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Transcript of Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

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BUDDYGUYA Man dnd the Bhes

TEIS 1968 releasemarked Guy'sdebut as a soloartist. He is incharacteristicallyover-the-top

L form, singing and wailing theblues on his Stratwith equalfervor. A frenzied masterpiece.


BROWNThe Original Peacock RecordingsTHESE EARLY FIFTIES sesslonscapflrre the Texas glitarist inhis swinging prime, particulailyon such classics as "Okie DokieStomp" and "Depression Blues."Jazz meetsblues when Gate's onthe gig.



Alligator sessionsare marked byhis signatureintensity, butthis-his first-

burcts with the energy ofa greattalent suppressed for too long.His first album in sevenyears,-Ice' marked the beginningof Collins' re-emergence asa contemporary blues guitarpowerhouse. It was his fineststudio date.



freewheelingjamsession featuresCray's most

to date. It's alsoa career highlight for longtimeblues journeyman Copeland,while Collins is in his usual fineform. Sho1,down is an excellentstarting point for novices of theTexas sound,

GUITARSTIMSufferin' Mind

EDDIE "GI'ITARSlim" Jones wasa major influenceon guitaristsranging fromBuddy cuy

to Jimi Hendrix. His crazed,slashing guitar work was rootedin the Texasjump blues ofT-Bone Walker and catemouthBrown, but itwas unique andutterly original. This disc includesthe blues standard "The Things IUsed to Do."

JoIn\ LEE"S cousinis ofle of the trueunsungtreasuresoftheblues. HisChicago peerswidelyregarded

him as the most well-roundedguitarist onthe blues scene. Thiscollection is a fine introduction.

mt llot sunr UttERE r0 Btolt 0t00tt0 tilil IltE Bttlr$?Im t rru m ill$ l{0-Z Lt$T 0t iltsTltruErc0u$Tt8 ril0 EtEctntc Bt|Jt$ REc0R0lil0$.

ROM STORE SHELVES to online retailers of CDsand MP3s, there is no shortage ofplaces fromwhich to discover classic blues guitarists and theirmusic. That's great, but the wealth of materialavailable can be dauntins for the uninitiated.

Which ofthe 200 or so available John Lee Hooker titlesis best? And which version of Elmore James' .Dust MyBroom ' is the right one to buy?

Well, take a load off. We've compiled this guideto the finest electric and acoustic blues Euitarmusic ever recorded, to help you navigate thE deepand wild river they call the blues. Read it and takeit to heart-for as any blues guitarist will tell you,it pays to be prepared.

JOI{N IET HOOKERThe U ltimdte C ollection

THIS IS ANexcellentcollection thatlives up to itsbilling. lt'sprobably all the

John Lee Hooker you'll everneed, and it mal<es an invaluableguide to the stacks and stacks ofhis available discs.


tunes culled from 1959 to'63demonstrate how far one mancango with an electrifuing tone, aclassic riffand a lot ofhysteria. Itincludes no! one but two inspiredrenditions of "Dust MyBroom,"as well as "The SLf? Is Crying,""Shake Your Moneymaker" and"Done Somebody Wrong."

ATBERT KII{GThe Ultim ate C ollection

I.El[ BLUESplayers havehad as profoundan impact onrock guitaristsas King. This

two-CD collection offers upreams of macho, aggressiveoverbending and makes a fine

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career overview. sRV devoteesshould so check onirrv€ wir€l

B,B. KINGLive ot the RegalTHIS DIsc DoCUMENTS a legendarl1964 perfommnce by a legendaryartist. The King puts his $eat v-oice,sw€€t ton€ and signature vibmtoto work on such staples as "It's MyOwn Faul!" "Every Day I Have theBlues" and "Sweet Little Angel." It'sa treasure trove ofsophisticated, yetdown-horne, blues.

JIMMY RIEDSpedk the Llrics to Me, Mamd Reed

ITEED WAS a greatsongwriter, whil€his longtilnepartner EddieTaylol helpedwrite the book

on Chicago blues g!itar. Thiscol lect ion includes the bluesstandards "Baby What You WantMe to Do," "BigBoss MaD" and"Bright Lights, BigCity," as wellas 22 other stellar examples ofReed's mellow boogie beats.

vicious machil,Ie gun b]ues witl'ra cuild starfire and sang withr mawelous rage. This liveperforrrance, r'ecorded in thclate Seventies, captures Seals ath is ferocious best .

STEVIE MY VAUGI{ANAND DOUBTETROUBTEInStepsrE\.tE RAY'S FINAI- AI-BUM witllDouble Trouble was also hisfi nest, featuring consistentlyscalding g!itar work-the solosin "Crossfir€" and "Tightrope"are hot enough to trigger smokedetectors all across Texas. withIn Step, Valrghan joined thetirree Kings, Albert Collins andBuddy cuy in the pantheon ofmodern blues gleats.

JOE IOUIS WATKERBIU€.SoulTHIS Is PERIIAPS the finest albumby one ofcontemporary b lues'finest g!itar.ists. It includesgrooi'ing R&B ("Ain't Nothin'coing on"), biting acousticslide ("I'll cet to Heaven onMy Own") and crazed, searingoverdrivel slow blues i la Buddycuy ("city ofAngels").

JOHNNY "GUITAR'WATSON3 Hours Pdst Midnipht

EXTRXMELYintense and wild,

major influence onJlml ilenonx. 50rt


licks that inspiredthousandsofwould-beKings, thisreissue features

B.R.'s early work, which makesit v€ry grert, indeed. Amongthe treasurcs are the origiDalversions of"You Upset MeBaby," "Three O'Clock Blues"and "s Long Years."

FREDDIE I(INGHide A\\'d!:'L'he Best ofFreddy King


includes stellarvocaltracks like"Have You Ever

but the lighlightsarc the instrunlentals-includingthe original "Hide Away"-whichhave elough tasty blues licks tosatisly even the nost ravenousdffmongers. Eric Clapton fans arcadviscd tocheck this one out.

B.B. KINGThe Best of B.8. King, vol. one


UNDERXATEDthroughouihiscareer, Robinsoncolors h is jazz-tinged pla)'ingwith all lnallncr

ofdynan1ic subtleties. This is hisbest album, and the title track is abona fide masterpiece.

oTts RusHCobrd Recordings, 1956 1958

THIS AIBUMfeatures classicOtis Rushtuneslike "AllYourLove," which gavecel.tain British

glita sts somethirg to practice,and "Double Trouble," which gave

Cobra label's heavily leverberatedtreatn1ent of Rush's vocalhistrionics and passionate soloingmake these tracks amongthe mosttelrifl,ing in all bluesdom.


FENTON ROEINSONSomebody Loan Me a Dime

(:u/* - ----L* $fM{ .c-t.gfff6.w


extroverted Gatemouth Brow11.

MUDDYWATERSIhe Chess BoirTHISTHREE-CDsET is a box ofbiues gold. waters' associationi{ith Chess lasted for 25 years,and this collection includes thecrean ofa very extensive cropof recordings. They're all here-Muddy's slide classics ('Honey3ee," "Rollin' and Tumblin' '),

his hits ("Hoochie CoochieMan," "I'm Read,v") and his latertriumphs ("You Can't Lose whatv ^ , ' A i n r N a w p r H , r , l ' )

MAGIC SAMWest Side Sou?

THE I-ATE MAGICSam Maghcttfully lived up tohis n icknameon this 1968album, castiDg an

exuberant spell with his soaringvocals and rapid, clean-tonedg!itar lines.

SON SEALSLire and BurningIn his prime, Son Seals played


THE WHITEtornado blewoutofTexas andinto the nationalspotlight withthis album ofjaw-

droppir'Ig, ligh intensity blues. It'smore focused and less rock-orientedthm anlthing that followed.

l . IHowuN'wot FModnitl in the Mootllight/Howlin'WolfTHTS T1ryO-AI-BUMS-IN.ONE-CD

col lect ion offers an excel lenrsampling of Hubert Sumlin'smasterftrl guitar u,ork. lt'smaximum grunge by theguitarist who influenced ageneration of rocker s- 8[


Chicago stylewith impressivelyprecociousalrthoity on this

E album, whichturned countless rock fans on tothe blues.It's Clapton's most plrdstalbun ard thc work that inspiredso many to declare him "god."



sophist icatedplayirg had adecisive impact

on B.B. King, Buddy Guy andtheir bluesy ilk, *-hile it alsomade its mark on Chuck Berryand rhe world of rock guitarisrs.This is his peak stuft

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INE YEARSAFTERHIS DEATH, Stevie RayVaughan'sinfluence only continues to grow It can be heard inbarrooms and arenas around the globe, in the playingofeveryone from prot6g6s like Kenr.ry Wayne Shepherd tomentors like Buddy Guy to younger rockers like MikeMcCready and Kirk Hammett. It can be seen in the

But pcrhaps rhe most tcllingstrtement abouts t e \ i e \ , ' , , r r i r L r e d r e l e . a n , r ' . r h r r h i : m u s i cst i l l speaks l 'o lumes to mi l l ions of l is teners.Somevoices are stilled bydearh, buthis has onlygr orvn louder.

"Urrfortunrtel,v, ]'ou [ever flrlly graspsomeo ne's gr-eatress or i m portancc u ntil thev'regon€," sa,vs B.B. King.'And I think thet's truc \,! iihStevic. As thevears go by and he's not here, itlustbecomes rnor-c and morc clear how specirl he *,as,and how nluch he's missed:'

\ l is .eJ.u r r ru. h r \ r r hungr l ia ls, rgnrh . rwairrcws of"lost" SRV tracks discovered in thc vaults,crossirgtheir fi ngers with thc hope rhata motherlode of unreleased material sits u,aiting to beunearthed and aired.

Atlcast some ofthese praler.s rvere ansrvcredon March 23, 1999, $'hen Sory legrcy releasedStevie's fburstudio albums with Double Trouble(Texas flood, Couldn't Stand the Weather, Soulto Soul fl1d In Step), cach of thenupdatcdwlthfour bonus tr-acks recorded in the sarre rime 6 aneastheor ig inal-

To understand whxt n1ade Stevic tick, to gett h r u - r , ' - e r o r r o f t l r r r r r r h e l - ' n d r h e n r u s i r , u eturned to his closestconfidantes, the people r4roknewhi l11best and miss hi l1 l thenost . c iven theopportunitr to tell St€vie's tale, they opeled up,levealingthings they'd ncvcr-rcvealed beforc. Theresultis a portrairolan arlistcomplerely dedicatedto his craft, and ofa man who had *'resrled withhis demons and cmerged \,ictofious, with a newleasc on life and a rcdedicated passion for hislife's work. Stevie Ra)' *.as undoubtedl,v makingI h e ' r e 5 r I n u . i , , , l l - ' . l i r e * h r r r l r c d i p d r r a g e35. This is his stoq., astoldbyhis best fricnds mdbiggest heroes-ar, d the ol1e soul best qu alified todoso:himscl i

You kno\,r, the music. Now mcctthe man.

In rttt BrumnnSTEvrE ray vauc8at I got lnv first €iuiter whcn Ilvas seven. lt was one o f fiose Roy Rogers guitars;i ihadpicturesofcowbovs and cows on i t ,somerope.I had ablanket thathad thesame shi ton i t ,too. Whcn I \\-as realvoulg, [rvesrernsu,ingban{the Texas Plal'bors hungout atoufhouse rllthctime. M)'parcrts played "+u " [dominoes], al1dthet'tl come over end liet drunk. Those guys hungaround a lot, they'd do some playing, and we'clhear their stuff N{ainl!,, we'd hear.them talkir,gi b ' u r ' t . T h e r r u r r c r l o r o l c l r n , a r ' r , r . h r r g i n garound. Evely once in a *.hile, nry dad wouldyel I fajtcts fi ea r,-v rural ?e.rds dccentl, "He),, J im,Stcve, come out hcre and shou' thcm rvhat youcan do!"Andrvervcrelirtle midgets,with guirarshangin' on us that \\,erc this bigl

,ll/lNllE VAUGHAI{ I went strright for the blues,because that's what sou nd ed best to me;I can'ttell,vou spoke to me more than colrntry,$ ih ich was the othef th ing I heard al l the t rmc.A lot of lry relrtives were country musicians,and I nevef even h ied to play country. All mvlelatives looked at mc like, What in thc r-orldare you doing? but Ijust saicl, "I like riis." And Inever thought about itagair.sRv When \r,e stated ofl I kne{, how JimmyReed sounded, but I couldn't plat' it right. AndJimmiewould set mc stra ight . A lotof thehrne,I just watched hinl pla,v. Jimrnie turned lne onto a lot of differenr stuff. I r-ernember set,eraldifferent things: him bringing honre records byHcrdr i : \ . Budd\ ' du\ . M udd y u l ter : . ts ts . K ingThe firstrecord I everboLrghtwas "\ /han1," byLonnie Mack, fiom t963, [rrhicfi] \r! as I greatrccord. I played it so rnany times, nry dad gorl rad andbroke i t lWhcn I d idn' r th ink i t coutdbe arv louder, I $'ent and bo r-r-orved somebouy sShufe Vocal M$ter PA., putnlics in ffont ofthestereo speakers, and turned the PA. upl It u,asloud in mv roon.,lrtMrE vAUGHAI{ When wc werc Ieal lit!le, n1ydadhad ajob which requi led him to t ravelaroundthe South, and we nl l t ra i led around.I t$ 'as realtough goingto schools for two weeks at atime,alwrys uprooting. In a way, it wrs perfect trainrngforthe lilc we eventu alll. liv€d rs musicians, onthe road all the time. Then rvc settled back inDal las, when I $ as in f i$t grade, in Oak Cl i f f ,which u,as a real rough place. Pretty muchever_vonc1,r,e g1 ew up with is cither dead of in jail.And I think \'|,c latched onto the guitar as a lr,ayout pretty early on. The $itar took Stevic ar.oundthe world. It introduced lim to his heroes. lt r!ashis i r ls t rumcnt of l iberat ior , h is magic sword.Tr meanr e\ , _yr h ing: I c in l r \ . r f r t \om Sre\ iewi thout a gui tar . I t r l lowed hi l ] l to erpresshirnself iike never bcfore, to have ar identit\'.When Stevie played, his guitar literally talked.I fvou l is tcn, you can heer i t . You can hear h imspeaking through his guitar. I showcd him theu.ayinitially, but he found his voice himself5iv Jirnmie showed nlc a lot ofstuff, but thereu'as also at ime.! ( 'hen hewarDed,, , I fyou ask mcto shou'vou an] ' th ing again, l ' l l k ick,vour ass."$rel l , I d id and hc did.DoYLI BIA||HAII JiNnie ard I \\.ere ir a bandcalled thc Chessmen together when \i e wcreteenagers in Dallns. He !r,as l5 and I u,as 1Z so Icould drive and he couldn't, and I rvould go byr n L l p i , \ r r i r n u p . O n e r i n r r t h i . $ l s . o n r e r i r n , . r1966-he \ r 'asn' t rcadyso he naved ne in. I was. i t r i n p i n r h e i \ ' r g f o o - n . w a i r i n g . J n d J i n r n i ewalked ifom the back bedroom to thc kitchenand I heard this $ritar playing going ot frorn

theother d i rect ioD.I walked don'nthehal l and abedroom doorrvas alittle ajar I looked andther.clvas this little skinny 12 )'ear-old kid sitting orthe bed, playing J€ ff Beck's 'Jeff's Boogie." Assoon as he sa\\. n1e, he stopped pla)'ingerd I saici,"Don't stop." He gave n1e this shr little sn leard: r . J . H i . I m S r e r ' e . a n d | . a r L l . " H ' . I n . D o ) l < .Keep ph!'ing. You're verygood." Thirlv secondslr ter , J immie ran up andsaid, "Let 'sgo."rofMY sHAI{t{ot ln 1969, I was playirS wrflrJ o r r v U i r . t e r . J i d \ u u . 1 . r o c k I d e \ e r \ r h i n g .wher \,! c broke up,I flewback to Dallas nnd oneda)' dropped by this club called the trog, u'hereI had met Johnny. I walked in and heard guitar player. A burch of people\I,eretalkingiome and I justigr1oredthcm tauseI w a \ l o o l i r r l j r , , - c u h o u r . n r a k i r r g r ' r i . h i gsound. I looked up aDd saw th is scfawny l i t t iel,l or ls-year-old kid just $ ailing a$'ay. It wesStevic. He1,! as realawk\relcl alrdsh_v and lookinguD r t thebi !Frry\ xrounJ hi r , r . f r l l l ) i l l l imiddreJ.In f|ct, he said once in an inten iewthatlwas theollly one rvho rvouitl talk to him, and I told himthc truth. I said, "You'rc already better than alllhesegu] s-" He gave me abigsnil€ andu,e madefriencls rightthen and there.Dl iY ritlrial| Jimmie and Stevic were bothbct ter than nrostpcopl€ evefget the f i rs t t ime Iheard thcm plav-$'hen thcyrvere t6 or i7B R A M H A L T T h , f c u . r ' r e a l l l u n l ) n n e p l a c e i nDallas, the Cellar, whcr-eyou could plat' t4LrdclvWaters on 10. So in about 1970, Jimmie al,ld Iand a bunch ofother guys decided to move toAustin, where thcre were more places to playal1d it 1,! as cheaper to liv€- It was like a lrttleSan Francisco;you could come down her.e andexpress yourself, and people leftvou alone to do

cl$T 0F cl|tntcttn$$wlt naY Ytucl t{8om orlobor 3, 1954 0allas,Iexas, Died Aognst 2Z lgg0,fast Troy, Wisconsin. Allquolos f,ilhin lrken lronouitar Worrdinleryiews,

Jtf rEvtucflfllSloYh nay's older broth€r andDdmaryguihrinlloonc6DoYla tmfiflrltSonpriling painor andlonSlino tfioid and bandmate

T0 [YSN tX0tooutlo Troubl€ bass player

IIEIIIIYff,TENAilGuitafi st, followoallasmtiveandbandnaloofbolhSloYioandJin|niB

Dt. J0llllletvodoanshlmspianktand $ilarist, and SRV ffiond

B.8.t0xGKiIIg ohhe bluos. aodgodlathor h all bluesguila sls

MYflfltXtG0wn€r ot Hoafl ol l6xasnusic shoni sold StsYio his'l{unbor 0i€'Strat

lGtmsrnEfltllosllr bluos singeri taughlSlorlo'Texas llood"

weGunItusrin guitrd.t who DLy8dbass i[ and co-faont€d lhoTdple Threat Rovuo wilhSt€vh and sligor lou AmEanon

clrRtsltw0raooublo Trorbl€ drunmerB0I EI TtSlidegoilar diva and closolriondofSnVERIGCLAPIOIIBdri6i bluos gritar groatfricnd and adtdrur ol SRV!IGI(IYBEITSoultarlst/liontnan lor 0reatSoolhom, and fornfi AlliranBmtherc Bend $itafistIEESE WYI IS0oubloTrooble loyboardisr

Jr[ G ttsh Sfop prcducor

IUOOYGUYChlc4o blms grirar legondiftl€rd ot and horo to, SRV

H rE! popularity ofvintage gear and straight-forward, ear-ringingtone, both of which were considered passe before Stevie oroved thatthere rvas plent-v oflife left in Stratocisters and tube arnpi.

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vour th iDg. $Jc star tcd hrv inga l i f t lc scene.: rnd!bout u year l r ter , s tcv ie mor.ed thclc wi th h isband, Blnckbird.

I \r'as siill ph,\rnrg\r.ith Jimmie, doinli mostlvstraisht blLrcs, trut Stcvic and I both \rrnred tob|rnch out a little mole. \{re $,crc listeniDc rc

big\ , r 'or ld. Unfor tunrte ly, howe!er, music took eback scat n) dr inking rnd dlugging especi : r l l ,vl o r r n c . . " , J r l r u . 1 i . ' r , . 1 * ' r r , c , ' , . 1 r r r , i . .it wrs prerty nruch i:r n1ess, and I g.Lless thelab€l hated i r . so rve ended up back in Ausnn.rnd Ltccidcd io kcep the band togedrer, as the


]|tln0'PRl[t ilil J0Y' 011 THE Rl0l0,rsnr$TiI|E Ril It|J0l|rlr s|lr0Lrflilr0r0Ly BR0|J0l|r 0|JrilR' ilr0

BtUt${RlElllE0 ilU$|C BlCl( I0l]|t iltfilftTPll0t,' -0rcrry 8rilspeoplc likc Nlarvil1 cayc an.l Sl! Srone xnd \r,antedr " i l c o r l u r ; L . . u r r " f r l r . s | , I f t | | | r ' ' . | | | n . | . i .so Ste! ie aDd I found euch otheIget t ingtogethcr-nl ( ) lc of te n. ln latc '72, hecnl led nreup andtolc l nrethrthe h|d goftcr a phonc call from l,lafc Bcnno.r f io h.rd r c lealu, i th A&M and abigfoLrr l i r red up,and nceded to pur togerher-a Teres blues lockbelrd to do it. \\'c $cntoutto L.A. to record, anLl ir!r,.rs,r nes, kick lorus justtobc outof :ttxas. Othcrthrn l i t t le t f ips to Oklahonla or l -ouis iaDa, l don' tth ink anv of us h:rd even lef t the st i te.

, Wc were irlL.A. for two \r'ccks, riding aroundI in I inos end I i r ing Likc rock stars. we fccordcd

- s€vensongs including 'Dir t ) , l ,ool , " whrch s as: thc first soDg Stclic xnLl I u,rote logether and

: thfee of then . t le . rctuai ly good, and should: be herrd. Ther u,e went on i r short rour l r r rn

! U" ' " t r l " Pie ind the J. cei ls Tland. \ Ie praveo

: s l rvcn (r rc ightgigs iD phces l ike Detroi t , ChicagoP ard Ne$ Yofk, ind it lvas our filsttirlc olrr rn rne

Nishtcr ! r \ \ ' lers. That Iasted r whiLe, rnd rvheni t fc l l apart , Stevie lvent brc l i to Cr l i fornix Ior : r$4rile, thcn canc back andjonrcd Paul Ral andlhe Cobras, wi th l )enr i ] l reenan.FntEf iAr I ! r ,as the Cobres'sole gui tNr p l rverbcforc Stcvic jo incd, so i t rvas a l in le tough tohavc hh jonr. But i t \ ras i lso rcalh crc i t ingtophy r';11, 1',t,',,.DR. ioH Stevie had lh is rer l bovish char 'n. Hekcpt th is ver! apper l img chi lc lhood innocenceabouthirrr cl.cnr-hcn hc l asn't innocent at ail.B.B. |(l c fle femin.led mc oflnv sons when thevwe rc rbout seven or e igbt yeals o ld. Hejust haclso mary qucst ions, and nould just fo l lon mearound, hrppv and smi l ing and eagrr to p lcasc.FtEtMAN Ste! ie r lmost d idn' t te lk ebout. ' r \ . l r i r l i . \ . e f , S I i r : r r . l l " I | , i . H e s r . j l | . lcolnplctclvobscsscd rvith it, and so\\'as i. Those*,ere just fun, exciting dals bccausc r-c v'crcjust d iscover ing stufT !nd q 'ere exci ted j rbout

evcrything, and wc would just si t alound forhours tr lking about music.laY HE illG I ve oir! D€d r g1litaf store siDce 1960and har.c sccn a lot of grcat nusic ians. bui tdon't belicve l've evel corte ircr'oss anyone halfas obsessed iv i th the gui tar ! rs stevie \ r , is . I Ieused to hang out in m,v store, just noodl ing onguit:rrs all thc timc.I would sa,v thathc \r'xs oncofnl!bcst custolncrs, cxccpt he didn't havc anynolev he rvrs br'oke all tlre tine so he never'pr ic l foIanl , th ingir those da)s. I Ie used to conrebyon his rv:r1' to agigand:rsk fofafxck ofstrings.l'd toss him onc and hc'd sa)', "Hc), if t lnake anvnonel ' tonight , I ' l l p ly ) ou."And he lvould. I lentI i r r . r r ' t r - . r l , h , , i n p . H . J r " l e r r o r r ' ^ . rt cck ol tnrr , thcn bl ingthcm back.

