Monday, May 28, 2012

Guitar heroes and footpedals of clay

A commenter on another blog, Ed Brayton's "Dispatches From The Culture Wars" (Free Thought Blogs) asked, on a thread about Teddy "Teabags" Nugent, whether I thought Jeff Beck or Eddie Van Halen was the better guitarist.

My reply to him, with some additional musings, appears below.
Michael Heath:

Since all I know about Eddie Van Halen is his rock ouvre, I'm gonna go with Jeff Beck. Van Halen is quite talented but I never heard him play jazz.

There's an aussie fella, Geoff Atchison, who played at the Oswego Harbor Fest a few years back that put on a show that was amazing. In an era of guitar players with so many foot pedals and effects boxes that they can't walk across the stage without tripping a switch, I watched him play two sets on consecutive nights with his guitar and a borrowed amp that were incredible.

Oz Noy,an Israeli who now spends most of his time in the states, is not the opposite of Geoff Achison but I saw him at the SUNY Oswego Guitar Symposium a while back and he had enough effects pedals to fill a music/electronics store--and used them all.

Loren Barrigar and Williman Yelverton are two great guitarists who I've only heard play acoustic. Barrigar has been playing all kinds of music for many years (he played at the Grand Ole Opry when he was six or seven); Mr. Yelverton, originally of Binghamton, NY now resides near Murfreesboro, TN teaching at Middle Tennessee State and performing. His classical technique is incredible.

Bobby Keyes/Bobby Keyes Trio* is on Thrillionaire Records. Bobby is someone I didn't see play for almost twenty five years (1976-2001) and hearing the first couple of tunes after that long hiatus I was thinking "Dick Dale meets Wes Montgomery.".

Those are just five guitarists of the hundreds that I've listened to in live venues over the past 40 years. I cannot play to save my ass nor do I really understand the process of doing so, but I can tell when I'm listening to someone who plays, at a consistently high level, across many styles of music.

I'm sure that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of guitarists who are favorites of other commenters. I don't generally rank players except in the sense that they're, to be be technical, FUCKING AWESOME!!

Give any of these five a listen or watch, "It Might Get Loud" with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Regardless your musical tastes I think you will agree that all of these people are fabulous musicians and that Teddy Teabag is not in their league.

OTOH, none of them, afaia, know how to "jack" deer or shoot them over bait or shoot a bear and then leave it, wounded, in the bush instead of tracking it down and killing it.

*  I've seen the Bobby Keyes Trio about 10-12 times and rarely seen the same drummer or bassist more than a few times, although Marty Ballou, a great bassist, has played with him on probably 4-6 of those occasions.


Anyone else that has favorites, feel free to add them.  All of the people I mentioned are easily found by googling. If you can't locate them, let me know and I'll provide linkyloos. Oh, yeah. Zappa! Neil Young, Django Reinhardt...


Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Democommie,
Love Frank Zappa and had the pleasure of seeing him in concert back in the early 1970’s. Great!! My favorite album of his was “Live at the Fillmore,” with songs like Latex Solar Beef, Mud Shark, Do You Like My Car?, Bwana Dik with lyrics like “My dick is a Harley, you kick it start”.

Of course for the artistry of guitar work, I have to go with Jeff Beck. Such talent of great feelings projected through his instrument, but just could not break out with song writing hits. My favorite album “Blow by Blow” and especially accented with the song, “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.” His periodic blasts of creativity but then self imposed lapses of long pauses away from recording.

I came late to the Grateful Dead, maybe early 1980’s, when I first heard the acoustic instrument work at the live Fillmore East album, “For The Faithful,” really made me sit up and take notice of the talents of the members of the group. Jerry Garcia had a very unique guitar style voice with the freestyle licks based on his early Blue Grass Past. For me they really have stayed the test of time.

democommie said...

Engineer of Knowledge:

I always liked "Blow by Blow" and I think that "Beck's Bolero" was the first song that I knew was his. Clapton, Beck and Page all in the band, although not all at the same time.

I just spent a pleasant hour or so watching a bunch of different versions of "Kashmir", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Going Home" by a LOT of different musicians. I highly recommend the "Concert for George" at Royal Albert Hall. Clapton plays along with Mark Knopler and a load of other people, including George Harrison's son, Dhani.

Too much musice, so few ears on my head.

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Democommie,
I use to play Beck's version of Bolero when I played many years ago now….Great choice.

Yes the Yardbirds (which I guess could mean Chickens…I never made that link before) had great guitar talents but as Beck said in an interview, “No one was writing songs.” Eric Clapton had already left the Yard Birds to form Cream when the hit song, “For Your Love” made it big, and of course Led Zeppelin with Jimmy Page made their own history later on.

I have seen the program you speak of and yes, great performances by all.

Your last comment was well stated. As I am a published poet, I will bring to a summation my comment; “The muses of memories and years well invested obtaining them.” Here's to you my friend. :-)

dog gone said...

In a somewhat different vein, I had the truly amazing pleasure of great seats listening to the classical guitarist Andre Segovia,only a few years before his death.

It was an amazing experience, in a superb hall with excellent acoustics, and an appreciative audience in the era before rude interruptions from pocket devices like cell phones etc.

Truly wonderful.

democommie said...

I only ever saw Maestro Segovia on television--it was still wonderful.

Check out William Yelverton, he's a very good classical guitarist.

And, if you're not familiar with this Bill Bailey:

hie thee unto Youtube!

Richard said...

Did antbody say, "Fuck Ted Negent?" 'Cause, fuck Ted Nugent.e

democommie said...

It has come to my attention span that we* did NOT say, "Fuck Ted Negent/Nugent". We regret the omission. FUCK TED NUGENT! There, now I feel better!

* The editorial/publishing "we"

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Democommie and All,
I just took the “Fuck Ted Nugent” aspect as being self evident and would have been redundant…not that being redundant would have been a bad thing in Ted Nugent’s case.

Kevin Wood said...

as a guitar player the Nooge is a terrific bowhunter. He is dull and loud and has no musical taste.

You want loud and fast and tasty, which means you want Hendrix and Page.
You want quiet and fast and tasty, try some Chet Atkins or the album "a Friday Night in San Fransisco" with monster players Paco DeLucia, Al DeMeola and John McLaughlin.

Mark Knopfler is greatly underrated and subtle player.

democommie said...


I'm with you on all of those players. Like I said, there are hundreds/thousands of really great guitar players out there. And then there's the fiddlers, mandolinistas, drummers and cetera.