but I think you can say the same thing about JV--he's the Master of Touch and Tone in my book.

The guy who posted this clip is right--Jimmie's playing is epic on this one:

BUDDY HOLLY--One of the first rock 'n' rollers from Texas--and, of all places, Lubbock--this guy turned in a definitive catalog of work before his untimely death in 1959 at the age of 22. He was an early adopter of the Fender Stratocaster and, as far as I'm concerned, brought that guitar to rock and roll.

Here's Buddy singing and playing on "Heartbeat":

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