(he dav ir'7.1, hc trroushtback a nicc Strat hehrd becnborxr$nr. and *'as looknrgthlough lllthe instrunents wherr hecame tuhis o l 'beNteI I IepicLed irup and must ha\.e played around l ith ittur half an hour. just makingcholds, tLrrningitover',lookirrg.rtit,s eighingit,bef0r'ehe.rsked if hecoultl

f lug i t in . I said, 'Sure, but i i sure is ugl) ' . " so heplLrggcd in ard pla_vcd ft)r xn houfor so ihcn t(tdrrlc he wrntcd it, and askcd ilhe could su'ap it firrthe one he hrd just returned. I s . l id , "wt l l , )o l11er ' ' tp ' rg rnur ' 'e l 'n f i T l r l ' hr- g^r rn be c\ee- ie ' rstmt I'\'c cvcr ifadcd for.It's rxggcdl-asscd xndbeatto dedth. \'\'hdr do vou lv.rnt it fbr?'He said,"It jLlstfeels good, Ra). Itleels real goocl." I fi gufeclhc dbr i rg i tbacL in adn) of tu() , but ho ncvcr dnl .Ihatbecame lis 'Number Orc 'Strat.

TffiIRITTilRtIIRIIUIFRrEriA Stcvic$'rs alfcxd)'g"rc:rl\l.hcnhc joinedthc Cobr is. l r fact . our dnrnnler just sent me a

ore. \{re $,crc listeriDg to

Page 10: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

tape ofsome sides we cut, and his lead playingsounds fantastic and immediately identifiableas Stevie. He maybe wasn't as strong a rhlthmplayer as he would become, and didn'tunderstrndchord changes thatwellyec, but his lead playingwas ther€. When he decided to leave and t'ronrhis own band, which became Triple ThreatRewe, itwasn'tsurp si[g. He was ready, ancl ltwas obvious to all ofus that he had some soIIofdestiny.At{cllA STtEHll I was doing "Texas Flood" foryears. And when he decided to start a group, tobecome a frontman, he knew that he really shouldbe singing. And he came to me, said that he always

and I was so impressed by how much he hadalready improved, that I wanted to see wherehe could take it. So I joined what became theI nple I nrearKevlewor.roB My fiiend Doc Pomus [composer o/suchR&B classics as "This Magic Moment" ana" Sayethe Last Dance for Mel kept telling me aboutthis Texas guitar player I had to come to see atthe Lone Star Cafe in Manhattan. Stevie wasstill playingwith Lou Ann [Bd,"ton] and he wasa hell ofa good guitar player, but \.vasn't reallyspecial yet. He was just playing in a Houstonstyle i la Pat Hare, Wayne Bennett and AlbertCollins. A year or so later, I saw him again and

whothe hellhewas.Aboutayearlater, LouAnnleft and we becamejust atrio with me and JackieNewhouse playingbehind Stevie.IHAI Oi ln December t980, I was l iving inHouston and went to see Double Trouble whentheywere in town;itwas like a revelation. I said,"That's where I belong, right there:' He calledme up tojam, and soon after asked me ifl wantedtojoin. His guitar playinghad come a long way,and he had crossedthe gap from straight biues,incorporatingsome rock and roll,some Hendrix.Hewas alittlescaredtostep outof theblues, andI reallyencouraged him. He got some shit fromthe blues purists for thar. but who cares? Being

liked "Texas Flood," and asked if I could teachhim the words, which I did. He needed someencouragement to sing; he was still a little scared.But he took the song and made it so associatedwith him that I quit doing it, because, after awhile, everyone thought I was imitatinghim.wC ClAt( I was workingat McMorris Ford as amechanic, and Stevie keptcomingby and tellingme thathe'ddecided to putaband togetherandtharhe needed meroplaybass. I wasn\lookingfor a gig, because I was getting a steady paychechand relaxing for a change, bur he lepl pesleringme.lhadseen himaround alot, and Iknewhowunique he was-how clean a tone he had, hownasty and lowdo#n he could be, how he couldplay licks exactly like Chuck Berry, Albert Kingand B.B. King. I knew he was for real, that hewas a seeker, a warrior. And that's why I notonly agteed tojoin his band, but to playbass forhim, eventhough I had givenup the instrumentto focus on guitar. I really had no interest inplaying bass agl in. bur Sre\ ie had such a f ire,

noticed how much this kid had blossomed. Hehad gotten thiswholeAlbertKingbendingthingdown stone cold and his playinghadjust takenoff.I thought anyone who improved so much sofast had something going on.lAyIoI I started playingwith Stevie right afterwC Clarkleft theband in'78. Theband was nolonger a "triple threat," so Stevie changed thename to Double Trouble, after the Otis Rushsong. The next fall we got boohed to play at theSan Francisco Blues Festival. I helped book allthese gigs around that, and none ofthem paidmorethan2O0 bucks. We had onlyenough moneyto buy gas for the van and loaves ofbread andbologna. We couldn't afford io eat a square menl,butitwas alotof fu n.Weplayedthe Festival, andwe did a live radio broadcast on KFAG, in PaloAlto,where we opened up for Robert Cray, whowasstartingto have abignameonthecircuitoutthere. We became good fiiendswithhim, andwestarted to make a name for ourselves, get a litde

apurist is like beinga religious fundamentalist.It'sreallylimiting,and ifyou can'tseebeyond thelittle circle you draw around yoursell how areyou gonna move out of it? And aflyhow, he neverever abandoned rhe blues: he just advanced ir,took itto another level.DR.roHi Stevie started reallyblowingme awayone night when we was hangingar his pad. Heputon some trippy, difficultHendrix album andstarted playing along with it, which impressedme. Then he started playingoff i! gettingdown,improvising, and I thought, Man, this kid isjammingwith Jimi Hendrix. That'swhen I sawsomelhing real unique in whrt he was goingfor, and realized that this g]ly was somethingaltogether different.8ot{[lr nArrr Just when you thought therewasn't any other way to make this stuffyourown, he came along and blew that theory tobits. Soulis an overusedword, butthe f ire andpassion withwhich he invested everythingherouched $ a5jusr astounding. as was rhe way in


-buzz,becauseanyoDewhosawSteviewondered :

Page 11: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

which he synthesized his inf l uencesrnd tLirncd ihcm irilo somcthing sof iercel t pc lsonal . I r las emazedfrom the f i r 's t t ime I sa$,him, butI hrd aLeael ,v heard al l about h imfrorrr guvs l ike Albef t Col l ins a ldtsudd) cu), lvho kept running intohim and beingblorvn au, . rv.!AyTol Slevie neveffailed to impress,and that finally starred to pav off ina tangiblc naf in latc ' l l l . F i rst , ournar lager s0mehos'got r v ideo of ashow to N,Iick Jaglier, and the nextthing u'c kncu, \r'c u,erc playil]g apriYate partv fbr the Rolling Storesin Ne\,' \bfk. That was a gas. ThenLou Ann Barton had a solo recordcoming out on a nrajor label and u'ep1a-ved atthe biglelease party at ih€Cont incntal c lub. IVetei?nA&R mandndproducerl Je rri, n?x ler, u ho hadsigned her, u-as there, and he reall,vl iked us and cal lcd up his f r icnd,Clgude Nobs, at the Montreux JazzlestivaI and got us booked there. weu'ere supposedly the f i fs ! unsignedband to ever p la i i r , and lots ofgoodthings happcncd as arcsul t .

Drv id BoM ie was lnthe rudienceand he u'as blo{,n an'ay by Ste\'ie,cal led him the best urban bluesplaver he'd cvcrhcard. Hccamebackto the hotel and \r'e all hung out inthe bar wi th h im for an hour. Hetold stevie that he wrs going to bedoingahlucsl r 'ccold and rskcd hinri f het l l ike to be on i t . Stcvie said,' 'sure, g i !e lne N c!11." \ , {ealrwhi le,rhc noxr n igbt wc bookecl ourselvesinto that same bar. wc played al ln ight , rnd Jrcks0n tsrou,ne rnd hisu,hole brnd came rrd sat in v ' i th us. \ \ :e j !nrmedunt i l seven.r . r r . , ancl then Jackson said he had Ip re-p rodLrct ion stu d io in L.A-, Do$nTo\r ,n,andthatrnt t imc \ r 'c { .antcd to comc rccold somctfacks f fee ofcherge, \ ,e \ \ ,ere welcolne,

I I I [T TLUUULAYro[ I don' t th ink Jackson expccteLl us totrke him up on his of fer , but stevie c:r l led hrnrnr thc {a11, and hc agccd to givc us 72 hours offree tirne ovcl I'hanksgiYiig \\.eekend '82. wewert up there, just holr ing thet mrybe we rver 'cnr . rk ing n demo thet \vru lc l actual l i be l is tenecito b! r rcal fecofd conlpan! ll tumcd oLrt ih:rt,withoutkno\\.ingit, r'er.erc recordingouf deburrlbuln, Tc-llds Fldod- \ Je just rolled in. The guyss , , \ r s t l . e r u r r r i l . l l r , ' r , r , r . d l r r r r r ' r

rvas ThanksgiYirrg rr'eckcnd, and n'e werc likc,''Irle].. uh, lou gu\'s got anv tepe?' Thev Eiave ussome user l s tuf f ;ue acrur l lv rccolc lcd ovcrsonreofJackson's dcmos fol td$',ycrs tu lolc.SHAN oN Do\rr T{r\r'n \r'as rcally jLrst a trig\\'!rehouse with concrete lloors and some rugsr L | 1 , r r r d , s " . \ , r e l n r l l , l . l , r r l " , o n r c - . . e r r r r , ra circie ltxrking ar a11d listcningto cach othcr aDdplaved like N live band. w'e di.ln't reaily do .rn) thil1gthe first de]', then u,e cr.rt two sonlls the seconddayand cight tho thifd. Thc lasttLurc $.c cuiwas''l'cxas Fl(xxl," rightbcf(rrc our-tirnc r-en out.LAYToil Wc stiycd in L.,A.. and plaved a fervJ c r . . . ' r r J o n , r r ; \ ' ' r r h c c i r r l r e r r , r ' r r g

the phonc f rng i r oLn rpal tnent , and th is 4r1wirh an Engl ish rccent rsked fof stcv ic. I said hcu,as slecpnrg:rnd askcd \rho it 'lr's D.tvidtso\\'ic," hc said, "and I'd likc to spe.rk to hirrl ifpossib le." I got Slevie up rnd Bou, ie asked himi fhe u,rDte! l to conre to Ncw York and cut sorretracks fo lh is ncw lccord.sHAf,t{Otr Ste\.ie \\'ent and did it and enjoyedi t , ard saiL l no$' ie wrs a real gent lenr: ru. Thefeelings\\,ere obviouslymutu:rlbccauschc askcd: . , a i r , , j , , , l i . h . . , , l f , , : r s u l , i t u u r . s L c , i r

it \,r'nsn't $4rerc hc hexded end Stevie courorot do lvhl t he di ! ln ' t lo ! ,e.!AYIotl I u'eso't surprised \r'hen Slevio quit,but Isure n cs hrpp1,. T couJiln'rbclicvc thatjust\\,hers . r r r r , , l t , , r . r r , . r l l r l r . r r u n r e r r t . r . n , s r e ! e\r'as going to be gooe for lrt lecst r yexr, nravbcn o . , \ \ . h i . l ' \ ' o r l e , l . o I t d r n g e t r . , t r r r r p i r . .

whef€ i t sccnrcd l ikc somcthing was going t . )happcn, thar I just l igrred that , someho$' . thes,hole th ingivould nor conrc to pass. Thcn, srn cenough, t e iound out that .kt rn Hamrrrondrcal l )

'l|t $EE]r|[0 T0 Bt ill 0Pill c}|lllll[L. rur trusrrJUSI PO|JRED I}IROlJOl| t|I[I. IIIO II IIEIEfi DRIEO UP.' -tRIc CTIPTOI

fin:rlll agrecd becauso hc {.:rs gctting a lot ofprcssulc f rom aLrtofpcoplc. Stcvie !vas soingk,J , i t l l ' r " r ' < . r r . l c r h c n ' o r e ' - r J t . I r . t ^ k ' e tthe bancl together. Then he rsked Bowic i f wccould opcnsolnc datcs, rnd that \aas supposedt ' , h r f p q r r . r h c n t < | ' l , r o r g \ \ n J I \ e r 5 F \ "g,es ro ld thet be coulc ln ' t ment ion his orvu bandor music in i r terv ic\ r 's , aDd that $ as i t . Hc qui tthe nightLrcforeihc t ( )Lrr Nes supposed to star t .H u , r . r . " r ' J l J . . \ , ,

" . r . c i t u : . r ' r s r ' r \ elo! 'ed phying. I Ie l iked D:rv id rnd his music, hur

l ikcd our tapc. and \ \ ,as pushing to get us s ignedbi Columhi. r . Al l of r suclden. n 'c hat l a dcalwith Epic rnd thc)'\\'cfc goingto release :lc:rds-Flood.And we itc't nlore rttentjon beceuse peopleu rntecl to knou'rvho rhis u n l{ no\rr gui'rl ho toldDavid Bowic tot ike a hikc u as. Al ld h is p la l hgon rea srdn.€got Lreolr le s i r t tentron, too,E R l c a ! A F T O 5 r ( \ . " - : " r r r o f l r ' . e o r ' f o u _ r I r . r

v,hoI heard iDdhxdtokno\r'\l'lnr itwxs.rightthcn.I u',N drivingind "Lcfs Danc{r" camconthc radio.I srqrycd n!crrand s.rir], 't have to krou \\ ho this

Page 12: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

glitar player is today. Not tomorrow, but today:'584[ O ferds Flood came out and we startedtour ing behinJ r . Wp could . lou l t le . i rh ingschanging, the crowds slowly getting biggcr. andbigger Thenwe got rid ofthe milktuckwe had beerdriving around in and got a bus. lt was a really shittybus, but we wer-e in heaven dding around in it.laYTot{ We roured rhe u hole counrn. p l ry ingevery 11ight, sellingout 5O0-seatclubs, with 20Opeople stardingoutside tryingto get in. And allofa sudden, "Pride and Joy" was bcingplayedon MTY and it wasjust unreal.DI(KEY tErls When I heard "Pride and Joy" onthe radio,I said "Hallelujah!" Stevic Ray Vaughansingle-handedlybrought guitar- and blues-orientedmusicbacktothe marketplace. He was justso goodand strongthat he would notbe denied.

ClullnI $Trr0 rttE [rrrilEn / Sottt to SottrlAYtO Wc went to Ne\l' York to record oursecond album and itwas a kick,bccausewewerestayingat the Mayflower Hoteland recordinfiatthe Power Stalion, produced byJohn Hanmond,who had discovered everyone fronr CharlicChristian to Bruc€ springsteer and Bob Dylan.And we had a real budget to work with for thefirst tim€. We were all doing our fair share ofdrugs andpafiying, but it wasn't huring us yet.we were prettygood at rll ofit aboutthat time.lf,v We ran into Clapton on a tour ofAustralia.He was leaving the hotel and I wenroutto talktohim. hangor c- rnd al l . He u a '

"ober, ofcour"e,and reallycalnrvhile Isatthere downinfi two orthree shots ofCrown Royal. And he just sort of

looked at me wiseJy and said, "Well, sometimesyou have to go through that, don'tcha?" IfI hadbeell readytostop, he would havegone ontothcnext part blrt he understood thatl wasn't.

Another time we were doing a show withAlbert King, and hewalked backstage and said,"we gonna have a little heirrt ro heart. I be€Dwatchingyou wrestle with the bottle ihree, fourtimes already.I tell youwhat, man: llike to drinka little bit when I'm home. Bur the gig ain't notimetogethigh." He was tryingto tellmetotakccareofbusiness, give myself abreak,but I did myusual deal oftryingto acr like I haditall together:- H e ) . r i n r n u r h i n w r o n g , m a n , l r n l e a J i n g I h elife," and all thatbullshit.SXAI O By the time we got to recording Soullo Sodl in'85, itwasgettingprettybad. we werepaying for the studio time and spendinghoursupon hours playing ping pong waiting for ourcocaine to arrive before we'd pla],. I think SoultoSo&l is a good record but you call kind ofrellthatwe're a little out ofsorts.R€I5E rvYxA[t When they were recording SouIfo Soul, Stevie called and said they wanted meto come add some keyboards. They wanted melo play acour| ' i r 'p iarn on _Look ar Lrrr lc s i . rer ,but itdidn'treally workbccause they had sucha strange setup. The studio was set up like alive performance, with an entire P.A. and allthe amps and mics running through it. lt rvasscreamingloLrd andyou could nothear a piano, soI suggested thatwetryaHammondorgan,whereI could isolate the cabinet. we played "ChangeIt" and the instrun1ertals, and itwentgreat. wee n d c d r r p r e c n r d i n g u n r i l { r e n i r I h e m o r n i n g

and r hey a.ked me ro come back th( ne\r n ighr.The guys told me they were glad I cane ovctbecruse rhey had been ha\ inSr hrrd ' ime getr ingthe projectofftheground. TherStevie asked mei f I wanted to jo in the band.l,AYTof, We were in abit ofa drugand alcohol fenzyby then, and when you go into the studio you have toconfront whatyou really sound like.You can't justwalk offthe stage and have it over and donewithjyou're under a microscope. SoulfoSoulcame outwell, but it was very difficult to make, and I thinkthat had a lot to do with askingReese tojoin. lt waslike, "We need some help here," somebody to helpcarry evel.thing. we had actuall]' addcd another

€iuitarist, Derek O'B en, who's just wonderful,for a few shows, but our manager felt that tookthe spotlight away from Stevie. AId n lot ofpeoplewere urging us to keep the trio thing, but we reallyneeded a new pcrspectire. We had beer on anendless three-yeartour purctuatedby dme in thestudio, and we u€re gettingburllt-

ButStevicwas continuingto stretch out, tryingdifferenttonesandweirdstuflweusedtocalllim"Modern Man" because hc loved to fool aroundwith clectronics, take things aparl and put thembar:ktogethetandhelovedtojusttrycrazystufl oLike on 'Ain't Gol1e 'n' Give Up On Love," Stevic atookasix-stringbassandputpapcrmatchesunder 5rhe br idge sadJle rn r ruf f le rhesoun, l rnd rh:r 's .r a \ r t y o u h e a r o n r h e l i n ) e s r r u m o n t h e d o w n b e r r . ,wewouldgetcrazyideasafter-u'ehadbeerruptoo !longand ourminds were racing. Suddenly, you go, ?"I wonderwhatl would get if I putahalf cut Coke

"-c r n u n d e r m ' b r r s d r u r r p e d a l . A n d " o m c r i n r c . Ithose thi ngs would actually r.r'ork. i

Page 13: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

wYNANs LlLrs iness \ . isr . I \ . rs jLrst shocl .or l br\ h,r $ rs going on \ r i rh thcm ofnotgo;r l l ron.' l 'hcv l crc so

"ucccs"f i r l ls a l . rnci . I ussLrrrret l

thc i r busincss I . r " in o l t ler . l lur rhe\ L l ic ln t$ rn knor l r r r r rnLrch rnono\ thcl hrd. And thcdlugging \ \ ' ls gct t ing so b.rd thr t I r ' . rs rc l l lvscr lcd fo l thc gLr l s hc.r l th. sLc\ ic $ r rs tLrst sowoln drrwn, hc obvioLrs l r nccr l : t l r lesL, brr t i t shurr i to st r4. s or l i , rg r hcrr r ou l inc l out \ 'ou ' r 'ci r l h iSdebL. so r \ e st , r \cd oLrt thcfc rnd i lot \ ! { ) rscrnd l 'o lsc l rd prrn rb l l rex(hed sofr o l r l , r$ 'point r t v)nrc of thc \hrrvs u 'c u ot o t c 'cor t ing

tRrEmAN I \ \ : rs r t thr g igs thc! f r r i ) f ( lcd | t fhcALrst in Otcr . r HoLrse f . /u/ r l t& /8. 1 i ) . ' l6 l . I i r rc | r ' tsecD rherrr i , r l r \ l r i le , rnd I rer l l r r r rs d isrLubcdb \ ' s h N r I s r $ . I r h o u g h t . l h i s i s : r n r u s i c r l m c s s ,bec.rLrse thev * oLr ld go into thesc ch.rot ic ju ls

$ i th Do contro l . I d idn t kno$ \ '1)x l e\r (11\ $ rsgoing on. L.Lr t I \ . rs corcel |e!1.

SHANNoN I rcnrcml)rr s i r t ins brc l . :srrgc at theOfcr . r Housr lD( i sr \ i r i - t to r )Lrr r l rnxgcr. r \ lexI l (x l i r - t t . sre\ jcr l ld I r fc 'herdcd l i , r r hr ick u r l l . 'l sr \ i r cr inr i rg, l )ut n! i thcr ofus coLr ld stop udwc t f icd. stcv i r krcr hc N,rs in t r1)ubic. too.bctuuse Nc q e|c rcr l l r gctL i r rg I i l lc t ic .sRv I hrd been tn ' in l t to pLr l l nr \ 's l l l Lrp bv thcboorstr ' . rps. bur rhcl ucr-c brrrkcn. I voLr ldr i rkc Lrp rr t l mzzlc soDrcthins. jLr l t n, sc l f idof thc prr in I r 'us icel i r tg. \ \h i rke\ . hecr ' , \ r i r i r r .u ' l r r rc\ ! f \ \ . rs h:rnLl \ : I t gor t i ) thc fo int lvhcrc i fl L l h. r to s. r \ ' 'FI i ro somcbodr I \ \1,Lr lc l jLrst lu l lnfxr t c f r ins- . l r s r rs 1 j l ( . . .srn ld drxrn.wYNAi l t Ste\ ie r l rd Tournr\ \ \ c fe iust conrplctc lvoutofconnolrrhcu rrc d id t l rosc Opcf . r HoLrseshorvs, .ur t i inr as gr t t ing rrur \ ' . l l re f i rs t \eNr Ir rs in ihctrrnd, I iL \ people $ ho\ele.rbLrsrrgsLrLrr(rnccs. Lrnt r lso $ ere r)n t ( ) l o l i t nrusi r l l lv .{ ' L ' . r , | 1 | r ' . ' $ . , r - , , }1 . , . r l r r l . . . r ' l : t , r , . ' . " . 1 ' ' r r , t r "

} r1x! h inr \e11inn) cofncrs:rnd not knolv hos t i lchcl l he \ \ ' . rs goingtr) gct oLr i .sRv ( ioc l , I $. rsn ' t in \ ' r , r ' r goocl shepe $ten t cfc(ordcd th l t . , \ t the t ime, I d idn' t fcal izc honbrd rr shrpe I r r as in. Thcrc l ere more f ixi t iohs Llonc on thc.r lbum thrr I r r ru lc l halcI ikcd. Thelc r .ere sonre good nights . rnd soncgoocl g igs. but i t \ ' . rs r rofe hafh.rzxrd thrnu r : s o u l d h . r l c l i k c d . s o m c o f t h c g i g s u c l cokrv, but somc of thcm soLrnd l i le the! 11 efcthc r o lk of hr l l t l r rd people. Of coufsc. m!rhinking I ]or , L lorsn' t that soLrnd i {oo( l l. \nLl thr fc $ crc soDrc grcr t l l ( ) fcs !hrr crr r rcout . bLrt l iust \ ! lsn t in (or) t fo l r nobodr \ \ 'as.\ve s er 'e r l l e\1] . rLrsteLl .L A Y T o N l , l l r ' . 1 - , ' . " r ' I J r . \ \ ' $ . f i , . l

tnr lg ing r iong, r lont lcr ing i l u,c u.oul , .1 m.r le i tLrnr i l thc i l f tc I11o()n. l tNus l ikc bei l rg in the nr iddleof thc dcsel t . urrndel i rg i f rh€ re\ tstcp$'ould t rcthe r tne \ . l refe s e just fe l l o lcr rnd dicd.tHANnoN Stcr ic rd I ah\ ' r \ 'shrd.rd jo in i igfoomso n t h c r o a d , . r n d N c i l l e N v c t h e d o o r b e | \ \ c c n u sopen so i l $ rs l ikc one big roonr. \ \ 'c \ \ 'cn i on aEufopern t(ruf, :urd \\crc ai r hotcl in Cerm.rnr..I $: rs h ' ing on my bcd. s ick rs. r dog, .nd I coulL lscc stcvic ro l l ing rroLrnd his bed murr tb l ingshir .ind justst ick i r rshisherd o el rnd lonr i tnrgLrLxxll l loveI the l loor: too $ er1i to gci Lrp and \vr lk tothe l ) . r throour. Thcfe \ \ 'asn r much l cotr ld to d0to hclp h im bcc.ruse I r \ r r so s ic l nr) sel f . b l r t Is cnro!er . Hc wlrs! ! r . l \ ' . so I c : r l led in innrLr l :u1ccurd lhe\ crnre rnd gor h inr .raYrol Thrfc \\'crc ill thcse glr\'s ir Nhite llelrch. ! . I I r f I ' ' | 1 | l ' r , r . t - r ' c : r ! l \ . . ' r ' r '

Stc! i f i i tn 'as rc l l l \ s(r r ' ! . I Ie | \ eurto drc host i ta lrnd rhcr) $. $enr to Zuf ich, sr | i tzcf lanLl , . rnd

fef l i r fnrcLl thr ncxt n ight , bLrt s tc l ie soLrrrdcdsc:r i r , Lroth r" . r p lu cr unr la pelson. I c . r l lc 'c l our 'nrrn.rgcrflrd srid, \\ic hrle t(r do sonrething. \\rc$ efeor ouf \\,r\ nr I!r'ec l l l 1 l f . lJ loonr. u ho hrLl hclped l 'e te lbwisIerrc l. l l ld t r r ic ( lhpn)n in s in i l r rs; lor t io i rs. Ste! ie \ r 'cntthcrc tol ,r lis rlli s of rest, rlier u,hich rvc ilidn\1) sh{)s s i r r l -oudon. Belorc thc scconcl n ightcncofe. s 'her1 s e \ efe \ r l l l { ingbrck f t ) the strgc,stc\ ' ie Nr lkcd onto rh is goof \ . g. r fgplr r r rk . r t theI 'ack corncr of the srugt r rnd lc l l o l f i t . That \ rxsthcstr . rs rhN(bfokr the c:rmcl s brc l { , rnd hcjustsr id, l ln nr) t i rcc l . I nccd lcstrn i l l Iccd churge."So$'c c:urccl lc . l thc rcsrof the tuurrrrd he\r ' tntt i ) . r fchi lb ( l in ic in At l r r l t . r . Tt s rs l fe l iof , rer lh:I fcmcInbef r l r i r r l ing, Thr nhir lNinLl h ls f inr l lvl toppcd. , \nr l u r ' fc i ln 'c .wvrrAN9 S(nr l r th ing hxd to g i |c , ard \ \ h. r t grr \ c$ rs st r ! ic . Hc ju5t hrLl r bfcxkdo$ n, r r r ! t i r N rs.r hugc Ic l ie l knon i l lg th.r t he r | rs going to gctsomc hclp.sHAt{ t loN Stcvic \ \ 'cnt to ihc Chrf lcr Lr l ret | L - , t r , , r r r . i r r l ! r ' r \ r l r r ' r ' r : r ' . r t t . ' i r ' r . ' r ' i

ALrr t in. \ \ c $ efc both rhere lS di l 's . : rnd thatu ' . rsjLrst t Ie beginning of thc da\ to L la\ 'Lr foccss.ltlril/{lE VAUGHA{ lt di(ln t cve!1 occ$ nr nrc rhet: r , r i r , ' r l . r r r . r . l ' " l t r r . . l r r . ' r ' l 1 . r . rdo his 30 ( lnys n)scr e\ c | r 'onc 'of fh isbach, thcn gobrcl r r ) i r . l lu t hc\ \ ls scf ious. ancldcdicated. rnLi t reshowcd t i rcr ' .1 iormc,.u l l r I r t ofotherpeoplo.RAlr l I \ \ . r : p l rv i r rg i r1 \ t l : rntr : r t t l r r cnd of h isfchfb st . r \ , rnd hc c imc to src mc. I i r1\ . i tcd h 1n1onsrrgo, rs r i .c wrmld.r l r \ r ls do faf one inother.I t i )und our lutc | thr t he r ' . ts rer l l t ' rcnousbccaLr-c i t s rs h is l i fs t r iDrc th| ing solrer . FLrthe p1,r1cd grcr t , . rn. t drcr-c r rcnt mr last ercuse|) f r r l l t gct | ing sot)cr .


Page 14: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

tRvThe music has bccome really important lsincci'rebeconesober]. Music js awaytorench outandholdon to one anotherinareall,vhealthyway Ir'shclped meto open up nor.eandtake achanceonlovirUpeople. It's a r-hole new world for me. Morcsothan ever, i f I don' t p laythe best I possib lycan,andreel ly t rytopla,vbet ter thanl dr ink I can, thenI'vcwasted it. Bccause T'm playing on borr.ou,ed!ime. Lcftto m) own devices, I would have killedmyself. tsut fof so me reason I'm notdcad.


sor lgs for h is new album, $,hr tbccame In Step,anddid $f iatwealways did: spend afovdaysjusthangingoutta lk ingrnd catchingup, u,hrch\vould point us in the di rect ion \ ' " -e u 'ere goingr o h < r J . \ e h 1 J h u r l * , h p r e d L f $ i t h i r . n u l

morths, end we kne$, that u,as somethi l1g u eha. l to dealwi th. t rwas important for us to ta lkabout and wr i te about our expcr iences ' , r , i th: r d J : c I i u r . u c \ v - I f L l r , ' d : r p c r l ! c u r t o n I r h eissues that sur lounded our d iug rnd alcoholda1's, r .h ich led to songs l ike "Wal l ofDenjal , 'and "Tightrope."srv I l ras afra id that l 'd turn people of l burs ' n c s l - < r L r l u r r r t \ F s a \ r l r : r , l r i r r r r r c l r s .It secms realimpofianrto me to s,ritc about thatstuf f . I had spent so long$' i th th is ima$ oi " I mcooler than so and so because I get h ighcr. than

He said, "Don' t $orr l I t 's onh fo l r r n inutcsiong." $ie dimmed the lights alld they strrtedplat . iDg th is gorgeous song, rvhich went onto s lx n l r rutcsj seven mmutcs. seven and i lhal l . . The songis absolutelv i rcrcdib le, tota l lyinspirecl ,dr ippingrv i themot ion andhL'rewe\ l 'ere, about ro r l r r out of tape. I u asjumplrgup and dos r , u-aving nr arms, but evertoncnras so i r r r rpped up in thei f p l . ry ing th l r t no orcr l , is pa] ing rre any miDd- I f inal l l gor Chr is 'r t tenr ion and crrphrt ical l l gave him thc cutsirlr. He stlrfted tryingto flali do\rr Stevie, lruthe\vas hunched o!er h is gr i taf wi th h is hcnd bentdou,n. Final ly . he looked up, and they br .oughtthc song- dorvn just in t ime. l t cncled nnd, I fcwseconds later !he tapc f in ished . lnd th€ studiou,as si lcnt ercep t for th€ sou nd ofthe empr,t reel

raYro lt \r'as sort ofa crucl iron,v thairilcAli1,ecamc out right $.hcn Tomlny and Stevie got out oftreatmcnt. Oneofthc first times wc got rogetheragain was to make avicleo lor "Supcrstition.,' S o

:i : .


f. t '

e\.er),one $,as clearhearlcci ancl healthy ancl uerveretry ingtoplayalongtothisdope andbooze-laden tune. It ! like. "cod, can't\\€cutthissong:rgain?" ltwas r \reifd conh est, but irwas a $eatfcelingto har.c cr,eryone reallyinto iragain, rcndvt . p L r r r l e u h u , r l r i | l g h . . c " t , , ! . t r e - . l r $ : r . r l ) Fstalt of something rcal goocl.wyrarr St€\.ie \4'as rcr'\.ous rbout plai'ing h is lir.sts ^ h e f . h , ' $ . h u r $ < l , i r | , , . r " g e J n . l i , u " .

j J . rmagicrl. \ rithir thfee nights, he conpletel!.hirhis stlide an cl rvas playingbetter fhan :rny ofu s hadever heanl hinr. Ile rvas playing rhe way he rlu al,swanted to and wasjust ecstatic. Everv sorg\rasexciting, and\r.ef€ constaDtlt, popp ing up.ClAPtoN He seerned to be an opel channel. I'hcmusic justpoured drroughhim. rnd i tncvcrdr. iedup.B R A M H A T L q l , \ i r 1 r . l I e u . n v p r h c r r , ' r f i r (

he does." And i r 's jusr not tN€-LAYIoN Ye \\.cnt to Memphis to staf t recoidinglnr(p | ] . l re f i r o i bb. : , rd i r r r . ' er t r . .1,^u.rr , l -* rTl e-e $ r ' .o . re r re i .J- l r , " r l \ecJu-e u. krFu i .u as ou r proying grou ncl, fiat u.c had ro sho$ thatr c, , , r r ld nralcr . .d cco-. r . ' \ i thuur rn\nneoL i r jhigh.l know Srevie lcltthe doubt.I think itenueoLrp producir€i rhe tightest band pefomrances oiour career,buiwe really worked arit.tHAxirot Stevic u,ould do al1 ' rh ing to gctn e $ . J i f l e r e n r o r F , r t c f - n L r t r , l 5 . t f ) i g I n N i f cdifferent amps together or u'hatevef. and hesccmed to spend alot of t ime messing$ i th stu l fonJnSrcp. Buthis.rctxal pla)ingjustfl o\i edoncehe got do{,n ro it.Jt|/l CArf,r5 Stcrie told lneLchad an instrumcntalcalled 'Rivicra Paraclise" hc \r,antecl to tr\,, andI said thr t I onlv had nine minutes of tape lef t .

: spinning a|ouncl . Wc cut the song I fc* , nrore: t imes, but i t sounded I ike l tuzak to: t i rat f i rs t , n1agic i l vers ion.

JHAIIgI{ We flnishcd thc fecord and\r'cre reallvh,rppy with it. Then u.c $.cnt brck Lrn thc road,and i t $ 'as a \ r .hole nerr 'qork l - The rTrusir * ,asgreat, we had a lir-orr orgrnizatiur, I €jreat roadlnanager, Skip Rickcrt. a €ireat crc\r-. We werca l l i u , t r e , , l r l r : p r ' . . r . s r p ! i c . \ r . \ , ! r p , r , i rr r r . j u s r [ r i . - l r r , r i g I I l L \ r r r , , r . e J r u p l : r \ i r Ewith Stevie. I ncvcf took it for gfxntecl. it waslike, "Oka1., rvhere the hcll is he going tonightbec:ruse I gor i{r follorv." Stevie never s,rid, "Nowpla]' this." He.iust played antl u e follo$ ecl, and itonl ] got more rnd norc exci t ing.IAYIo \4ttour€ddtroughthe$,interof '90, thentook a break for Stevie to Ij{) recofd lhnrily.Sr.,,1cwi thJimmie.

Page 15: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

SHA t lo{ Stevie real ly enjoyed cut t ingFdmi l_r ,srJ/e and spending al l that t ;me u ' i th h isbrother. Hc said i t was l ikc cominghomc. Af tcrthcv did that he took a l i t t1c vacat io n and then$ e g o f b a c k t o g e ( h e r l o I ' u i . l r . o m s r 6 u . ; n g .we ended the summel tour with the tu o sho$ sat Alp inc Val lcy, outs idc Chicago. l t i rvoh,edplaying wi th Clxpton . r rd Robert crs] , andJimmie and Budd,v Gu] 'came up to be specia lguests. I t $'as j ust great fun, feallyexciting. sortof the culmi l lat ion of a l l thc good t imcs \ .e 'dbeen having for the last yelr r or two. And, rsgood as rve had been playing, those t rvo shon's

,rM,rirE vaucltAr Stcvic just srnole.l. lt \r'xs one ofthose gigs lvhere vou see someone play and )oucan't belie\'e $ hat you're hearing. They're justwai l ingand happyand nakingi thappen, mis ingitanothcrnotch.That'sivhrtit .aslikethatnight

J r A l p i n ( \ a l l c \ . r t ( r , r $ r . u I r ( r l . H c $ r r i L ' ron anotherplane, andM,e al lknew i t .RAIIT The first ni€iht at AlpineValley I u.|ls thercjusttowatc[ anditwas justt'rcattosec c\.Lryone.I reall),think that Stevie \.as perhapsthe greatest

Euitariste\er, and hejustshowed it that night.IUDDY GUY Man, first of a]l, Stevie rvas one ofthe best e\.er. Period. B t those nights, he \l'asjust somethirg clsc. And I remember standingn, i th h i rnontheside of thestagewhi le Er ic was

# 'Cltnts ctlilt lltTo tilY Rooit.l$il0,'$tturth [ElD,'It0 l|t Ju$t L0$t I n0,'


p l r i i r r g . r n J h e s i r : . u f l o f p l r ) i n g c i r g u i r t r r .fingeIing alongu'ith what Efic played. After hedied, for some reason I kept th inkingof that , h imstanding there pla_ving phantom rotcs.rHA rox'fhe first iight I stuck ar'ound for thejam at the end, but the second night I rvanted toget back to Chicago, so I took a helicopter Lrack$ i r f Rc, \ ' . I u cnr ru Jr cp r r rd sut r r ok. r upby.rpl, one call from ourtour manager at 6:301.^r, Hesaid that we had to lT ave a nreeting in my roomrighr as rv. | .a id.- l ' .^ :J0ir . l -e n orning. nor in 'efor a meeting. Whatthc hcll isgoingon?"Andheseid, "It's very i portant." I started feelirltj\.erytrnea.1. rnd a fes rn inu-e. l r tef I gor a cal l f ronrourman4ter,Alex Hodges, savingthat one ofthehclicoptels had gone dorvland Stcvic was on it,and there rvere no survivors. In the blink of aleve n ' r l i fe wa- r rker ru i ! I nm n e. | $ a. . in ingon thebed, crynrg. and Chdscame into my room,asking$4rai was goil]gon. t sait, "Stevie's dcad,"erd Lejust lostittoo.lAYToil I was in denlai, didn't belie\,e it at ell, soI cr ' 'eJ .ecu' i r ) Jrd I fnrceJ rhen rn ler ne intos. , " : r ' . r , ' , rn. I f , J1) rhuuSlr l r 'Jb, rh,r , s1, cpi l i , .but *'hen the,\'opeied the door', thebed was stillnade end Ijustrealized, "Mycod, it's true."5HA[t{ot{ Stevie's coat u'as laic] out on the bed'r rJ. oJJr1. rhe c locl rudio w-. ph\ inglhar Ergle.songthatgoes, 'And I mav neverseeyou again."Itwas playingleal softly,but itmightasu.ellhave

been a bullhor'l into ny ear'. Then ive all u'entback to my loom, andJimmie was thele, andrververc all a wreck, sobbirrg and dazcd.ltu,as thcnost holliblc nomcnt irr my lifc.l'1lner,er iuvcan,vthing hult that bad :rgain, ever.rAyrox I felt like a crr had fallen on me orsonethirg. I felt like a bab,v, just completclyhelpless. Then we renernbered that the leu'sreporr- .a id thJr ster ;e. lnJ f i is band s er . l , . l leJ.llnd I realizedthatl had to getaholdof m,vfrmil,vand tcllthcm that I was still alivc. So rve spent abunchoftime callingourfamilies, and justsortof

lioin€i on autopilot. Because if I started thinkingabout it, 11,',ouldn't bc able to tunciion.DR. roH l played at his fu[elal nfiich *'as really

$lFwrench ing. I played everl h! mn I knerv, thenStevie wonder came up cnd said to me, "Ald

Mdrid in G," and I doD't know it in any ke} So Ijuststopped and let h in l s ingacappel la, andonceI wasn'tplaying,I got really awnre. "Man,I'm withhis coffin," and rventinto that zonc, $hcre it*,asa1l hittingme like gangbusters. Beingin tha!litdechurch xnd realizingthatStevie's feetwer€ justa

fc*'fect away from lne was so damllhearl'Icouldhardlybreathe.FREEltai You know, sirlce Stevie died, he's beene l e v r t e d r o . r i n r h o o d . l r - o u r d . . r . . r r g p , \ u r i ra wcird way i think it dintuishes hh, becauseStevie wasn't a saiit, He was a pcrson, al1d hehad faul ts, but he *as su'eet and funny and au n n d e r n r l g u r t o h r n g u i r h i n r d d i r i o n r . b e : r gan exc eptio11al talel]t.,lMltlEVAUGHAil The $,or1d misses his music, butI m i s s m y b l o t h e r B t

2r !LlltS Lt$tt0 s

Page 16: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

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LTHOUGH HE DIEDnearly two decadesbefore the birth of rockand roll, Robert Johnsonpossessed the enorrnoustalent and sex appeal ofmodern rock stars, pluslwo factors essential topopular myth making:

a very short life and a controversialdeath. In fact the story ofJohnson's lifeis more shadowy than that of any otherinfluential blues player, based as it ison sketchy biographical information, amodest body ofrecordings (41 uacks, ofwhich 12 are alternate tahes) and pre-cisely t\,vo known photographs. In theabsence of substantiai details, John-son'speersfab cated a tale replete withmidnight meetings at the crossroads, adealwith the devil and hellhounds thatrelentlessly followed the doomed gui-ta st's trail. Yet the legend sells himshort by suggesting that his brilliancewas just a musical prize in Satan,s lot-tery. Rather, it was the result ofveq, realhuman effort and an uncarny talent forselecting and integrating the musicalelements that made up his artistry.

ln fact, Robert Jolmson was a sophis-ticated musician by any standard. whatever nativetalents one possesses, no one gets to be that good andthat consistently b lliant without a lot ofhard workand cdtical listening. Many an aspiringblues guitar-isCs ego has been broken on the wheel ofJohnson,sbrilliant playing on "Teraplane Blues," never mindthe singing, composition and fiesh, off-the-cuffspiritofthe performance.

To the public, the name Robert Johnson mayrepresent a ghostly embodiment of Delta mys-tery more than a still-vital musical inspiration.

But guitarists owe it to themselves toput aside the myth, go directly to thesource and prepare to be humbled.

llr$t0nt il0lfft|Jilcr$LrKE MANY AFRICAN-AMERTCAN chil-dren of the early 2oth century Jim Crcwsouth, Johnson entered into a complicatedworld. Bom in 1911 in Haz elhurst, Missis-sippi, he spent his childhood movingliomplace to place and father to stepfather. Hewas raised as Robert Spencer but changedhis surname while in his teens after hismother, Julia, revealed the identity of histrue father, Noah Johnson.

As poor as his circumstances were,Johnson grew up in a musically richworld. The mass production of78 rpmrecords-still a fairly recent innova,tion-meant that for the first time inhistory, musicians could learn fromone another ata distance. As an aspiringplayer, Robeft Johnson had awealth ofmusic at his fingertips and showed agiftfor absorbing new material on the spot,from pianist Leroy Ca.r's 1928 smash,"How Long, Ho\{' Long Blues" to hill-billy tunes and even polkas.

While records allowed Johnson toexplore far and wide, he was also fortunate to be sur-rounded by musiciarx who could him deeper. Guitarist Willie Brown, who lived near: Johnson's teenagehome ofRobinsonville, Mississippi, was an establishedperformer who occasionally worked the localjukejoints with fiiend and protoq?ical Delta bluesmanCharlie Patton. Brown reportedly showed Johnsonhis fingering ar1d chording techniques, and the youngguitaris! also made a point of studying Patton, whoseraw r ocalr. pou .r{ul guitar and legendary performingacrobatics left a strong impression ofhim.







Page 17: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends


snume (,? = I'i)


snume (,? = .f'l)

to melodic phases that functioned as partof each songis fabric. Wherever two talesof the same song exist the versions arealmost identical, the alternate tales beingessentially backup copies recorded in theevent the master take was darnaged,

Johnson played both standard finger-style guitar and slide. He used standardtuning whenever he was not playingslide, although on some recordings hemay have tuned the whole guitar downa halfstep oow to high, E* Ab Db cb BbEb) or up a half step (ow to high, Ef A*n* c$ sl r*), perhaps usingacapo whenraisingthe pitch. when he played slide,he used either open G tuning (low tohigh, D G D G B D), as on "Come on inMy Kitchen" and "Cross Road Blues," oropen E tuning oow to high, E B E Gf BE), as on "Rambling on My Mind." Agsin,somerecordings inodd keys are capoedortuned to a higher pitch.

His rhythms were undoubtedly pianoinfluenced. One in particular, adaptedfrom a typical left-hand piano boogie-woogie figure (FIGURE r), became thebasis of so mary guitar players' bluesrhlthm styles that it's like having the pat-ent on dift. The qpical embellishment atthe end ofbar I shows that he was think-ing a cut above his contemporaries, evenwhen pounding out the beat. Johnsonused a thumb pick and bare fingers, butthis tlpe ofphrase can also be played usinga "hybrid" picking approach @ass notesplayed with flagick held between thumband index finger, and high notes pluckedwith bare second and third fingers). Johnson used this Ope of rhlthm pattern, withvariations, on many ofhis songs, including"Sweet Home Chicago" and "I Believe l'llDust My Broom."

Probably the single lick that mostquickly evokes Johnson's guitar style isa figure that he used as an intro, endingand tumaround on many ofhis recordings(llGURE r). He played a number ofvaria-tions on this phrase, adding rhlthmic ormelodic embellishments to customize itfor a given tune. Again, a pick-and-fingers,or fingerpicking approach is necessary.

But it was another friend of Brown's, Son House,who would become Johnson's prime inspiration.Although nol yet 30 himsell House was ar experi-enced performer with recordings under his belt and afully formed, emotionally intense playing and singingstyle. Johnson watched him on every possible occa-sion, absorbing songs, licks and attitude that wouldaffect him for the rest of his own short life.

At the age of 19, Robert Johruon found himself ata junction in his personal and musical life. Married,end wiuh achild on rheway.hefeh rhe mourringpres-sure to serde down and work on (he farm, A career inmusic must have seemed a long shot, at best. But thesudden death of his 16-year-old wife and their babyduring childbirth threw all assumptions about John-son's tuture to the wind. Not long afterward, he IeftRobinsonville and returned to his boyhood home ofHazelhurst, looking for a new start.

what he found there was a guitar mentor-Ikezinneman-who did for Johnson's musicianshipwhat Son House had done for his spirit. within thespan of a single year, Johnson developed so dramati-cally that the legend arose of a midnight handshakewith the devil. rhe likely truth is more prosaic-thathe simply played guitar nonstop, linlingup ttre musr-cal fragments that for yea$ had been loosely floatingbelow the surface. Under Zinneman's tutelage, hetightened up his arrangements and begln to main-tain a logbookoflyrics and ideas. The next time SonHouse and willie Brown heard Robert Johnso8 thetables ofinspiration had been tumed.

By the time Johnson became a professional bluesmusician, in the earl] Thirties. rhe Depression wasunderway, and southern blacks were hit especiallyhard. Where there were paychecks, there was mon-ey to be spent on musicians, and lile dozerc of oth-ers Johnson took to the mad in pursuit of his share.He headed for Helena, Arkansas, home to a thrivingmusic scene, and there Johnson met and played withthe cream of the Delta crop-Sonny Boy williamsonII, Robert Nighthawk, Elmore James, Howliri WollMemDhis Slim and manv others.

reach the next level he had to make records. An audi-tion for a local music store o\(ner resulted in an i ,rta-tion to travel to San Antonio, Texas, where Johnsonhad his first recording session in November 1936. Ina hotel room before a single microphone, he beganlaying down what would become the most famousrecordings in the history of Delta blues. After threesessions held over the course ofa few days, followedby two more in Dallas less than a year latet RobertJohnsorfs entire musical legary was in the can.

The only "hic' to come out of these sessions was"Terraplane Blues." The record sold a few thousandcopies, a respectable number by Depressron-era"race record" standards. Together with his otherreleases-ll in total-it boosted Johnsoris reputationand put some money in his pocket. It also attractedthe attention ofJohn Haryunond, a New York-basedcolumbia Records executive with a legendary ear fortalenr. (Hammond is credired with "discovering'-among others-Count Basie, Billie Holidat Bob Dylanand Bruce Springsteen) Hammond was assemblingthe lineup for the 1938 "spirituals to Swing" con-cert, a major showcase of Afiican-American musrcpresented in New ) ork Ciq/s Cirnegie Hall. and hewanted Johnson to appear as the finest contemporaryrepresentative ofDelta blues. The word went out, butunknown to Hammond, Robert Johnson was alreadydead. On August 16, 1938, poisoned whiskey pouredby a jealous husband had laid him down.

sffirrillrcililr0|JrAS WITH ANY GREAT A.RTIST, the genius of RobetJobnson's work is in the totality- Others have playedhis guitar parts to perfection, or sung the words, ormatched the vocals note for note. But ifs the sum of allthese parts and more tiat ma}es his records sound soalive more than 60 years after they were recorded.

As a guitarist, Johnson knocked out his contempo-raies with his ability to play tull, driving rhlthm witha thurnb pick while simultaneously picking out melo-dies on the high strings witi his bare fingers. He didnt

0ilnTHE TWO KNOWN PHOTOGRA?HS OfRobert Jobnson show him with two different round-hole, fl attop sl.(-stdng guitars.Undoubtedly theywere stnmgwid heaw-gauge strings (the only gpe available at dnttime), and he is shown with a thumb pick.Hisbotdeneck (not in the photos) was prob-ably fashioned from an actual botde, sincecustom-made accessoies didn't exist. Noreverb, no amp, no distortion-the effectsare entirely emotional.

$tr.rclE0Lr$ilrIsJOHNSON'S CATALOG IS SO SLIM thatit fits on one CD: Tfte Complete Recoril-ings.A1129 songs and 12 alternate takes

Johnson's regional reputation was growing but to i recordmanyimprovisedsolospersqinstead,hestuck i are included. Bl

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cuy cut some sides for rival label Cobrr, Chesssignedhimon,iD 1960, ard he recorded thele forseveral years as a side an, as partofacelebratedduo with singer,/h-arpist Junior Wells, and as afeatured artist in his own right.

cuy became one ofthe stars ofthe Sixties'blues scene and finished out the decade withthe album ruddJ cuy & Junior wells Play thcBlues. Featuring performances by Eric Clap-ton, Dr. John aDd the J. Geils Bard, and co-produced by Clapton, the album was supposedto launch cuy and wells into the big time. Butthe Sixties'blu€s boom was over, aDd CuyspeDttht lcxt cwu Jc,:adt ' in thc r i lderncsr.

His fortunes changed in l99l after Clapton re-quested that Guy take part in hjs 24 Nights iil-starbiues guitar extravaganza atLondon's RoyalAlbert Hall. culs star was again sing, and hesigned to Silvertone Records. He subsequentlyreleased the besFselling recordingof his career,Damtl Right I've Got the Blues, which featuledcameos fiom Clapton, Beck, MarkKnopflerandthe MemphisHorns. But perhaps the finest gen1in Guy's recent output is his 2001 release, SweetIea, in which he rcinventcd himself in thc vernof North Mississippi bluesrnen. He changedgearsonce again in2005 with the soul-inflectedI Goc Dredins, in *'hich his put his distinctivestamp on tracks by legends like wilson Pickett,Eddie Floyd and Johnny Taylor.

In matters ofblues history, Buddypossessesa ready andvivid memory. He seems to feel thebitterness ofeach ripoffand the glory of eachmusical tfiulnph as iftheyhappened yesterday.As he reflects on some of his greates! record-ings, ftom the lale Fifties to the present day,

- the r€collections come floodingback, inftrsing; the hallowed grooves with the livil1gtruth thel'I cal l " the blues."

; '$ nn cnr [ru 0rursl'; DATE 1958! wHY tT GoUNTS Buddy's very first single.; sruDto Cobra Records, Chicago. "There was a! 1ittle record store in front with 45s and 78s,"; Buddy lecalls. "You walked througtr to somei o1d garage in the back, and that was Cobra Rei colds. Just a car garage, man, but that's where

; I was gettir' that real sound you herr on thatS record,"

ers in it or a Sears Roebuck," Buddy adds.KEY PLAYER willic Dixon (1915 1992) wrote thesong and played bass on the date. This was thefirst of many Buddy cuy recordings thatwouldbepenned b1 Diyo,r. rheblue- ou n cole Po"ref.Irving Berlin and william Shakespeare rolledin!o one. Dixon's songs were recorded byMuddywaters, Howlin'woll lhe Rolling Stones, LedZeppelin and many others. Buddy still vividlyrcmernbcrs his nf5t nreeting $ irh Wil l ie. rrr i rnposingly large manwho dwarfed the biguprightbass thatwas his signrtule instrument:

"willic Dixor come and got lne and told n1ehe wasgonnatake meto dinnef.I f igured,I justgothere from Louisiana;I don'thave an educa-tion; now's my time to just be cool watch andlearn. so we walks into this barbecuejoiit andWil l ie order. c r hole fucl, i rr ' chicken. I m l lg!rin' we gon' take a fork and knife, carve up thechicken, and rne and him would eat it. Butwhenrhe c l r i c l e r r comc ou r . l r e p : ck r i r up . b feaLs i rin halfwith his bare hands and start to eat thewhole fuckin' thing himself. He looks at melike, whatyou gon' have?"POSTSCRIPT Shotly aftcr this scssion, Buddy's

one of the greatest and most influcntial bluesrecordilgs ofalltime; beloved by Jimny Pageand many othersSTUDIO Che.\ Records. )120 5. \4ichigrn Ave..chicagotnow a historic lalldmarkBACKSTORY After two singles on Artistic, Buddyeasily made the jump !o Chess, where he wenton to cut a series ofsingles and served as a ses-sion guitarist to immortals like Muddy watersand Ho$lin wolf. _You d ger $3U lor nlaking asession," Buddy recalls. "And that was lhe bestmoneyyou could make in Chicago. wolkinginclubsyou'do ynake,four,f iveorsixdol larsanight. Even Muddy was only making$12."

Buddy's prcducers rd bosses at his new la-bcl wcre the b.others Plil and Leonard Chess.Polish inmigTants end former liquor salesmen,the chess brothers built the chess and checkerlabels into a blues empire, releasing classic discsby Muddy, woll Little walter, Sonny Boy wil-liamson, Elmore James and Jinnny Rogers, notto mention seminal early rock and roll sides byChuck Berr], and Bo Diddley. Buddy didn't al-ways sec cye to eye with the Chess brothers,butthe entrepreneurial siblings nonetheless pro-

'CotRt RtutRus ult$ JUst t ctn 0[Rt0E, iilil, BUT TI|IT'$ wilERtlw[$ BEITtil'ttttT RttL sotlln yotl tttln 0l tum RtcnRD."

-oil Rtcon0tto'il ilro cny [ilt Btl|$|"

BACXSTORY Buddy lef t lT is nat ive Louis ianaand arrived in Chicago on Septen'rber 25, 1957,hoping to land a contract with premiere bluesl r l r e l t h e , s R e c o r d \ . I n i r i J l l \ . C f p \ s t l s \ e d .but r ival label Cobra, headed b-v El i Tosca!o,eager)y signed the new arrival to jts subsidiaryimpr int , Art is t ic .THE TRACK A slow, mour[fu] blues lreditatiolin G, punctuatedby lachrymose saxdrones andski t te l ing piano. Buddv's unrestra ined vocalstylc is ahcady vel}' nuch irtact on this debutrelease, a ld the expressive gui tar ' l ines andclean, concise 12 bar solo ably serve as counrerpol'1r.PRoDUcTIoN NoTEs The song's s l ight ly un-usual chord structure audibly confoulds thebacking band at points, especia l ly when theyhir t l re br idge. Buddr mrke' r . r 'nng shorvingnonetheless.

E BUDDy's cEAR A Gibson Les ?aulcoldtop, purg chased on instal lment back in Louisiana. "Thets amp was either a little cibson with two speak-

Les Paulwas stolen fiom tlle bandstand ata hewaspla,ving. Cobra Records didn't lastmuch longer either. "I think Eli Toscano gotkilled ordrowned orsonetling," Budd-\7 says. "lheard a lot ofdifferent stories about that."

: 'lflt F|R$t ltilt lilil ilt BLU[$'I DAIE Recorded March 6. t960i wxy tt coultts luddy's first singte for Chess;

duced some of his finestrecordings and playedan important role in de-veloping rnany ofhis keystylistic tradenrarks.rHE TRACK A chi l l ingblues al legory, "Thetr i rs t T ime I Met theBlues" recounts a fatefu l crossroads encoun-ter wirh the blues itself,here personified as alo m i r o u s m a n i f e s t ation of all life's suffer-ings. Buddy's plaintivevocal is under-scoredby sone of the moststinging g!itar playingever committed to tapelfrenzied bursts of pent-up emot ion del iveredwith a razor- th in tonethat cuts like a suicide'sarterial slash.P R O D U G T I O N I { O T E SSpeakingof razorblades,the Chessbrothers were

by no means averse to slicing a mnster tape tosuit length requirements or other comnercialexigencies. Deft tape editing produced the ee-rily powerful opening to "The First Time I Metthe Blues." There is no instrumental prelude ofany sort. we're plunged straight into Buddy'sagonized vocal, immersed in the nrlrativ€ be-fore *'e knorv what's hit us. "There originallywas an intro," Budd]' rcveals. "I could neverstart in singing like I did on that track without



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an intro. I had to get into it first. But I had abad habit back then: some ofmy intros were toolong. So they'd cut'em out."

The Cheis sibl ings also suggested thekeening, high-pitched \.ocal register Buddyemp lo ) \ on t he r rac l and wh i ch wou ld be -come a signature element ofhis singing style."Little Brother Montgomety lwho wrote thesongl had made a hit of'The first Time I Metthe Blues' lin ]9J6l," Buddy remembers. "TheChess brothers told me I could do the songin ahigher voice. Theywere kind oftrying to leadme in the direct ion ofB.B. King. Ain'tbut oneof them. But they want me to sing it kind ofhigh. It's one ofthe most talked-about songs Iever did for Chess."BUDDY'S GEAR This is perhaps the earlresttrack to feature Buddy's Sunburst 1957 FenderStratocaster, one ofthe nost sacred artifacts inallofblues history. The g!itar was purchased-just barely-shortly after the theft of Buddy'sLes Paul in'58.

"I had to get down on my knees and begthislady at this famous blues club called Theresa'sLounge at 48th and lndiana," he remembers."And she finally loaned me the money for thatStrat. I think it was $149 or $150, with case,strap and eveqthing."

Buddy chose a Stratocaster because it wasthe instrument ofchoice for his ax hero, Gui-tar Slim, whose highly theatrical stage performances inspired the style ofshowmanshipthat Buddy would lat€r pass on to Jimi Hen-drix. Buddy's much-battered '5 7 Stratwas hismain gu itar until 1976, when it too was stolen.Before then, it was most often mated with a'59 Fender Bassman amp. These two pieces ofgear are very much the sound ofearly BuddyGuy recordings. Buddy quickllr got into thehabit ofcrankingthe Bassman to the max andusifig the Strat's volume and tone cofltrols toachieve the rich tonal variations heard in his

"when I would record with Muddy andthem, we used to drink wine, beer and whis-key and set i t on the amp. So al l the controlknobs on my amp had frozenwith dirt, booze,cigarette butts and allthat. Butthatwas okay,'cause I didn't need to move them anymore.All I had that worked on that amplifier wasthe on-and-off switch."KEY PLAYEnS "The First Time I Metthe Blues"was the first of many Buddy Guy sessions tofeature the redoubtable Jack Meyers on elec-tric bass, still a relatively new instrumentwhenthe record was made. (The first commerciallyavailable electric bass, the trender Precisron,was introduced in 1951.) "When the fenderbass first came along I remember seeing thlskid Jack Meyers play ir with kxitdrisfl EarlHooker's band," Buddy r€counts. '/lHooker ac-tually owned the bass, so the only time thatboycould play, he had to work with Earl Hooker.But I found outthatWillie Dixon had a Fenderbass that he'd pawned at a place on 47th andState. So I told that boy,'lfyou wanna playwithrnc. I l l go get thar Fender our of prwn iromDixon.' And I gave it to Jack, 'cause h€ was agood little bass player."

On Buddy's records, Meyerwas often pairedwith ace Chess session drummer Fred Below(pronounced Br-E lou), who here pounds thetoms l ike some lost soul condemned to play

the strip clubs of Helt for all eternity. Apparently, Belowwas a bit ofa cutup in the studio."They f i na l l l h rd t o bu i l d a pen r round h im .l ike a cardboard box," Buddy recal ls, "so hecouldn t mes\ wi(h an\ bodv.

"ilt J|0ilE l$ lx TflE 0tLTl' trilultr rrmsDATE Recorded in September, 1963WHY lT CoUNTS Historic pairingofBuddy cuywith blues icon Muddy waters on a track thatmarks Muddy's retum to his Mississippi Deltafolk blues rootsSTUDIO Chess Records,2l2O S. Michigan Ave.BAcKSToRY The mid-Sixties folk boom createdan enthusiastic inte.est in rural blues amongpredominantly white college youths. Eager toreach this newaudience, the Chess brothers de-cided to "reposition" Muddy Waters-then the

quintessential sharp-dressed, smooth-talkingurban bluesman-as a humble Delta sharecrop-per. Thus, the classicMudd! Waters Fo[k Singeralbum was born.

"Chess heard about the college kids buy-ing folk rrusic," Buddy recalls, "so they calledMuddy in and they wanted to rush one ofthoserecords outon him. They gave himatrain ticketand told him to go down South and find someofthose older guys who play that kind of stuff.And Muddy said, 'Set the fuckin' session up fortomorrow. I got it.' They thought Muddy wasgonna call some old-time gly and put him on atrain. When leonard Chess came in that morringand saw me sitting there, thatguycalled me a'motherfuckei so manytimes,I almostcded andleft the studio. But Muddy told him, 'Shut thefuck up and listen.' After we got done playing,they stood there with their mouths wide open.


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All they could .;y to rre wa.,'d you know that?"'THE TRAcx With Clifton James on the drunrkit , this is hardly authentic Delta folk blues.But waters' composit ion receives an elo-quently understated acoustic reading, sen-sit ively supported by wil l ie Dixon's supplestand-up bass. with Muddy playing mostlysingle-note leads and embell ishments onsl ide, Buddy is essential ly the main g! i tar-ist on the track. He proves a confident andresourceful interpreter of the acoustic bluesidiom. Check that graceful riff somewhat inthe manner of Robert Junior Lockwood o!the V chord of the second verse. As Buddy

KEY PLAYER McKinley Morganfield, a.k.a.Muddywaters (19I5-1983), really did grow upin rurr l \4 is. issippi. He worked on a planrarionand was recorded by folklo stAlanLomaxbe-fore he traveled north in 1943 and became thepdncipal architect and undisputed kingofChicagoblues. Muddyhad a huge influence on theRolling Stones, who took their name ftom oneof his songs, and countless other rock and roll-ers who have found their hearts in the blues.POSTSCRIPT The folkblues craze was notcon-f ined ro bookish white kid. in Ameficaj rheirEuropean counterparts were arg!ably evenmore fanatical. And so Buddy first toured Europe in 1965 as part ofthe Amedcan Folk Biues

'[Rtc Cltptoil lot0 itt ttE tttnuty Ettil RttEtBER$ t'tttflilo Ttttt REcoRn.[|t uts Ht0H ILL IllE Tlilt.' -or trlnilillt fl]t fr,Itil'llrlrusnil ilEil,lts

himsel fsays, " I know how to back Muddy upon that shi t , mm."PRoDUcTION t{OTES Session photos depict averyminimal recordirgsetup, with just one mic forwaters, cuy and Dixon.As a result, the track hasaveryopen, ambient feel-the sound ofthat hal-lowed room at2120 S. MichiganAvenue.BUDDY'S GEAR At the time of this recording,Buddydidn'teven own an acoustic guitar. MuddyWaters lenthim one ofhis archtops for the date.

Festival, a package tour organized by cermanpromoters Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau andfeaturinggeats like Mississippi Fred McDowell,Big Mama Thornton, Eddie Boyd and RooseveltSykes. It was on German soil, ironically, thatBuddy first met one ofhis greatestblues heroes:John Lee Hooker. crowing up in Lettsworth,Louiiiana, Buddy had just aboutworn out a copyof Hooker's classic "Boogie Chil len'." whenBuddy's parents confiscated tire phonograph

needle, he'd take a stickpin-a piece ofjewelryfol. securing a necktie hold it in his teeth andplace i t on the re|ord. l .ning Hooker's drir ingrhythms resonate in his skull. And on one fatetul morningin Baden Baden in 1965, Buddy cuyfinally came face to face with his hero althoughhe didn't realize it was Hooker at first.

"Everybody was heavy drinkers backthen," Buddy says. "And when I went downto b rea l l as t i n t he mo fn ing rhey had wh i s -key eggs. I sat in the corner with an acousticgu i r r r r nd \ r a r red p lay in Boog ie Ch i l l en .which was the first thing I'd learned how toplay by myself. AlId this guy comes up. Hewas drinkin' and stutterin' bad: 'Y-y-y-you tt- t- tryin' to play J-J-J-ohnny... ' I say, 'Yeah,

I guess so. I'm just trying to figure out whothe fuck you are, stutterin' so. 'Final ly FredBelow said, 'That 's John Lee Hooker r ighttherel 'And Hookerjust started to laugh. Boy,he laughed so hard he cried. \Ve became bestfr iends from that day t i l l the day he died. Iwas at his funeral."

llu 0r llm Umm' rr &J00r ul fi,tfiron ftNDATE Recorded in October,19TowHY lT coUNTs A staple of the Buddy Guyrepertoire and one of Buddy s own compo.i-tions; his first significant collaboration wrthEric claptonsTUDlo Criteria Recording, 1755 NE l49th St.,

aacKsToRY Buddy f irst reamed up u iLh har-monica ace Junior Wells in the mid Sixtles.They became a popular live act and by 1970had landed a high-visibility opening spot onthe Rolling stones tour. During this period,Eric Clapton was jusr f inishing off his classicDerek and the Domino s alb|um Ldlla anal otherAssorfedtove SonSs while getting deeper anddeeper into what would become a debilitatingheroin addiction. Clapton was an avid BuddyGuy fan and back in'65 had slept in a van withother members ofthe Yardbirds to be amongthe frst in a venue where Buddywas playing onhis maiden voyage to Europe. Five years larer,as final mixes ofrayla were underway, EricClapton decided he wanted to make a recordwith Buddy cuy.

"Ahmet Ertegun lhead of Derek and theDominoes' Idbel, Atlantic Records] washang in ou r w i rh C lap ron , Buddy e rp la i ns ."At this time [Atldntic recoriling artistl Are-t ha F ran l l i n $ as popp in and eve ry rh ingErtegun touched was turningto gold. Claptontold him, 'I don't know why you want to re-cord me. The best guitar player in the worldis touring with the RollingStones right now.'So they grabbed a plane, f lew to Paris andwatched mc and Junior wells open the showforthe Stones that night. Afterward [Erfegrn]justwalks up and says, ' I ' l lmake a fuckin'hitrecord on you. when you get off this tourwith the Stones, come straight to Miami andrecord an album for Atlantic Records. ' wewent down there, and Eric told me later on hehardly even remembers making that record.He was high all the tine."IHE TRAGK An uptempo funk soul workout thatmarries an insistent c7 guitar riff to a wicked,syncopated bass line. Buddy busts loose as asoul-preachin' loverman. "l was listening to a lot



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, , 1 ( ' , i . R e J J r r u r . r l r , , . r g u r . u h u ' r u r r r r . 1 6.r lot of rccords then," he rccalls of his inspif rtr(nl1or \ l r i t ingthc tune. "Cruse back thcn, just l ikenon', you cal makc dre best blues record in thewor ld, but i t won'rgr t no ai rphy."

The s l ippery, open endcd gr love pr .ovidesr t J e r l . r l r ' l , f n - . n n e . l r h ' n r u . r t r ' r t . : r . " . 1mirric soloirgcvcr-to issue fi ol11 the fingcr-s rndi+ritrr of Budd_v Lluy. Ycah, he flubs a fcw rotcs,but thc rvhole th ing berut i fu l l l encapsulr testhe blcczy u-i1d energl ofthrt hastily organizeddate dos,n in Mirmi.PRODUCTION OTES Thcre \ rere no rehcar s: r l . , , " I ' r ' ' p r o d u c o n . \ \ r ' , r \ ' , r . I c r r : - J l " e ( L )much what Budd,v ancl rhe b.url thlcu, riou'nin the studio. lhe $41ole rh ing-was a l i t t lc tooronch:r lant for Ai iar t ic , u 'ho in i t i l r l lv shelvcr lthcproject.It w asn't until nvo yea |s Iater, ivhenItuddv recoltlecl ru,o extfa songs r.ith the J.cei ls I t rnd. that the label i inal ly had \ r 'hat i tdocmed was rn ent i rc a lbunr ofre lease wor- th!ln. t tef ia l - "Man of N,hny Words" became thelead track orl l972's llx.ldy Guy and Jwtior WcllsPldy tlle Blues.SUDDY'S GEAR His '57 Strat anLl Bassmatl urlrK E Y P L A Y E R S F r ' ( c l r L , r ' | l i . , , r , . p c n r J g L i ( r i .Nerv Or lcans keyboard legend Df. . Iohn (MrcR e h c n r r r r ' L ' s , , r f i . ' r ' , I h L f l r \ r h r , . , . r i n lfcarures l lerek al1d the Dominos bassist Caf lRaLl lc rnLi d lumnrer J im cordon an al l s tarcrst crpturcLl on t rpe by enginccr ing legendTorn Dowd.

"iltl$ttilB $[LfDATE 199IlvHY lT couNTs Histor ic pr i r ing of tsuddy al ldhis fc l lorv gui t r l legtnd Jef f Beck on BLrddy's"coneback' e lbum, Donrn R+tf i . I Got r / re

STuDlo I lat ter) ' Studios, l , l /16 Chrpl in Rd.,

BAcKSToRY The Sevent ies dnd Eight ies u,eree r n 1 e . r . l u I B I J , I \ C u \ . U i r h U q I r c r i . x n

r . , o _ J i u g . o I r r r , r . l - c ' " _ e 1 e o r b r r r ' 1 ' r i . i r ghis past tliurrphs for-various Dln.ope.rr labcls.His ltrck changed when E c Clapton invited himto take paft ir the rll-slar 24 Nights concefts etLondon's Ro) 'e l Al t rcr t Hxl l in l990.rnd'91. Thisled to r contrrct with Silvcrtone Recor.ds stillBuddy's labcltoda,v-rnd a major comebacl

"This tsritish !'u)' comes ulr to mc brckstcgel r l , , R o \ l l A l b r 1 1 H . r l . n . r . J J . . I u . , r ' : r . i g lv l ru to do rh is. r lbul l r . ' I 'm sayin ' , Okay tsuddy,this is British glr)'s r1o\\.. Hcre s your Johnnv,conre-lrter Jitrri Hondri:t ch.ncc. facnilrr-r rr,as"discorrrcd" 6y !]n,,llish rrdnd.gcr Cids (lhdn,d1t r.l You c:rn do youl o!r'n thing now. I wcnrto Bettery Studios in F.ngland, cut Ddrrn Rryhtl Gor tfie ltlucs,:rnd that w,rs the biggcst record

THE TRACK A stomping. uptown rendi t ior oflhe R&B chssic niade famous by \\rilson Pick-et t . i luddv Cuv's 'N{ustang" boasts r b ig hornscct ion, soul s istcr b:rck ing vocals aDd, orcour-sc, lhe over thc top gui tar sry l ings ofJef fBeck, r 'hosc electr i ly ing Leads go l ine for l incrvith Buddy's b1.ash vocal. Beck is another Strarh r . r r r B r i , i . h - o , ( r r i r . r c ^ , 1 $ h u L . u , r , r j , , linspirat i (D \ rhen Buddy la ldcd in Erghnd i l l'65. I lefe he rctu lns rhe f rvor.PRODUCTION NOTES Beck l l l1d I are the bestof f r iends," s. tvs Buddl . "FIe conle in thc studio


ttf ir.




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afier $,e cut the basic track and thct pluggedhis guitar through the ergineer loom [i.e. conarolroorr l . I was in the engineer room when heput that guitar track (m there. Man, that $rycan Play."BUDDY'S GEAR For most of the ,dr ln Rr8tr f ,I 'vc cot rhc Blucs sessions, Buddy played anEr ic Clapton Signatufe Model Fender strat ,proculcd flom a Londol mLrsic shop. Hc likedthe guitar so nuch that it became the basis forf€nder 's Budd,v cuy Si l inature Model Stret ,f i rs t rc lcascd comtncrc ia l ly in 199s.KEY PLAYERS tseck and tsuddy are nore thalenough ta lent for any t rack, bul the massi !e l ) rsolid backbcat on this recording r-as providedby Little !-eat drumlller Richie Hairvald.PosTscRlPT Accofding to Buddy's g!itar techN,Iark Messner, the gui tar is t current ly ownsscven polka-dot Strats, many of them equipped\,',ith thcsamcbuilt ir preamp found in the Ericclap!on signature stfat. Four's polkadot st fats wefe nnde bv the t render CustomShop, rvith pickups ranlging from Lace sensorsto Texas Specials.'l hc rernainingthlce are product ion l ine Iuddy cuy Signatule models f fomFendeis manufactur ing faci l i t -v in Mexico. Oneofthese instrLrments is equipped wi th '59 hum-buckers and anothel has vintagc noisclcss prckups. Buddyoflen uses the larterguitar rvhen hepla,vs at h is legends c lub, which has s igni f i cantbuzz issucs, accolding to Mcssrcr'.

Most recent l ! , Buddy has taken to p laying a'

) T e l e c : r 5 r e _ n e l u \ e o n c r a g e . H i . l i v e r n r p f i g' ' n n . r : l : o l J I e . l d e r J q r e r . : l r e 6 " . . n " n L T D ,

:r \ribraverb xnd :rn EiChries IIafsh:rll JCM800head through a Tonc Tubb,v lx12 cube. The lrt-ter is isolated and niked oilstage.

, "Bmt PLttst [otT lrnt ilt'DATE 2OOIWHY lT COUNTS BLrddy Guy f inds the n1issingl ink benveen blues and punkSTUDIO Swect Tca, Oxford, X{ iss iss ippiBAGKSToRY Bv lhe start ofthe 2lstcertury, Budd) Cuy u r . rprd\ Io re i r !e,r h inr .e l lorce "gair r .For his 200l album,Swcet Ted, r'ecord producerD e n n i . H e r r i r r g r L c n , r J l t i m r p u i t h r . u r r l i ,o f younger- players fron lhe world ofpost punkand al tcrnat ive rock, inc lu! l in€i Squirre l NulZippers/Knockdo\r'n society gritarist JimboMatllus and El\.is Costcllo's lhlthm scction con-sisting ofbassist Davey Faragher and drunmerPete Thomas.In tbe cozy conf ines ofHerr ing 'sSweet Tca studio, locatcd in the pictufesquesmal l to lvn of Oxfofd, Mississ lppi , auddy andhis neu,backup mr.rsicians dug into a selection ofsongs dla*-l principally from the rcpertoires ofNorth Mississippibluesnlen Junior Kirnbroughand T Model Ford. Both a|tists lecord fLrr FaiPo. .un Record\ ' l he nrr \er ic l r r* h lue, i rnpr int , d ist r ibuted by L.A. punk hbel Epiraph,has been responsible for tulning a u'holc ncwgeneralion ofpunk rockers on !o the blues.

"\\'hen I first came to Chicago, I found thewoli Otis Rush, Otis Span and all those guys,"says Buddy. "I thoLrght I rloDe rlrrgup evervthi11gthere is . But when I u,ent down lhefe l to Mis

s/ssrppr'1, Dennis Herril]g started brirgirg upthis. Iunior Kimbrough sruf f . He's a gu\ 'neverhardly dict lcave Mississippi. I snid,'wou,, man.I didn't dig deep enough.'It goes to sho$,,,vounever get too old to learn,"THE TRACK A s lorv, bfooding, seven minute

r ' r . r r i l r , ' ' f r H F r . l - i \ l i l e $ r ' r : r lriffand a gra y, subsonic bass that never ven-tures too far fron thc toric. Liberatcd ftorn thcr2-bxr grid, Buddy soars irllo the stratosphere.Fanci fu l , fu l l -b lown lock product ion valuesflang,v, echoed vocals and a soaking {-et, sus-ta in ing lead tone-br ing out aspects of Buddy'sprodig ious ta lent never qui te captured bv themore docurnentary approach ofhis rccordingsfrom the Nineties and earlief.PRODUCTION NOTES "I cut rhet record in thehal l ofS$.eet Tea," says Buddy. "The b:rnd rvasset up i r ihc studio. I could see'em through aglass door. But I \\-as in the hall \r'iih all thcscamps. Dennis I {err ing lT as a 1ot of t l , ese greatold amps. A lot of those lsr i ta l sounds you heefon that record hacl somcthing to do \rith hin1.I{e's €iot one of them old fnri-rinll boalds that hegot oul of L.A. someu'here. Tt's as close as youcan get io the old studios. 'x E Y P L A Y E R A l \ . o r t L e . e , . i o r . r r e . r h edrummer Span1, veterrn ofmary Fat Possunrecordings. Al though he had suf fered a mi lds t r ' , , 1 r . r p . r n n r r r r r g , e d t o i n t r F " B u d d ) .who to ld h inr , "Shi t , i f I rvoulda sarv you bc-fore y ' 'ou had the stroke, I probably wouldamoved do*,n here to Mississ ippi just to p layrv i th you." B[


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E -- JOIINLET- --9

l|00rEnTttE |fins nr ru Bnnm RUIEO TttE BLUEs roR ilORE TttIil ttILF I cIITllRY.

VER THE YEARS,any number of bluesguitarists have beenable to lay claim toa personal style, butscant few could ght-fully claim possessionof an entire musicalatt i tude. John LeeHooker could-he was

the original ploprietor of the grooveknown as boogre. More than just arhlthmic feel, boogie is an attitude-one ofsex combined with danger, oflife on the edge in a world that's raw,down and extremely difty, And itpermeates Hooker's music no matterwhat dre setting or style.

In the 50 years during which Hook-er made records, he explored the bluesin its various forms both on acousticand electric guitar. While words like"organic," "earthy' and eve[ "pdmi-tive" have frequently been used todescribe his talent on both instrumeds,the guitarist himself remained modeston the subject ofhis abilities. "I believeI was bom with the gift C.od gave me,"he once said. "ButI had todevelopit.',

llnronrmnltruzutsHE WAS BORN in 1920 into a large,sharecropping family in Clarksdale, Mississippi,the heartofDeltablues country. Inspiration for hisearliest musical explorations came from his stepfa-ther, Will Moo.e, a preacher and musicianwhosehome provided a stopover for some ofthe era,stravelingblues legends, including Charley patton,Blind Blake and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Lack-ing cash or the means to get it, Hooker followedthe time-honored, country poor-boy traditio[ offashioning a "guitar" from available materials. Bvstretchingslr ips ofold inner tubes to a barn dooi,

BytflTl| tllil

Hooker created a crude instrumentupon which he began to emulate thestyle ofMoore and his friends.

As Hooker grew into his teens, hismother and stepfather differed overthe wisdom of his musical pursuits.His mothe/s continued resistancefinally drove Hooker out ofthe houseand offto Memphis, where the BealeStreet music scene was thriving. Afterspending a few yeals working as a mov-ie usher and playing for spare changeinw.C. Handy Park (where he rubbedshoulde$ with a very young B.B. King),Hooker was ready for another move,this time to Cincinnati.

Seven yeals later, anotherrelocationproduced the payoffhe needed. Hookerlanded in Detroit in 1943, attracted bythe prospects ofwell-payingwork on awartime assembly ijne and new musi-cal opportunities ir the jumping Hast-ings Street nightclubs. "A lot ofbluesplayem went to Chicago," Hooker said."I went to Detroit because there wasless competition."

His persistence finally paid off in 1948 when a talentscout brought Hooker to the attention ofBemard Bes-mar! owner ofunited Sound Studio. In his frst sessionfor Besman, Hooker played awill Moore-inspiredguitar boogie over which he sang an autobiogaphicaldescription ofa youngmusician's family stilggles. Theresulting recor4 'tsoogie Chillen'," was an instant hit,and it put Hooke/s name on the musical map

Hooker continued to turn out hit records at an

lrl It was while performins in the clubs/I that he began to play elechic guitar, try-I ing to make himself heard above theI noise ofthe patrons. The new insrumenr! put a solid, electric kick into his boogie,Z much to tle delieht ofhis audience.

Hooker plugpd away at the Dehoitclubs, building his chops and a hard-won reputation.


astonishing pace. "Crawling King Snake Blues"

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FIGURE I Oper A Tuitrs (ow ao hi8h, tr A E A Cl E)


M€dium shumc t.? = i'll

FIGURE 2 Shndrrd toniDg


Medium Shutne ff: = ,l 'll

$rurrr0T[Hril0|JrJoHN LEE GAVE full props to his step-father, will Moore,when it came to theorigins ofthe boogie. Moore and otherpractitioners of what Muddy waterscal led "deep blues" str ipped musicright to the bone, creating a trance-like atmosphere in which repetition,surrounded by empty space, focusedthe listener on the feeling behind themusic. Next to a propulsive rhythm,unadorned lyrics and no-bullshit vocaldelivery, elements like chord changes,melodies and guitar solos become orna-mental rather than essential.

By the standards of modern guitartechnique, Hooker hangs by the slimmestofthreads. Regular bar length, predictablechanges and repeatable phrases fall bythe wayside, and the voice ald messagebecome the guiding factors. In Hooker'smusic, there are no mistakes per se becausethe goal is not to play the same way everytimq the goal is to capture "tle moment"

FIGURE I is the shu{fle phrase thatdefines "boogie." It's notated in open Atuniflg 0ow to high, E A E A C# E), thesame tuning Hooker uses. The phraseis plucked with the thumb on the fifthstring, and the index finger is used on allother strings. Play the ffiplets with onefinger, sliding from fret to fret up the fifthstring. This rhlthm has been a source ofinspiration for countless artists, fromSlim Harpo to Canned H eat to ZZ "top.

Though Hooker is forever linked toboogie, he recorded in many styles, andmost of his biggest hits were more hadi-tional shuff1es. One ofthese, "Dimples,"is built around a unison guitar/vocal licksimilar to that shown in FIGURE 2, whileanot}}er, "Boom Boom," features a distinc-tive call-and-response arrangement ofvocal and guitar like that sho\rn in FIGURE3 Goth examples are played in standardtuning). These two phrases form part ofthe basic vocabulary ofblues guitar.

FIGUBE3 Slardsd tming M€dhrm Shume


(based on a theme extending back even beyond BlindLemon Jefferson), "John L's House Rent Boogie"and "I'm in the Mood" (a very oblique reference toclenn Miller's swing chestnut "In the Mood") arejust three ofhis titles that made the chafts in the nextfew years. Hooker, it seemed, would record anpime,any place, for any label and under practically anyname, including John Lee Booker, John Lee Cooker,Johnny Lee, Johnny Williams and Birningham Samand His Magic cuitar.

Like his Chicago contemporary Muddy Waters,Hooker served up an unpretentious, down-home stylethat resonated with displaced southemers who hadpacked the big northem cities duringand after the war.Whether playing acoustic or electric, he could evoketimes past and presenq and locations from the Delta toDetoi! with just his guitar, voice and fooL The forceofhis delivery shone tlrough even such rather bizaneexperiments as 1952's 'nvaking the Boogie," with itsmulti-tacked vocals and sped-up guitar overdubs.

In the mid fifties, Hookerbegan workingmorefrequentlywithbands that included very able guitaristssuch as Eddie Tavlor (tetterLnown asJim-my Reed's partner) and Eddie Kirkland. What'smore, his recordings from this period for the Vee-Jay label helped extend his influence overseas.Tunes l ike "Dimples" and "Boom Boom" madeHooker a virtual icon among young B tish musi-cians and inspired several successful blues rocl

bands, includingthe Animals and theYardbirds.As the music business shifted its production ftorn

78 rpm records to singles and albums, Hooker con-tinued to crank out material for various labels rightthrough the sixties, introducing standards like theMuddy waters-inspired "Big Legs, Tight skirt'' and"One Bourbon, One Scotch, OneBeer." His 1970 col-laboration with Canned Heat Hool.,er & Heat, cameat the high-water mark ofthe blues rock era and wasa big seller across America. Even during the Seven-ties and Eighties, after the blues lost its commercialappeal, John Lee Hooker records could still be foundin suburban record stores next to those ofotler peren-nial sellers, lile B.B. Khg and Jirnmy Reed.

Remarkably, Hookeis career enjoyed a new waveof success, beginning in 1989 wilh The Healer, a col-laboration between Hooker and a crew ofhis dis-ciples that included Carlos santana, Bonnie Raitt,Robert Cray, Los Lobos and ceorge Thorogood. Itwas followed by the aptly named Mr -Lucfty and sev-eral other recordings made in the sarne all-srar vejn.Hooker l ived our his f inal years in San Fiarcisco.where he opened a club called John Lee Hoole/sBoom Boom Room. He became ill prior to a 2001European tour and died shortly after at the age of83. "I've had a good time," Hooker said in late life,reflecting on his career. "I got two generations oipeople listeningto my music, and maybe I'll get mea third." Most certainlv he will.

0rtnHOOKER'S SOUND wAS molded by theforce ofhis personal style, notbyhis gear.He always sounded like himself, whetherplaying a variety ofacoustics or a selec-tion of cibson and Epiphone electrics,including a Les Paul Goldtop wiih P90"soapba/' pickups and, in his final years,ES-335 and ES-345 semihollowelectrics.He used both open A and standard tun-ings. Beyo[d that his setup basically con-sisted of a cord plugged into an amp.

$rn0rr0tl$rEilr0MUCII oF HooKER's DIVERSE catalogis stillin print. Some ofthe best includelThe Ultimdte Collection on Rhino,JofinLee Hooker Pldys dnd Sings the Bluesand The Healer, a modern productionwith an all-star cast.8L

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"I reallylearned alot about guitar playingjustby watchingand headngB.B. play," says Bumett,himself a well-regarded arman. "I learned a lotabout heedom, ease and grace. And I learned a lot{iom Dr. John about communication. I learned alot about the way blues is orchestrated and theway it grew in the firstplace. It's through communication among musi-cians that itgrew intothisthingwe call the blues."

And on ahotsumme/sday in Reno, Nevada,several months after ses-sions we.e completed,B.B. King finally heardthe f inished product-edited, mixed and spikedwith deeply sympatheticbrass arangements over-dubbed by longtime Bur-nett cohort Darrell Leon-ard. The disc had beenin King's possession forabout two weeks nt thispoint. He just hadn'tgot-ten around to listeningtoit. The man tours relent-lessly (some have speculated that touringis whatkeeps him al ive), andentertaining audiencesl ike the casino crowdhe'd face later that eve-ning in Reno is every bitas importantto him as analbum that has had crit-ics, journalists and bluesaficionados doing backflips ever since the firstadvance copies becameavailable.

"Oh, they makin' abig'do out of i t ," Kingdrawls. "I t 's okay. Ihaven't heard some ofthe things everybodyelse seems to hear init . But one thing I canadmit is we had a goodproducer. And we had

makes light ofit, on some level he surely knewthat this might be the last album he'd ever record,and he wants to share some ofthe songs that haveimpaited meaning to his long and rich life.

'nvhen I was younger I never thought aboutdeath," he says. "But now, at my age, sometimes I

Avenue E"4.t storredJ'azz and R&B corridor) inthe Fifties and Sixties with larran3erl n4a-rwellDavis. cause l st i l l love rhose records. They reclassicalmusic, really. So I definitetywanted thisatbum to be like that.I thinkthat's where B.B.'ssound wls invented."

It was King's man-agement who put himtogether with Burnett.The two men met face-to-face for the first time inAtlantic City, New Jersey."T-Bone said, ' I wouldlike to do something thatwould put you back inthe early parts of yourcareer,' " King recalls, "nvould you mind that?' Isaid, 'No,Idontmind,butmyvoice is not like itwasthen.' He said, 'No, I justmeant somewhat in thecontext ofwhat you weredoing then and how youwere doing it.' I told him,'No, I don't mind. Theonly thing I do mind is Iwanna be myself. I don'twantyou to try and makeme into something else.'He said, 'Oh no, B-B., beyourself ' Isaid, ' I fyoudothat, w€ got it.' "

Producer and art istworked together on theselection of material forthe album, cul l ing thechoicest tunes from thevast ocean of blues rep-ertoire. "T-Bone madeup a list of songs that hethought would be good,"says King, "and he askedme to make up a list ofsongs I thought would begood. So we did. And-wot d you believe it?-weboth come up with almostthe same tunes."

Burnett had a very vivid

_"lF IilERt ts ttoTnER ulRL[, t$ $litt illtt ilttRE t$,I Ullillll ]|IUE ltl l'lY PIRI$ UlllH ilt!'

terrific musicians. And I think the songs wasokay, 'cause they've been recorded by someofthe best blues players. But to hook it all upand hearwhatsome folks is hearin',wellI ain,theard it yet. But then I didjust heard it for rhefirst time today. I ain't lyin' to you.',

Part of what males On e Kincl Fayor so compelling is the sense of mortality that permeatesthe album. The lead track is Blind Lemon Jef-ferson's somber meditation on death, ,'See ThatMy Grave Is KeptClean." The request is the,.onekind favor" asked by the bluesman, who goes onto visualize his internment in vivid detail: thediggingofthe gnve, the funeral procession withtwo white horses that bear the coffin to its finalresting place. Other tracks, like Howlin, Wolfs"How Many More Years," also speak ofthe grave.It's a chilling experience to hear this materialfeelingly interpreted by King so near the endof man's usual natural lifespan. The emotionaleffect confers a retrospective, ifnot downngnrposthumous, mood to the album. While King

do.I even found a place whcre I'd like to bc bur-ied, back in my hometolvn in Indianola, Missis-sippi. I had a lot ofthoughts earlier that I wantedto be cremated. But no, I don't think so now.'Cause if there is another world, as some thinkthere is-I'm a believer, but I never believed inthat I wanna have all my parts vrith met"

T-Bone Burnett was also keenly aware of thetrust thathadbeen placed in his hands. "t knewfairly quickly the kind of record I wanted to makewith 8.8.," says the producer, "which was thekind ofrecords he made when I first started lis-teningto him: the things he did back on Central

idea ofthe sonic ambience he wanted to create."In the movie souDdtracks I've done, I've beenworking in different time periods," he explarns."And I always ay to male it sound not like somejmpersonation of a period. I always try to putmyselfback in that time and say, 'What wouldthis havc sounded like iflhad actuallybeen in theroom with it?' Try to do it with a sense of realirylike thar The kind ofroom Iwas imaginingB.B. inu as a rrnm where I d secn him play in che Sir.tics,called the Central I orest Ballroom, in Dallas, Tex-as. It was just a beautiful dancehall, a big boomy,wild place. I wanted this album to have some of


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the sense of that k ind ol room in i t . "SoB rnettbookcd thc bigstudio atthc Villrge

Recorders iD L.A., aformer Masonic Temple andhistorjc phce in its own right. And he filled tharroom with a coterie of handpicked phyers. "The$ J \ l p r u d u , r L l r h r " r ( " ' ' r , l i s u f l l l { r u p i n rsmrll circle with everybody lookingat elrch other," says tsumett. "And I just sat right betweenB.B. and Dr. John. Thevwere on ei ther s ide ofmc, about two or thrcc fcct away. I could hcarthc u,holc band really we11, but I could cspeciallyhear B.B. . lnd nIrc. And I knew that ; f the two ofthem were k i l l in ' i r , th€n i twas k i l led."

u,ere goin€i ior, to make it so you can't exactlyte l l what 'sgoingon."

Irue enough. Most of our currcnt sense ofthe blues derives from the mid Fifties Chicagoblues sound ofCh€ss Records, as rppropriatedby the RollingStoncs and other British Invade$and perpetuated by present day labels like Alli

llator. But On€ l{ind Fdyol steeps us in more ofa Forties-based R&B s€nsibility, a more suave,urbarre vcin with big horn charts aDd a morcrelaxed rhythmic sensibility. Lonnie Johnson

089.1 1970) and T-Bone walker 0909-1975)wcrc two guitarist/vocalists who crossed from

one ofhis recer l - jgnJLure model Gibson ES J55"Lucille" guitars. He seems both perplexed andamused when askcd if he brought out somc ofhis older instruments for nore ofa vintagc tonc.-u hy? l re chuckle\ . ' l m nor \o good th i r I c inplay five or six guitars, or eight or 10, like I seesome oftheseguys do.l'vc gotmanyoftha samc

l i . r . md,ry J55s and JJSSl, bur onlv o| lc rhar l rnplayingnow, and that's the one I like."

Kingbrought his cibson nmp into the studio,which Burnctt supplcmcnted with a couplc ofvintage tweed FenderDeluxe amps. The rh)'thmguitarists who played on some of the tracks



"Had nobody bccn thcrc but me and Dr.John, we still would\.e madc thc rccord," B.B.conf i rn1s. " 'Cruse I love the w. ly he plays. I 'vemadc seveml LPsw;th him before."

Kins had also u'orked rvith Nrthrn East onEric Chpton sessions and dates .rnd with (lne

dindldroJ'drummer Jim Keitner, a seasoned vctwho's playcd u,ith cvcryonc from Dylan to Len-non. tsut tsurnett did an intercstirgthingwith thefhythm sect'on. On most trrcks, he teamed East, rn ic , r \ l i . hr : . $ i rh \4 i l<e f l izorJo on elecrr icbass. And Kcltncr is co-dlummingn'ith Jay Bel-lcrose, all playinglivc nr thc shrdio.

"You know there's two drunn1ers on a lot ofihose M u,ell Davis tracks, for strrters," Burn(n ( ' \Dl . r ,ns. -Al .u. I r , ; r , ,n n u.rn of l ' . r . \ -heat blues shuffles. It's been so overdone. Anditgot collified into one thing, wherers reellv theswingis so complicated. So Jim anLl Ja]' are r\r,ogreet dmmmers who know howto blurcach oth-er:r little bit. So you don't know cxactly what'sgoing on rhythmicr l ly . Thcfs a lwavs what we

R&B into the domain of jazz. This has al$rysbeen an imporiant musical migration for King,who prides himsclfon having recorded with the

P-ear iarz hrndlealef Duke Ll l ingron rnJ hr ! ingplayed at numerousjazz clubs and festivals.

But at thc samc timc, Onc (ind Fdvor pryshomage to the rural folk blucs of artists likcBl ind Lemon Jef ferson (1897-1930), Big Bi l lB r o o n z y ( 1 8 9 7 1 S 5 8 ) a n d t h € M i s s i s s i p p iSheiks, who f lour ished in thc Twcnt ics andThir t ies. But the disc a lso includcs thc Clcsslegacy, as represented by the mighty Howlin'wolf (i910 1976), rnd gives a nod to John LeeHooker (1920 2o01), KinCs gr)od fri€nd aDd anarlist perhaps more wcll known to present dayrock and rollers than some of the other blues-mcn whon Kingcovcrs. So not only is onerindFdror a brilliant recording in its own right butalso a f i rs t - rate educat ion in the b1ues, edi fying fo- newcomer. . l i fe : ' f i r 'n- ing for long i rnedevotces and high],v cntertaining for all.

For the One Kird,Fdvor sessiolls, Kingplayed

were Johnny Lee Schel land Stephen Bruton,wi th Nei l Larson on Hammond B-3 roundingout the lineup for th€ basic tracks.

"l've known both Steve and Johnny Lce fora long t ime," says Burnet t , "and I knew they'dbe the right guitar players for this. I wanted itt o s u u n d r u u l : h . \ a e d i L I n t h J c r r 1 t r r r . i stors on th is record. I just wanted i t to soundcoarse and beaut i fu l . And Johnny knows howto do that. So docs Steve. I didn't want any ofthose modern k ind ofpickups or a l ry of that .P 90s-those are good."

Therewere no advance rehearsals. Thebandwould run through asongafewtimes in thestu-dio, find an arra[gement and go for atake.Amazingly, all ofKin€is vocals and guitar solos iverecutliv€ with th€ basic tracks. The sessions rerllybrought out thc best in him. He digs dcepcr andplays with moreconvjction than he has ina longtime. I!'s a particular delight to hear things likethe diminished scale runs in the beautiful R&Bballad "waitilg for Your Call." But again, cgs-

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head analyscs like these secm a comedic wasreofbreath t0 thc Kingofthe tslucs.

"U/fihh, thet'sjusfthe way I cut it," he demurswheD prcssed for details re$rdingthe solo. "wedidn't do ell firsttakes. We dicl some ofrhen rwoor tht ee times. Butitwas enjoyable,bccause eachone of those glys is a terrific musician. Whentheygctan idea ofwhatyou're r ry ingto do, theyhelp you to do i r . "

The ar.lngcmcnt of "See That My (;rave tsKcpt Clcan" is p.r r t icular ly inspircd. I ts NewOrleans rhumba feel is rnitcs fiom Blind Lcmon'soriginal recording, and most other covers ofthcsongforthrt nattcr. But thatsecorcl line rndertow, a rh).thnl derived liom New Orlcnns srree!tu i r . r r l " . sui ' " 'hs .u[g ' \ .uhjecl manrr r r i t ur i -ously joyous andjaunty way.

"R.8. has used that kind of rhythm befor.c,"Burnet t points out . " 'Woke Up I 'h is Morning,stafts oftwith that kind of rhumba bcat aDd thengoes irto on€ of ihose big band sh uffles, a Coun rBasie kind ofchorus. And with Kclhrer and Jayw. $ cre gerr ing inr , ' r l l sof l i of ;n h, Ni" .n r inre,diffcrcnt degrees of shuffle. So *,ho knou,srR R sran, L l . i |g ing i r . lhL hrnd . r r . reJ pl ingit, and that was it. Once it got stared, I diclr'tstop rhem.'I'hat's what beinga producer is. touJ, 'n r wrnr to r iu rnyl r ing ro hrer l , r l rL spel l . Thrrsong, by theway, was thc second to l.lst onc thatwe recorded- And the very last was 'Tonrolrow

Nighr,' which wound up beilg the last sorrs orthc album. So by that time, B.B. had the lr.rmc.I th inL h. cut rhor ru, ' sn| le\ : r . rhc hcFi | ln inr ,and end ofthe rccord."

At fhe sanrc rime that One l{ind Favor tyasrelersed, the B.B. King Muscum nnd Delra Intcrpretive Center was opcnin€t its doors in King,shomc tou,n oflndianola, MS. f-sce sidcbdrl Thc$15 nillid, 18,o00-square foot iacility ispackedwith B.B. memorrbil;a and exhibits elucid.rtirgother :rspects of Delri blues cultur-c.

" l t might sound l ike I 'm bragging, bur Ith ink i t 's just super to havc somerhing l ikc thatin my honor," says B.B. " l bc l ieve i ( 's onc of thethings thatu- i l l be lef t herc when I 'm gone thr tpeople wi l l cnjoy for yerrs and years. I l ru iybcl icve that ."

S p , r d i r s ' i n r r $ i r h B B l ( i n g i . l r k i l , o i b i nihe company of r venerablc old grrndfathcr ortribal elder. He's lived in a rvorlcl thatl,ou'll ncvcrknow a better world in some o,ays, a far worseone in otheIls, particul.rrly for AfricmAmcficans.But there arc no straight paths back ro thatworld.Ask r qucstirD about r gxit or r song rnd youmight get u story about how ts.B. learned to flyan airplane in thc ealJy S ixt;es, or how one ofhismrn\ r \ wives hufnr J l l l - . .1 ' t loved p"sr . . in rdur ing! nast_v divorce. Ask about I b luesn an ofyorc and you r l ight lerrn.rbout B.B- 's rcceDtrcadings in natural h istory: "At onc t iDre, rhcsnakc got lc$i, )'ou knolv."

But whcrcvcr the journcy lerds, i f 's a lwayswell worth the ride.

cUE rwOttrDHowold were you when yuu firstheard Blind Lenon Jcfferson's r.ccordingof ..Sec

That My Cirlve Is Kcpt Clcrn"?8.8.( lNG I was a boy. l don' t fcmembercxact

ly , but I had to bc somewhere around nine orlO. l 'vc a lways l iked Bl ind Lenlor , and "seeThat My Cira\ .e Is Kept Cl€an" h.rppcrcd rob€ one thaf I thought it was time to do ugain. Iair't heard anybod),lately do it not th€ \a,.ry I







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{.anted to do ir. The kind favor is you're.rskingsolncore io scc that y(]ur grave b€ kept clexn.It's sort of ftrnny, 'cause where n1,v mothcr lsblrried at, I go up there tryin'to fiDd the gravebui ncver could find it. Until receorlysome guyfoLrnd it, ald he kecps it. So\,',henever I docomethere, I kno\r,\\'here it is.

Gw Listening to vour interpletet ion of the:nrg. I rpr l ized. or ter l . rp. re-re.r l izeJ rhrr . heI .that's a gospel chord proglession.

Ktr{c \ \ e l l . I srrnrJ , , r . r p1. '1 i r 'g g, ̂ pc l . { sos-pels inger iswhat I wanted to be, but here 's whathrf f , r , d. Sir r i r g or r l -e.r -eer corrrer : f l . .y i r )g.people uould ask c io plar'' agospel sorg. Ani:lu \er I J i , l rhcr 'J L onrpl .nrrnL nrr . l - r . r r r r r r r ipme.Ald the peoplervhoasked meto play a bluessorgnlwa,vs tipped. Atthat time, my mid teens Iguess,I rvas d|iving a trndor. Out ofnine tractordfivers,I was about number thrcc. I was maknlgebout 22-arrd-a-half dollars a week. The way theeconomy \rrs in lhe area at that time, that $,asprctty good moncy for farmin'. BLrt I'd €io lo lownsometimes and lneke :10 or 50 dollars just sittingn'r the corner f r lat rg ru. ic I InaJc r . I , ahundred dollnrs sometimes. So you crn see $'hatrlotivatcd me lo phv the blLres.

Gw On this nlbum you pay tribure to one of

!oLrr great heroes, Lonnic Johnsor. What wasit thetlirabbed you about his pleying? Wrs it lrNpioneering use of single-nore leads?

K c I car't rcally lell you, 'cause if l could tell

!ou lhat I coLrld play like hiln. Now I'm 82, andI've stillneverbeen able to do that. tsut rll thoseguys lho influenced me had somethingthat wassirn i laf , mcaDingthat a lot of t imes i t seemed tobe like a guy rvith a sword thar (,ent straightthrough n1e. The feelingrvith thejazz plal'els likeChaflie Christirn, Dj go Reinhardt and T-Bone\t a lLer u r , r1r , r r rn, . Lrr t i r ' , , d i f fererrr u rv.

cw Did !c'u evcr meet Lonnic Johnson?KING I met Lonnie before he dicd. lsawhim

1 r r , ' n , e . H e u r s p l - l ; r ) g o r e r i n a r r ) a l a . i r l' l oronto. A f l iend of r r r ine who f i rsr bookeclme in Ca[ada t l rok me to see hi rn. That wasthe only t ine I ever sa\ \ 'h in l ive. He diedsome months Lr ter ,

cw What \ras it like to meet him? Sonetiltesit's l1ot such agrcat idea to meetvolrr heroes.

KrNcWel l , I d idr ' t kro\ i ho1v to ta lk to h im.Incvcr kne$' hou' to talk to him. But I also had achancc to pla_vwith T-BoneWalker atMooterey.T met T Bolle therc and playcdwith him, and thatnas anodrer highiight.

cw \4rhen \ris thrt?( lNcOh, come on, man.I 'm 82!cwWell, tell lnc lnorc.xlt\tc I can't teli vou thirt nluch cxccptthey had

us playirg. lt s never beer no secret thtt f Bol1eWalkcl*.as orrc of m,v hcroes- And this was bisbirthda,v or somethinglike that.I can't fcrnemberexactly \\'lrrt it wis, bLrt thet got us both or thcs r r j - , r 1 r " r d i r . 1 l e 1 h r r l l i a . r s o g e o r r I l l i n o i sJecquet and lt u,r?"terl ClarkTerr,1. Clnrk Terf',is one of the p3eat jazz plavers and a very goodf 'cr ' , r . \ \ e r l gnr on.rage $ iLh T Eo e I l r r ' ,bt .r r r , l I I r r r , r , I i p , , I t r r r r f h , r . I r v \ v " . l i L e \ e i n !bom agrin fbr me.

cw But ],ou'cl nlet T Bone belore that? Do yotrgo back aways?

KlNc \ \ L l l . | \ . r . J d i .c jn. fe\ r r \ i rg r^ gerstarted lvhen I first met T Borc. Ktig bcgdnhis carecr cs a discjocley in the late I'orties andcarly F ifties at radio station WDIA hl Menlphis.)

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T Bone Walker came to play in Mcmphis, and Iwas livingthcre at the time. So like usual l cam€to work at the radio station 10 or 15 minuresbefore I went on the air. The people at the stationsaid, "There's somebodyinthe studio waiting foryou." So I went in, and there's T-Bone WalkersiF' i n g r r r h e p i a n o . p l a l i n g i r . l a l m o s r f e l l o u L .

cw You said vou didn't know how to talk toLonnie Johnson. Were you better able to com-nlunlcate \{ rtn l-lj.)ne watkeri

l(lNc \Vell, yes. 'Cause, see, I didn't haveT-Bone to look up to allmylife. See,I heard Lon-nie JolDsonwhen Iwas seven or eightyears old.And T Bone was more modernistic, comparedto Lonnie. Now lonnie, for his time, was whatI hope to be now. He was a guy that could playu i th aryone rnd r i r in wel l . I herrd h im playjazz,go.oel . b lupc. even some counrry. And every r imeyou heard him you knew itwas Lonnie Johnson,He played some things with Duke Ellington, andyou gonr he good ro p lay wi th rhe Dulel LouisAnnstrongalso did some things with him, but sodid [rcon ic gospel singer] Mahalia Jackson. Somepeople feel like that about me. They've used meon a lot oftunes, both over here and overseas.And I glad. 'Cause-I'll say it again I wish Icouldbe like Lornie Johnson-thatis, fitinw€llwherever I am,

cw So hou, did you choose u'hich songs byLonnie Johnson and T-Bone Walkeryouwantedto cover on tlis album?

Kl l r lc Wel l , you know, I never could p layl i k e e i t h e r o f t h e m , l i k e I b e e n s a y i n ' a l la long. So I just t r ied to choose songs whereI could be mysel l

cw You're really throwing down on some ofthc \.ocals.

(rxc Lctme put itthisway. When I was young,I could hol ler loud. I could sustainanot€ and letit go a long time. Today it's more like *-aves onthc ocean. When I was young€r,I could controli t a lotbet ter . Now I can' tconbol i t as much,butI can still do some ofthe things I used to do. Ihad to learn a way to kind of halfVay controi myvoice, which is nothinglike I used to do.

cwYou still hit the fotes real]y strong at theoutset, bui they might subside a little quickerthan before.

K I G T h a i . I n ) \ { r ) ^ f r r } i n g r o s ( i l l b r i n gsoncthingto it likewhat I usedto do. Aid I thiDkm!' guitar pla)'ingis maybe rot quite as good as itoncewas. Butlbelieve thatthe notes I play nowsayjust about as much. I do.

cw You also cover Howl in ' Wol ls "HowMaDv MoreYears" onthe album. Did you knowthe woll?

Klt{c I knew lim, but we wasn't as friendly asI wishwe couLd have been.

c w O l l r r l i n g i h J r y o u , n J r h c W o l f h a r e i ncommon is that you both recorded at Sam Phill ips 'studio ear ly on.

KNG The first time I ever saw a studio was SamPhillips' studio. "Sun Records" it was latercalled,but at thc tirn€ itu-asjust a studio. He didn't havea record company at the time. Before then, I'dmade some records just at people's houses ora YN,ICA. They'd bring in ar Ampex 600 lrdpemachinel erd put some quilts on the walls tocontrol the sound. But Sam Phillips was the fiIstengineel I ever u,orked with.

cw tsut ihen the Bihari brorhers [owner o/Kil1g's label at the time, Madern Recordsl gotpissed offbecausc Srm was also recording stuff

1 mr nr sm ltttil il Btill t$ 1 00 utilt ity nilu.lH lwtttt Fnliutttil$ LouE tltl R[$pEct,'

fof the chess brothers [t eonard aru1Phitl?(rNc You'll have to ask themthat. Some peo-

ple give the Bihari brothers a bad lame andsaythey stole fron the artists. But I think ofitthis way: a businessperson ain't gonna tel l youmuch about the busi ness unless you ask them.To them it 's just blrsiness. Thev know theybcatin'you, but i t 's just business with thern.And that's whrt the U.S.A. is tike- We gotbeat.So ifyou do['t know any better, you don't learnany better. There was other people-JimnyReed, Muddy waters...e\.en Muddy was €iettinga better shake from the Chess brothers than Iwas. And I was sel l ing a lot of records then. Isold a lot ofrecords wLen I was young.

cwSo you and Muddywould kind ofcomparenotes on things like that?

loilc No, no, we didn't have to do that. It u,aseasyto find out$ithout havingto dothat. Mudd-yand I never did talk about what they did for hinl.But I almost u'ent $ith Chess Records once. Iwanted $5,000 for some reason. Can'trememberwhatitwas for. And the Biharis wouldn't give itto me. So I told MuddyWaters to tell Chess thatif they wanted me, ifthcy ga1'e me $5,000, I'drecord forthem. Muddy called them. And Leon-ardChess, theold man, he come and ta lk iome.Isigned a contract $.ith him. B t \r,hen the Biharibrothers heard rbout that, the_\' ran. Thev comeand told me th€y u'ere sorry and this al1d that.And I stayed with them. we'dbeen together for alongtime.I real)yliked JulesBihari eventhoughIwas onlygettin€ia halfa cent a sidc for records.If I was in trouble, Jules u'ou1d alwa,vs givc me an




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advance on what I might make the next year or ayear after. But people like the Biharis, the Chessbrothers and all the rest of'em is abusinessman.That's just the way it is.

cw On your new record you also do "BluesBefore Sun se," a song attributed to John LeeHooker. Hewas also a pal ofyours, right?

Krt{c John and I were very good fiiends. Onlyhe was popular long before I was. John Lee

dead a whilelcw Thacs what I mean: when didyou last see

him before he died?KnG Oh; I gu€ss about eight or nine months

before he died. Bur I ain t ready (o see him a8rinyet. I don't want my grave to be kept clern thatmuch! One of the sad things about us travelingmusicians is we get a chance to run across oneanother from time to time, but rarelydo we get

are other things I believe too. I'm not an atheistj I do believe. But I think that nowadays it'squite a bit different than it was in the dayswhen I wa\ young.

Gw So what has kept you going all theseyears?

Kf,cWell,I never used drugs. Neverhave.Inmy early years I used to drink a lot, but then Icome to find out I don't like it. So whatthe hell

Hooker was playin' when I was plowin'. He wasa little older than I am. Not much, but a llttle.The funny thing is most ofus left from the DeepSouth. John Lee went to Detroit. Muddy waterswent to Chicago. A lot ofpeople went to Chicago.It was a haven for people from the South du ngthe early Forties and I ifties. trarmhands wouldhear about getting work up north. Now I mademy first record in 1949, but John Lee Hookerwas already recording then. Muddy Waters wasMuddy waterc then. So lot of those guys, as faras the blues is concerned, they were stars at thetime. ButI wasn t. So instead ofme going to Chi-cago, I stopped in Memphis.

cwwhen was the last time you saw John LeeHooker?

|(rrc I hope I don't see him soon. He's been

a chance to get together and do like golf playersor chess players do-we don't get to get togetherand have fun like we did inthe early days, 'cause

now we busy tryingto make a Pops Staples recently said, "The Devil ain't

gpt no music. All music is God's music." Wouldyou go alongwith that?

K G I'm a believer, because I was brought upin church. But a lot ofthe things that are taughtin the Bible,l leamed toquestion some ofthem.l'm thinking in terms ofevolution. A lot ofwhattheyteach in the Bible today-versus evolution,l d go withevolurion. I have rerd roo many lhingsthat are questions today.

But I real ly take the l0 Commandmentsstrongly. "Do unto others as you would havethem do unto you." I trulybelieve that. There

was I drinkin' it for? And I worked hard in myearly years. I'm a good farmer, and I learned towork with people.I learned about being aroundpeople, to try and be as helpful as I could. Andthat has followed me into what I'm doing now.I'm not a big hell-raiser. I will stand up for what Ithink is the rightthing, and Iwill speal up whenI think ifs time to do so. But I'm not a hothead.And I act the same with my band as I do with myfamily. AllI want from them is love and respect.That's all. 'Cause I'll give it back to them. Andii rhey don t give i t to me, rhen rhey won l geimuch fiom me, 'cause I don't pay much attentionto them. So everybody, my band, my fiiends, myfamily, we get alongfine.'cause I don't do any-thinE to them that I wouldn't want them to do tome. ihaes my way oflife. Bl

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Mlfl||stuttl::mnm[$0f :miliifiIliltirTr


Hn$]|ou r rtRtltr FrRtilER ilmttn ilcl(nw ilontmRru BrctttE t FULL{tilr 0Ent


F A STATUE OF Muddywaters big enough to trulyreflect the power and range ofhis influence were ever to bebuilt, it would need one foot inClarksdale, tlre other in Chicago,and the head set high enough tobe seen fiom around the globe.In the world of blues, hence

rhythm and blues, blues rock, rock,soul, funl< and all of the other blues-related subcategoriesof popularmusic,Muddy remairs a powerfrrl figure morethan 15 years after his death. His careerspanned massive musical and socialtransitions, fiom acoustic to electric,{iom south to north, and liom farm tocity. Even if not for his distinctive voiceon the guitar, bodl slide and standard,Muddy would still be remembered asa singer, performer, interpreter, band-leader and all-around inspirationalforce. He has made a profound differ-ence in our lives.

]|rsr0nr ttl lmuncrsON APRIL 4,T9T5,IN ROLLING FORK,Mississippi, McKinley Morganfieldwas born into a world ofboth grindingmaterial poverty and immeasurable musical promise.Early 20th century Delta farming life was hard andmonotonous, played outin the twin shadows ofJimCrow and King Cotton. But there were also jagged,brilliant seeds ofcreativity starting to flower ln aregior that was becoming both literally and figura-tively a musical crossroads.

Within a few years, McKinley was sent to lrvewith his grandmother on Stovall's Plantation out-side Clarksdale, where he soon acquired the nick-name "Muddy waters" hom his habit ofplayng in

B/ l(EtTil UItTt

the farmyard dirt. He showed an earlytalent for harmonica and guitar, andhe was lucky enough to have access tothat still recent invention, the 78-rpmrecord player. While still a buddingplayer, Muddy found a living mentor inSon House, a spellbinding Delta guitaiistand singer widr a regional reputation aswell as a few recordings ofhis own.

By the age oll8, Muddy had marriedand moved out of his grandmother'shouse into his own cabin on Stovall's. OnSaturday nights he turned it into a jukejoint, dispensingbooze to the locals, providing the music and starting to build hisowlr reputation as a blues singer.

Library of Congress field recorderAlan Lomax found him still living in thatjoint in 1941. Along with a handtul ofoth-ers, Lomax had been comrnissioned bythe Library to capture for posterity thefolk music ofAmerica, a project thatrequired toting a 300-pound recordingmachine to remote, rural locations todocument nearly anyone with a musicalreputation- The intended goal ofthis fieldtrip had been to find and record RobertJohnson, who unbeknownst to Lomaxwas aheady three years in the grave.Instead, he found himselfdriving out to

Stovall's Plantation, where there was reported to be aguitar picker worth checking out Muddy waters.

For yeals Muddy had been driving tractors by dayand playingmusic on weekends, but when he heardhis own voice played back from Lomax'recordingmachine for the first time, he was finally able to over-come the doubts in his own mind. Now he knew forsure he hnd the stuf, and he was ready to ma}e it asMuddy Waters, period.

The first step was to get off the farm and get towhere there was a better chance of being heard,

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FIGUBE 1Open C Tuning (lor to high, D C D G B D)

and ofmakinga real record. In 1943 Muddy finallyboarded an lllinois Central train bound for Chjcagoand left the plantation behind for good. working byday and playing house parties at night (and switchingto electric guitar in the process), Muddy was able toearn good money, but the dream of being a recordingstar remained distant.

In 1947, pianist Sunnyland Slim, one ofMuddy'snew musical partners, g)t him on a session {or a newlabel called Aristocrat, run by a pair of immigrantPolish brothers named Leonard and Phil Chess. TheChess brothers, also looking for a "modern" sound,were not impressed, and another year went by beforeMuddy's next chance. This time, while warmingupbefore the session, Muddy alrd bassist "Big" Cnwfordran through some material like he had cut for lomarseven years before-the deep, Delta blues instead ofthe polished, modem variety. Still skeptical, l-eonardtook a chance on taping two of the sougs, "I Can't Besatisfied" and "I Feellike coingHome," ind had afew thousand copies pressed. The record hit the storesoD Saturday morning, and by 2:00 Saturday afternoonit was sold out. Muddy Waters had anived.

over the next few years Muddy refined his electricsound as he worked steadily and continued to recordfor the rechristened Chess label. He assembled a bandthat definecl the new Chicago blues, including JimmyRogers on grlitar, Little walter Jacobs on harmomca|nd "Baby Face" Leroy Foster on drums. Muddy wasa magnet for talent, attmcting the cream ofmusi-cians not only to his group but also to the chess label.Besides walter and Rogers, artists such as pianist otisSpann,producer/writer/bassistwillyDi\on, Howlin'

Wolf, Sonny Boy williamson and later, James Cotton,Junior wells and Buddy cuy made Chess the center ofthe blues universe, and Muddy was the shining star.

waters' recorded output during the early triftiesreads like tonight's set list for any one of a thousaldblues bands: "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Rolling stone"(th€ song that named the band and the magazine),"Hoochie Coochie Man," "I\n Ready," "Cot My Mojoworking," "Mannish Boy" and a dozen others. Thequality and consistency of these records, often cuttluee and four in a day, wa-s astonishing and within adecade young white musicians like the Rollilg Stones,Yardbirds, John Mayall and Paul Butterfieid werestudyinghis music.

By the mid Sixties, waters'very identity as the iconofgritty, ghetto blues blought about a complete chalgein his audience as young blacks turned away, drawrby the more sophisticated styles ofsoul and Motown,while young whites sought out his "ruthenticity." Afairb successful 1969 tribute album, Fathers dnd sons,featured sincere Muddy protdg6s Mike Bloomfieldand Paul Butterfield sitting at his feet just as he hadsat by Son House, but other attenrpts to pander to rockaudiences by packaginghim with rftk stars were disas-trous. Although the Jobnny Winter-produced recordsofthe Seventies revildized his career and he could stilloccasionally put on a captivating show, Muddy began$owing into an elder statesman role, performingmostly while sitting on a stool and letting his road-bandsidemen handle the guitars.

A{Ier his death in 1983, Muddy the man passed intolegend, but through his timeless recordings Muddythe musical force remains,

$rrLE ril0 lrcililr0|JrMUDDY 'WATERS LEARNED TO PLAYthe glitar Delta-style, meaning he had noformal lessons. He simply had to pick upthe instrument,look at and listen to thosewho could play it better, and start mak-ing music as best as he could. Like mostplayers who learned that way, Muddysguitar style is as unique as his voice andhis personality. Rough edges ard all, it'shim and no one else.

During the mid Forties Muddy madea somewhat half-hearted attempt atsmooth, T Bone Walker style singlenote playing, but Muddy's natural ten-dencies were more jagged, and it justdidn't stick. when he cut "I Just Can'tBe satisfied" for Chess in 1948, he wasback to his Delta style but with an elec-tric guitar. Muddy took full advantageofthe charge in instruments by evolv-ing a new slide glitar sound, swoopirgup and down the neck, biting into notesand wringing them dizzy on tunes like"HoneyBee," "Canary Bird" and "Walk-ingBlues." To the limited extentthathissound canbe noted on the page, FIGURE Ishows a qpical phrase in open ctuning,Mudd/s favodte for slide.

Muddy also capitalized on the sound ofthe electric in his non-slide playing combining r thick, distorted bed of rhythmwith plucked-and-pulled upper-stringacceDts. FIGURE 2 shows an example ofMuddys self-accompalied style similar tothaton hisearlyChess recordings. Muddyused a plastic thumb pick to play the low Eand bare fingers to play the melody. Atti-tude counts; cleanliness doesn't.

0EtnBY THE TIME HE STAXTED recorcllngin Chicago, Muddy had a cretsch with aDeArmond pickup. Later, he could be seenpltrying a Les Paul coldtop with P90 pick-ups and finally his nademark inshrment, a'57 Telecaster. He tuned to standard pitchfor normal playing and to open c tuning(D G D G B D) for slide, and he used heaq'strirys (ou or .or3 for the high E) and highaction.Ior an amp, he favored the Fendersuper Reverb with four l0-inch spealent.

$tLIIruLNIIilIilOTO UNDERSTAND MUDDY'S IMPACT,you have to go back to his early Chessrecoldings, where you'll hear the revela-tions that inspired cl'icago, England andeventually the world. Some good placesto start: The Besf o/Mllaldy waters, HisBest:1947-19sS a\d The Chess Box, whichincludes a taste of everlthing from 1947up to 1972. The Cotnplete PlantationR€cordin€s presents Muddy in 1941/42olr the porch at Stovall's, with recordedinterviews. IJdrd Agdin is the Johnnywinter-produced record that revitalizedMuddy's career in the Seventies and oneofMuddy's own favorites. B[


t l 2 1 2 1 2 l 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 / 1 2 / 1 2 / 1 2 / 1 2 / 1 2 / 1 2

tsltJr q/ictbaotJ hu \t,c.ttrc t\t,hFIGURE 2

StandardTuning(lowto high. E A D G B E)

S h u m e ( t - r ) )(E)

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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krng people l ived and hol . r lu ickh thcy. lcar .nci lth ings and how rr larr ! songs drei 'hrd of thci r .ovn and rvhat songs i rerc sh:r le i l : r rourrd. tmeir , l wasjust into i t . , !ou kno\ \ . ' i I \v)s le i r . r ring to p lav i t , rs \ \ 'c l l , and t rv ing to f igurc outhou to applv i r to my 1i fe. I d(m' t th ink I tc ,ok i ithrt seriLruslv :rs :r lotentirl profcssi(nr. bec!rLrse\ \ 'hen l .ou rc voun!1, \ ,ou don' t ; i twas oDlvwhenother people sho$cd an interest dtr t I rcr l izcdthat I could meke.r I i \ . ingoutof i t .cw What abolr t your choicc of iDst funrent?\ \ rhen r l j r l lou f i rs t henr the gl r i tar and th ink,That 's $ hr t I $ant to p l : r t?cLAPTof l I th ink t l rnt \ { tcn I he:rrd e.r r .h. Eh isrecords atld BuLidt IIollv i,r4rcn itbccanrc cle.tto nle thrt t nas hc'rrirgirr elcctric glritaf rhenI think I \\'rurtcd to get nerf it. I $ ls intcrestedin the u,hi te lock al ld ro] le ls unt i l I hcrrd F|cd-dic Kingi then I wis o\'cr rhc nnxxrl I kne$ thrts. rs ivhcrc I bclonged, f in, r l l ) : l hat \ tas ser ious.properglritar pla,ving, ancl I hrren't chaDgccl nl\,mincl ever s incc I s i i l l l is tcn to h is nusic in r r rvcar- \rhcn Iln lt home, ill]d I gct thc srnre boosrflonr it th.rt I did The first glLitrr ofvolrrs \\ies r Hovcr'. !\'asn li t?cLAPToN \ ieh, i t was a Holcr- : rcolrst ic .cwDid it hrvc n,-lon stfirgs or lndal?(LAPToN l lunni lv erroLrgh, j t looked l ikc : r gutstr inged gui iar , bLrt i t \ r is steel st r ingcLl . An

cw But i t wnsr ' t too long bcforc \ 'ou got VoLrr

with the Yardbidr {@mer)

(LAPro I got a Kr,v double cLrtawa\'. I got oDebccause r\lexis Korner h:rd one.Cw Th:r t c in t h. tve lastcd too iorrg e i ther, be(ausc bv tbe t i lne \ ,ou rvcrc in rhe Yar.dbir .ds,rou wcre using Telecrstefs .rnd llrctschcs.(LAPIoN I t d idn' t s t rnd up too Ie l l . I th i l lk thcreck borved, rnd i t d ic ln t sccm to nre thrr !oucoukl do nruch rbout i f . l t h. d I h uss fod. buti r . r . r r l r r r , f ' c c r i ' . , ' r l r l , : . . i . , r ' . ' r . r < . rLD being incredib l l h ish. I fenrenlber : l t somcpoint I d i ! l r r ' t $, l t ] t i t to look l ike i t lookct l an!rrorc. and so I coYered i t in b lack r lb lon h,r , /dd/rcsi lc s lc l fpdpfr l l C.rn vou imaginc Nhati r . , , r r r ' r c . l l i l , , , f t | . l . r ' 1 , , r l . , r t " 1 . . r Lkrrkcd I ikc? I ended up \ r i tb rhc ES,3:5l DCrnd ther l I got into Ferr . lcrs. I h. rd.r Tclccrsrcf

cw \Vhrt was i t l ikc for rou $ 'hcn vou str r tcdpla) ingin the c lubs'a(L^PIoN Wel l . | rn\bodl thr i hrd ani ic le l o ihos to p lay.any instrurnrent could just abouthold their os.rr , bccausc thore u | rs r ro compct it ion there u,rs no ot lc afouud. The|e u rs onlva hundf i l ofbrncls, rnd Nnvone thar could p l l l , \ '

S,rm dnd llavc, Str\ and Ntoto$r \\.as a lnastcf. Tcrnre fiom thcblucs. ancl so I h.rd.r grasp ofthatliincl ofthing; to rn1 rcckoning, R&ll cal1]e fiorrfhc blues, so I fe l t 1 w. . rs in some kincl o i inneLsrnctLrln. nlenialh or spiritu.rll) or \l hatever. If\ n , r c . , l , l n l r \ i , r \ , , i r , ; i r r h , l r . \ . r \ , J . , \ i r , i n ;fashion, r 'our $ 'ete the l .oss. I fyou \ \ 'e fe pret tv: , u , r . r , . r r c ^ l l , l r , . r l r l l r l , , r r c . r r r J r n r . . l ; c rl r i | lv u e l l paid rnr l be successf i r l . I t rv l rs easvr " a \ r . c ! . . t . r i ' r ' r r l r . . l , h . r$tich \r'.rs die right nusicxl l i s r h istof ic . r l fnct that , i r thc err lv p.r r t ofthe Sixt ics. i t was pfect icel lv impossib le ro gett l re e lcctr ic gui t i f soLrnds her lc l Lrn blucs rc-cords using I l r j t ish . rdc amps. Ho$' d id vou

clAPToN.Just br tlrrning thcn1 llrr olLtl I thouljh Ithe ob!ious !oiuti(m u,:rs to get rn.u1p illlcl pl:r!i t rs loucl . rs i t sould go. unt i l i t $ ' : rs jLrst rbolr lnr bursr . When I r - lo ing thar a lbrrr r v i rhJohn Nra) a l l tBlues Bl e.rkers $ i th t r r ic Cl | rptonl , i t w,rs oLrv joLrs thr t i fvoLr In iked thc amptoo c lose, i t \1 'o! ld solr rd r i r f l r l . So )ou hed toput thc ln ic r long wc\ . l \ ! r \ ' and gct the r .o(nn

"l l|lts 0il $0tftE tfiltD 0F iils$t0il, $0 il I lilty I tH0ugl|t,Yts, I ltrt 0lu. 0ultt Rlol|T,'

Page 41: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

sound ofthat anlp That was when you discovered Marshars,

c w \ \ h J r $ F r e r L , J \ i n 6 p r i o r r ^ j o i n i n g l l . eBluesbrerkers?cLAProN I was usinliVox AC.3OS and thir$j likcthat, but thcy didr't do it for me. lhey were too' r 0 p p 1 : r h e 1 J i J r r ' ' h l r . a 1 ) n r ; d r a n g e a t - .cwDo you harbor rny romantic feeling's forthatpcriod at rll? I think it was Mark Knopficr whosaid that in sonc wayshe nlisses the old days,where you could showu p a t a c l u b w i t h r namp and a r t i tar andjust do .r gig.( L A P r o N W e l l , y e a h ,that 's t rue- Al tboughI don' t p icturc myscl fdoing that thcse deys.I t 's funny lor me nowt o t h i n k o f w a l k i n ginto a c lub and sccingr n o t h e r b a n d p l a y . Id o i t e v e r y n o w a n dthen and i t a l l comesback to rnc, and I fccll ike th is ;s whcre I belonfi. I menn,I grew upplaying in c iubs; thatis my spir i tual stonlpinggro0nd- And everytinrc I walk into a club,I fec l l ikc I 'm goingtobc askcd to p lay, but Id(,n'f get.rsked to plat

B a c k i n r h e S i x -t ics, i fyou did go inroa c lub to sce someoneplay, you al ready knewthose people; there$,as ro i r t in l ic lat ion,n0 inhibitions at all. ltwNsjust thr t you hungout n, i th these peopleand you playcd wi ththcm al l thc t i rnc, so inthat rcspect I nriss thatc : r m i r a d e r i e . T h e r cwds compct i t ion, butit was flicndly; norv Ith ink i fs much morer l i g r e s s i v e . I w e n tthrough rhar l l ,c ingd l " d i n o s u u r " t h i n glO yerrs rg0, s0 Godknows what i t 's l ike iormc to show up somc-whcre nowl r dlJn't kn()w what they think ofDr€no',r, if I walk into a ciub. What do I reprcsentro young pla) 'ers ' i I hrve no idea. I don' l kno*,whcfc thcy 'vc gonc in thci r heads now, whatthcythink, what thci r inf lucnccs xrc. I t probablvh:rs nothing to do !v i th what my contr ibutrorwas. I have no Leas ta lk about the s hole "Clapton is God '

thirg. werc you urcomfortabie $,ith ii?cLAProN I thought i t was qui tc just i l icd, to bchonest with youl [/augfi.E I suppose I felt that Idcscrvcd i t for tbc amount ofser iousness rh l r tl 'd put into i t . t u 'as so dcrdl_v ser ious aboutwhaf I was doing. I th{rught cvcryonc clsc rvas

ci ther in i t just to be ( ]n Top ofrhc Pops or toscore girls or for some dodg,y reaslrn. I was rn rtto sxvc the fucking wor ld l I wanted to te l l theworld aboutblucs and to sct it risht. [vcn thenI t h o u g h t r h r r I q r . u r r r o n r c L i n J o l r r r r r . i " r r .\ o i n r w r y I r h n u g h , . Y e \ . | , ' / i ' c o d Q u i r <right. My hcad was huge! I was unbcafablv rf'rogant and not a fur pcrson to bc arouncl mosiof the t ime, because I was just so super ior andveryjudgmental. I didn't hrve any time for anythingthat didn't fit into my patt€rn or. scheme

ofth Beiore that time, you'd:rctually playcd wirhMuddy watc.s. How did thrt conrc about'?cLAproN I th ink Mike Vcrnon [ t f ic p lodrrccr( f Blues B.cakcrs $, i th Er ic Clrptonl put thewholc th ing togcthcr ' . Hc got Mudd_v in thc, t r r , l r , , . r n , l r l i | , . r r r r ' , n r , r r r h , r r " j r . . t h , r r r r ncredib ly scaled, c lunsy arrc l overwhelmed, youknow? Completely overwhelned. Ar that t rme,thc blues thing was goinsthrough somc funnych.rnges; i f you pl tyed elcctr ic gui tcr , you'd. o l J o ; r J " . h \ h i t s h r J J n n . r L o t

" l ' n u r : I gin Lurope, and Big Bi l l Bmonzy hrd, too. Joshwould go on and do "Down bl ' thc Rivcrs idc '

_ : " : J o h n l r \ r _ \ e r f t u . r ( t , ,

and "Scar let Ribbons" and th ings; i t was vcrymiddle of the road blues and fo lk, and i t wasal l acoust ic .

Th€n Brownie Mcchee rnd sonny Terrywould tour and thcy madc i t palatable; theyl i n J o f , c q u r i r r e J . r e f ) o n r w i L h L h e h l L r < . ! i lthe acoust ic p iu i tar , and so T th ink when Muddy, r r n c n v e r r h e f i n r I ' m e . h p l ' f ^ u g h , J n p l e . r r ' .

s 'u i tar and i t wasn' t vcry wcl t rcccivcd. So hc$,rsn ' t everybody's cup o1 tea. l f was only thcpur ists who knew about Chicago blues.

cw It must have been xnovclwhcJming thing for'y o u t o p l a y w i t h h i m ,s l n c e y o u w e r e o n l yabout 20 at the time.cLAProN Ycah, i f that .I couldn' t takc i t j l l l in .I fe l t real ly stupid be-cause I wrs a l i t t le bovtry ing to p lay a man'smusic, and these werer h € m e n . T h e y w e r eactual ly just past theirpr ime, so thcy ' t l donci t i they 'd done what I 'mst i l l t ry ing to do- I le l trcnlly clumsy. I thoughtr d idn' t real ly bclong,but I fe l t very gratefulfor the opportunirycw Evcrybody assumcsy o u w e r e w i t h t h eY a r d b i r d s i l o n g t i r r eor that you were wi tht h e B l u c s b r c a k c r s rl(nrg tilnc, but in actualfect i t tvas a r t ter ( , fmonths;n both cases.( L A P T o Y c s , I w e n tthrough all thosc thins'sv e r y q u i c k l y . I f i e a n ,C r e r m w r s l i k e r y e a rrnd a halfor something,r n d c v e n w i t h J o h nMayal l , I was only hr l fthere, I was ro unrel iable, so i r responsible. Iwould somct iDrcs just

r o t s h o w u p a t g r g s ,c n d t h e l ' s h o w P e t e rcrcen u 'ould bc:rskcdt0 phy bcclusc I wasnot thcre. I wcnt to scc

r l l y m a k e r n e n d s . I ' dbccn looking hack andreal ized how badly I c lbehaved.

c w l l o u ' d o e s C r c r n f i r i n r o t o u r p e r s p e c -tivc no\r'? It must havc bccr il vcfy intcrsc I9

( taPlo|r I t was vcrJ intenscj i t actual ]y scenlsl ike we were together f i r three or lour yerrs. Ir l r i n L r n ] , , v ' r r l l f , , l i | l s r l ' , , u t i r r , ' w i \ r l ' i t i lwas a glori{rus lnistakc. I had a (ompletely diflcrent ideaofwhrt i t would be before I s tar ledi t . r r d i t e n d e C u 1 , h e ' r ' g J u o n J e r f i r l r l - i r E l , u lnothingl ikc i rwas meant to l t wls melnt to be your brnd, wrsn' t i t?( L A P T o N I r $ " \ I F . , n r r , , l - ' J h l u r . r - i " . l j u . ld idn' t havc thc rsscr t i i ,cncss to take contro l .Jack 13r .rl and clinscl palerl rvcrc thc pol.




Page 42: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

erful, dominant personalities in the band; theysort ofran the show and I just played. I justwent with the flow in the end and I enjoyed itgteatly, but it wasn't anything like I expectedit to be at In the Cream period, you virtualty rrn thegamur of Cibsons. You played a Firebird. r 335,Les Pauls, the very famous psychedelic SG.Were there any paiticular favorites? Apparentltyou've still got your 335.cLApro.{ Still got that 335, and I love it. I stiltget it out every now and then. The 335 was abig favorite, and that particular I irebi rd-I hadsome great times on that. The single pickup wasa fantastic sound.I think that SG went throughthe Cream thingjust about the longest. It wasrcrlly a very very powerful and comfonable in-strument because of its lightness and the widthand the f l .rness ofrhe neck. l t had a lor goingfor it-it had the humbuckers;it had everlthingI wanted at that Lookingback now, are you able to put yourhistory into context objectively? Are you able toIookback atthe player you were then and acflr-ally think, Yeah, that was okay, or, That was abit shaky?clApro Yes, fairly. I think all of it was okay untrldrugs and drink got involved. I don't think myfacility as a player has really gotten much betteror worse. I mean, I just finished doing a bluesin there, a Freddie King son& and it doesn'tsound that much stiffer or that much fasrerthan when I was with John Mayall or Cream-a bit more fluent, a bit more conEdent maybe.But what's clear to me is thatthen I was muchmore in touch wirh Ihe acrual malingofmusic,as I am again now. There was this longbrt lnbetween where I was more inclined tojustgetout of it. At some point toward the end oftheSixties and all the way through the Seventies, Iwas out, you know? | wrs on hol iday. and beinga musician was my way ofmalingthe moneytobe on That whole thing started with Jimi Hen-drix's death, in a way. The dates are almostco-incidental, aren't they?<r^Pro Yeah. It was funny how that all pickedup The Sixties were geat and we were all doingdrugs recreationally. It was more like weekendbinging: you'd do whatever you were doing, andthen you'd get stoned one night or you'd takeacid, and then you wouldn't do it again for awhile. Then it gotto the pointwhere those ofuswho were addicts by nature just cafiied on doingit, and we d do it all the time.

I think we lost the thead then, but and I sup-pose this may be a bit presumptuous it kind ofopened the door for punk, because there was nocontinuity{iom the musicalpattem thatevolvedin the Sixties. It kind ofgot scrambled and lostwith all the drugs arrd opened the door for alllhe rrchy.bittemess and anger. The musiciansofthe Seventies didn't really have a very clearlegacy. Thc legacy got very fucked and very self-indulgent.I think that the whole thing about theSex Pistols was that they were really pissed offat ouI indulgence the indulgence and that self-

ghteous stance of the Jimi actual ly jammed with Cream, didn'the?(tAPIOi Yes. First time I ever met him, we werep lay ing a t r he Cen t ra l London Po l y techn i c .and Jimi came alongwith [his mdndgerl Chas

Chandler. I don't know how long he'd been inEngland, mrybe a couple of days, but he got upand played. ue was doing Howlin' wolf songs,ard I couldn t bel iere t his guy. I couldn'r bel ieveit. Part ofme wanted to run away and say, {'iOh,

now this is what I want to be I can't handlethis." And partofmejust fellin love.ltwas are-ally difficult thing for me to dealwith, but I justhad to surrender and say, "This is fantastic."cw You became good fiiends, didn't you?

used to upsethim the most was that he got thisfixation about selling out. He got very down onhimselfandvery cynical about his acceptance.He thought he was going commercial all thetime, and yet he couldn't stop himself, in a way.cW You've recorded Jimi's "Stone tr ree" and"Little Wing" in the past. Why haven't you re-corded moreofhis songs, seeingas you were soclose?cLAtTOi I got veryjealous of Jimi. I was very


CrAtTOi Oh yeah, instantly, instantly.cwI don't think people realize how much ofablues player Hendrix was. ln a lot ofways it'sobvious now, but in those days it didn'tseem tocome into it.aLAPToi No, I know. I think n lot of peoplethought, Oh yeah, the Band ofc),?sys thingwasthe best. Or they look at different eras ofhis mu-sic making in terms ofhis "peak" or his "mostprolific" or his "most creative" periods. Butthecore ofall his playing was blues, and what really

possessive about him when he was alive, andwhen he died I was very angry and got evenmorc poss€ssive. Ifpeople talked to me aboutHendrix, I would just turn away; I wasn't in-terested in their perception of Hendrix be-cause I felt l ike they were talking about anex girlfriend, or abrotherwho had died. tjustthought,I'm not talking to you about it; I knewhim and he was very dear to me, and it's verypainful to hear you talk about him as i fyouknew him you tuckingdidn't!




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cw when did you start playingslide?craProx I've always played slide notelectricbut I playcd slide whcn I was playing acousticin the pubs. I tried to play like Furry Lewis andthe more pr imi t ive rural b lues music ians, rndI nlso tried to b€ a little bit like Muddy. Then itsortofwentto oncsidc,butit's always come andgone; l've never really stuck very hard at it. I dolove it, but somehow or another it doesn't havethe mrdness- when I got into Buddy cuy. therewas somL.thrng about thr mrJn. ." ufhs ph1ingthat I feli in love with.It was like someonejrbbingyou with their fore6nger.It was the staccatomadness ofit, which you can't do on slid€.cw Was Duane Al lmxr an inf luence on yourslide playing?(LAPTot{ Yes, very much so,Gw The story ofyour meet ing has i t thatyoujustwent to scc him ir conccrt.crAprox Well, we'd started the Derek and theDominos album and we hadn't really got veryfar I'd writtcn some songs and we had playedgigs-some touring in England-and we'd gotr kind ofpersona. But in the studio, it wls veryone-dimensional, arrd it didn't feel like we wercgctting an1'where. There was a bit of fiustrationin theair lProdrlcerl Tom Dowd has alwaysbeen

'lt pt0plt lrtffil r0 r'rt rnlltr J|mnRu, IW0|JL0 J|J$l IURI| l[|il. I rilr Lrrt lrrrr urnr Truut r00rlr

t]tilflRlFnttil0,0R I BB0TI|ER Uflo llt0 0tt0."

I didn'twant an''thing to do with it.It's takenme all ofthis lime to heal.I don't k[ow howlongthe gr ievingproce. . i . . hur in my expef iencc. r r 'sa Why did you choosc to rccord "Stone Free"for the 1993 Hendr ix t r ibutc a lbum,.Ston€

craPlox Well, the thingwith "Stone Free" is thatwhen J imi f rsr p la lcJ i r to mL. hc rr , ld me rhr t i rwas the one he wanted as the A side instead ol"Hey Joc." To me, itwas better than "HeyJoe."wben I heard "stone Free," it blcw my tuckingmind! And I thought, They're goingto put "HeyJoe" outbecause it's commercial, but he wanted's lurc Ff i c . A| ld i r \ r \ t l re l i rs l recorded rh jngthat I'd heard ol lis, alld so that was the connec-

tion to our Was your swi tching to Strats around thetimc of Jimi's death a conscious tribute to himon your part?(LAprofrYes,I think itwas. Once he wasn'tthereany more,I feltlike therewas room to pick it up.Thcn I saw St€ve winwood playing one, andsomethingabout thatreally did it for mc.l'd always worshipped Steve, and whenever he madea move, I would be right on it. I gave great we;ghttohis decisions, because to me hc was one ofthefew people in England who had his finger onsome kind of universr l musical pulse. I wentlo .ee him ar t l r , . \4rrquee. rnd he u rs p l :y inga white necked Strat, and thcrc was somcthing



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; ):{


a very clever mixer ofpeople; he's always beena great one for being a catalyst and putting dif-ferent combinations ofmusicians together to getan effect. I don't know\fhether he saw an endresult or not, but I think he just wanted me to seeDuane. In facq I d been taJkins about Duane, because I'd heard himplayonWilson Pickett's re-cordingof"Hey Jude," and I kept askingpeoplewho he was. So Tom took me and all the rest oftle Dominos to see rhe Allman Brodrers play inCoconut Grove and introduced us.

I said, "Lefs hang out. Come back to the stu-dio." I wanted Duane to hear what we'd done.We justjammed and hung ou! got drunk and dida few drugs. He just came in the studio and I kepthim there! I Lept thinking up wal,s to keep him mthe room: 'lMe could do this. Do you know thisone?" Ofcourse he knew everything that I wouldsay, and we'd just do it. A lot of those things, like"Key to the Highway'' or "Nobody Knows Youwhen You're Do\,i,i and Out''are first or secondtakes. Then I'd quickly thinl ofsomethingelseto keep him there. I knew that sooner or later hewas going to go back to the Allmans, but I wantedto steal him! I tried, and he actually came on afew gigs, too. But then he had to say, almost likea woman, "l,Vell, you know, I am actually mar-

Trnn ttu ur 00nu0s nm Rtc0n0n0 ultEnt utttltE 8R0[t ||P tt0luEilT ilT0 ilttT 0tR[ Pltct.

InmrT sul t $tttt lnlllr lltt irt,l$rc tily]ilont.'ried to this band and I can't stay with you." I wasreally quite heartbroken! I'd got really used tohim, and aiier that I felt like I had to have anotherguitar player. I had Neal Schon come in for a littlewhile, having met him through Carlos Santana,but by that time we were getting really fucked upand the band was on its way That was the beginningofyour dark period,wasn't it?(ta?rot{ I don't know whether it can be fairlyplaced at the door ofdrugs or relationships orlife issues as much as I just had to get away. Ihadbeen doingso much.I'd been out there fora long time, playing and playing, with no break.I do that a lot; I work quite hard-I always have.And at rhar point, for some reason, a combina

tion of things put me into a kind ofretirementthat I needed.

I remember at the end ofthat period that I wasstarting to fall back in love with music. I remem-ber listening to music very hard and wanting toplay very much, but I had to get offthe scene toget that enthusiasm back. Because I'd lost it

Derek and the Dominos were recording inhere when we brohe up and I went into thatdark place. I didn t gire a shit abouL the musicanymore. we'd come in and just argue all dayand have a go at one another, and then one of uswould blow up and split. The music didn't mat-ter. I didn't like the sound ofmy guitar, I didn'tlike the way I played, and it took me a while togo away and come back to it. when I came back,

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it was with a different point of view, a ft€shenthusiasm and a kind ofopen mindedness tolearn about new music, because that's whenI heard reggae. I was just like a kid in a sweetshop again.clry You toured a hell of a lot throughout theSeventies.<r.APro Toured and recorded and got out ofit!I had a great t ime, bur i t was al l fair ly direct ionless. I mean, I don't re$et any ofit, to be honesgI think rhere was no orher way for me togo, in away. I'm just very gateful that I suruived it anddidn t die. because I was often in some veryseriously dangerous situations with booze and drugs.I used to do crazy things that people would bailme out of, where I was risking life and limb incars or in different life-threatening situations.And I'm just grateful that I survived. But themusic got very los! I didn't knowwhere I wasgoing and I didn't really care. I was more into

wherever that was, wherever I'd been That period ended dramatically around1984-1985. suddenly, there were projects likeEdge of Darkness and, the Roger Waters album?he Pros and Cons of Hitcl a*ing, which sawyou playing with much more fire and power. Butit was probably Live Aid that was responsiblefor reestablishing you in malry people's minds.Did the reaction you received surpriseyou?clAPTox Yeah! I'm not sure I was even able totake it all in. I've always been a very, very self-effacing or low-self-worth sort ofperson. whenthey told me where I was going to be on the bill,I didn't get iL I thought, what? Really? And thatreal ly did a lot for me. And that reception-i twas mind blowing! from that point on, I staredto give myself a bit more of a pat on the backand to be kind to myself.Gw Did the multiple crammys for Unpluggedr a l a w ^ , ' h v s " . n r i c p z

bullshitting people: all I really want to do is toplay with dignity and self-respect. I'm malinga blues album because things have come fullcircle. It's been 30 years and I'm doing whatI've always wanted to do. I'm fulfilling myselffor other people too, because I've always beenbadgered about this. People are always sayin&'nvhen are you going to do this blues album thatyou're always on about?" And I'm doing it! Itthen fiees me up, opens the door for whatever'snext, and itwill be interesting to see what thatis going to be,crY How did you go about choosing the tack forthis record?CrAPror{ Well, they're just the songs that I'vealways loved out ofmy record collection: bluesmasteryieces that have had some kind ofpro-found effect on me, like the Jirnmy Rogers song"Blues All Day Long." Therc's something aboutthat: the balance of the instruments and theway it's recorded. The beauty and the strengtho{it have always taken my brcath away and al-ways will.I don'tdo it quite the same way, butwhat I'm trying to recreate is the emotionalexperience that I got when I heard it. Therewas something about all ofthose songs thattook me to some beautiful place and made mefeel better or gave me cold chills when I heardthem, so I'd try to make that happen again byplayingthem.Gw Do you think there are any modern bluessongs w tten today which do the same kind ofthing?CraPror Yeah, oh yeah. In fact, I would like todo a couple of Robert Cray's songs. He's thelastofthe great heroes,I think. A great singer,$'riter and player, Have you got any advice for guitar players?traPIOx Listen to the past. I've run into a lotof players in the past l0 or l5 years who didn'treally know where it was coming from. Theythought it came from Jimmy Page or JeffBeck,or they thought it came ftom Buddy Guy or B.B.Kin& well, it comes from furtherback, and ifyou go back and Iisten to Robert Johnson andBIind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller and Blindwillie Johnson and Blind willie McTell, there'sthousands of them that all have something thatled to where it is now. The beauty of it is thatyou cen take one ofthose things and make ityours. Butby learningtoo much from the laterplayers, you don't have that much opportunityto make something original.

I listened to [New orleafls trrmpet player]King oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Mor-ton, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, JohnColtrane and Archie Shepp. r listened to ev-eq.thing I could that came from that place thatthey call "theblues" but in form isn't A lot ofthose guys are jazzplayers.(lAPTor They are, but they all would acknowledge that if you can't play the blues, you can'tplayjazz an''way. So listen, listen, listen, andgoas far back as you dare.Gw Finally, you once said you had two ambi-tions in life: one was to play one note in abluessolo that could bring an audience to the vergeoftears, aJld the other was to sleep with to,ooowomen. Have you...<raProx No-and I haven't slept with 10,000women either. Still got both ofthem to do,..ifIlive that long l[

just having a good time, and I think it showed.I think I got fairly irresponsible, and there weresome people that liked it and other people thatgot very pissed off

And my guitar playing took a back seat. I'd got-ten fed up with that thing about "The Legend"-Iwanted to be something else and I wasn't reallysure what that was. I was just latching ontopeople and trying to be like them, to see if some-rhingelse would emerge. And allLhat didemerge,in the long run, is what I am now. I don't reallyknow what that is as a definition except ifs morein tune with what I was at the beginning-whichis ablues It has been said ofthose days that nobodycould actual ly predict what any given EricClapton concert was going to be like.<raPTo It would depend very much on whoI'd bumped into that day-who had managed tocorner my attention-because then I'djust gooff with them. I was just like a grass in the wind:I went anlvhere. I was l i teral ly anybody s, de-pending on what they were holding-you know,what drug or what drink they were on. Thenthere'd be the gig in the evening, and I'd be

claProi Yeah, I must admit I found it all a bitoverblown. I mean, I thought the album wasquite rough, to say the least. I think most of therecognit ion and applause was wrapped up inanother gesture-vrhich is beautiful and I don twant to put that down at all. I appreciate all of it,but I felt it was all a litde bit blolrm out of propor-tior. And frightening rf I'd taken it too seriously,it could have done me There have been lots ofbookswritten aboutyou. what do you think of them?craPlor{ I think they all take it far too seriously.It's a bit like the "clapton is cod" thing;theyall follow on from that. Survivor lRay Cole-man's 1993 duthorized biogrdphyl has got a hintof thar. l t s al l a bir reverent, isn t i t? 1 don ( re-ally see myselfas beingthat heroic. I wasjustlucky to be in the right place at the right timeand very fortunate to have survived. So I am asuflivo! but it all ought to be taken a little lessseriously, I feel.

I think if it's du€ to anlthing, it's just the factthat l'm fairly honest about what I do. I just tryto do the best and carry on working, and do itas simply and unaffectedly as possible. I'm not

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: .- wffiffiffiffiffiffi

Hffiffiffilnm nroRr suct. Lorr $rm uanns rs $fiilt fltt ltuttttttmn Btttt 0|0gotts nrruTttEIR FrR$r ucrs, Fnt00lt l(tttt rrs $ttoullt rltE roRL[ nou r0 Rtp n ul Trnsrun.

REDDIE TING, THE"Texas cannonball ,"was large and power-ful in stature, sound andinfluence. Although heshared his surname withguitarists B.B. and AlbertKing, Freddie carved outhis own distinct territory

as a modem electric-blues guitar styl-ist. Sculpting his country roots andaggressive, inventive phrasing intoclassic guitar instrumentals such as"Hide AwaY' and ballads like "HaveYou Ever Loved a Woman," FreddieKing was one of the few urban blues-men who brought the electdc guitarinto the modern world.

]|r$0Rr tt0lfft|Jilffi$FREDDIE (Hrs NAME rrAs sometimesbeen spelled "Freddy') was born in1934 on a farm outside the east Texastown ofcilmer. His stepmother anduncle were both guitar players whoschooled him in the basics of playingthe instrument Like most youngstersplaying country-blues guitar in Ter.asin the Forties, King grew up underthe pervasive influence ofBlind Lemon Jeffersonand Lightning Hopkins. In additionto their influ-ences, Kingpicked up his electric "uptown" bluesstyle from his idol Louis Jordan, ajump-blues sax-ophonist and singer whose lighthearted, sophisti-cated blues sryle dominaled the black-music air-waves in the mid Forties.

King moved with his family to Chicago in 1950,right in the middle ofthe golden age ofChicagoblues. He was already familiar with the recordingsofChicago giants Muddy Waters and JimmyReed.

By lflilttllll

Now, however, he could see these play-ers perform up-close. King soon fellunder the spell of Reed's accompanist,Eddie Taylor, and Waters' guitarists,Jimmy Rogers and Robert "Junior"Lockwood. All three players wereadept at the electdfied blend ofrhlthmand melody found in the Chicago-blues guitar style. It was an approachthat dovetailed nicely with King's owndown-home, bare-fingers approach.Lock\rood, in particular, was helpful tothe youngster. He had absorbed someof the harmonic sophistication of jazzand showed King a few adventurouschordvoicings.

Within a year, the teenaged Kinghad his first electric guitar and beganto earn cash as a sideman, He was alsoworkingwith a group ofhis own, theEvery Hour Blues Boys, and by themiddle ofthe decade he was playingonsessions for the Parrot and Chess labels.His firsr single under his own name,"CountryBoy," was cut in 1957 for theEl-Bee label. Although itfailed to clickwith listeners, King was beginning tocement his reputation as a singer andplayer. After seven years ofworking inthe steel mills and clubs, he was able

to quit his dayjob and work exclusively as a musr-cian. He had also begun to find his own identityas a guitar stylist, crafting a cohesive sound thatcombined his Texas country roots with the hard-knock experience he gained in Chicago barroomsand B.B. King influenced single-string finesse.King's break came in l960 $ hen Chicago g!i tar istsylJohnson introduced him to sonnyThompson,A&R representative for King Records.

Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the King label was theMidwest's largest independent black music producer,


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FIGURE 1 "The Stumble"

Medium Shume( ' : = J . l )

FlGt Rt 2 "Side Tracked"

Medium snume (r] = J .l)

1 0 9 7

descending sixth intervals are playedwith pick and finger (or, in King's case,thumb pick and fingerpick). rlay it slowlyuntil you have it entirely memorized. Toplay it at tempo, you'll need to be on auto-matic pilot.

Today, B.B. and Albert King are thetwo most-cited "Kings" of blues, butFreddie King stood as their equal, earn-ing his place squarely between the firstgeneration of swing-based electric gui-tarists and the blues-rock tidal wave thatfollowed. King showed his disciples howto fill the airy cavities ofa blues phrasewith raw energy, and how to turn a hand-ful oflicks into a piece ofreal music.Ics aIesson that bears repeating.


second only to Chicago-based Chess Records. SonnyThompson was also the label's house bandleader,producer, arranger and piarrist, and he framed tcingin a tight, professional setting that put the spotlightsquarely on his vocals and guitar. The first single,"You'v€ Got to Love Her with a Feelingi' (released,like most of King's wor( on the label's Federal sub-sidiary), was a minor hit and King followed it with asimilar vocal ballad, l96l's "I Love the woman." Toeveryone's surprise, it was that records B-side, a guitar insirmental called "Hide Away' that caught fireand made f reddie King a national star.

In 1961, following the song's success, Federalreleased King's first album, Freddy f(ing Sings,which showcased his stellar vocals on "Have YouEVer LOVed a woman. _Lonesome wnrs t le B lues

and "I'm Tore Down." The same year, King wentback into the studio and cut 11more instrumentalswhich, together with "Hide Away," were releasedas Let's Hide A\,)ay and Dance Away with Freddy(tng. "Sen-Sa-shun," "Side Tmcked," "The Stum-ble." "San-Ho-Za./' and "Just Pickin'"-each onea classic-were cut in a single day and, except for"Hide Away" and "Just Pickin'," were named bylabel executives. King had the knack for defininga simple, catchy melody (often based on a well-known vocal tune), Lnocking out a riveting solo,.eturning to the melody and wrapping it all up inunder three minutes.

By 1963, Kingwas financially stable, and boughta house in Dallas. His reputation among white audi-ences was just starting to build, mainly through coversof his tunes performed by British guitarists like Edcclapton. Mick Taylof and Pelercreen.Clapron jn prr-ticular was taken by King"s inventive and energeticphrasing, and aside from his late-sixties fling withAlbertKing-isms, he touted Freddie King's influencemore than that of any other single player.

In 1968, King jumped to the Atlantic-Cotillionlabel. Thanks ro European tours and his growingreputation on the college and festival circuits, hiscareer was humming. His recordings began to showmo.e sheen than grit, but his live sound continued tobe loud and aggressive, and he bumed more than afew blues-rock guitar heroes during onstage duels.

Unlike the many blues musicians whose careers

begEn to suffer in the mid seventies, King continuedto work steadily. Perhaps no one was prepared for theshockwhen, on December 2S, 1976, he died suddenlyof ulcers and heart failure at only 42 years of age.

sIffrilllrcilil0l|rt IKE MOST YOUNGPLAYERS raised on country blues,King began as a bare'frngered picker, although heeschewed the open-tuning-and-capo style of Texascontemporary Albert Collins for a more standardguitar setup. After arriving in Chicago and closelyobserving Jimmy Rogers, Muddy waters and EddieTaylor, King followed their examples and startedusing a plastic thumb pick along with a metal finger-pick on his index finger. He also learned to dampenthe st ngs with the heel of his picking hand, whichallowed him to play loud while maintaining controlofhis dlnamics. This combination ofbiting, metallictone on the high strings and muted tones on the lowstrings became his fiademark sound.

King:s overall approach might be described as"uptown Chicago," combiningas it did the rhlthm-based, electrified Delta style of Jimmy Rogers andEddie Taylor with the single'note melodic approachofT-Bone walker and B.B. King. Abriefsampler ofdifferentphrases from King's repertoire shows hisvarious influences,

FIGURE r, an excerpt fiom 1960's "The Stumble,"is a melodic phrase played over the last four bars of al2-barblues in E. This example illusuates the suongJimmy Rogers influence on King's style. Notice howhe covers the neck from l2th fret to open position.More than most ofhis contemporaries, King madeeffective use ofthe entire f?etboard.

FIGURE 2 sho\rs an example of King's single-notephrasing fiom "Side Tracked," another 1960 instm-mental. In tiis phrase, the influence ofT-Bone Walkeris seen in the continuous, linear melody, but Kingattacked the notes much more aggressively than therela-xed, swinging Walker.

The classic stop-chorus break from "Hide Away'(shoen on page 74 in section E, bars 49 52) is a $eatexample ofKing's sophisticated harmonic sense andfretboard knowledge. Thejazzy Eo chord is a \oic'ing that King learned from Robert Locl-wood. The

KING PLAYED AcoUsTIc 8litars until hereceived his first Kay electric at age 17. Butthe guitar he used on all ofhis recordingsuntil 1965 was a 1954 Les Paul Goldtopwith single-coil P9o pickups. In '65 heswitched to the semihollow, stereo cib-son ES-345 with humbucking pickups,and later he played the stereo ES-355. Thesemihollow guitars had a fuller sound dueto their size, shape and electronics, butKing's biting attack remained part of hisidentity, no matter what the guitar.

For amps, Kingliked'em loud, and nonewas louder at the time than the FenderDual Showman. Later, he used the Fend-er Quad Reverb, a massive 4x12, 300-wattcombo also favored by Albert Collins. Asfor effects, nothing other than reverb wasa consideration for players ofthat era.

srrrsft0 Lr$ftilr$THE CORE OF FREDDIE KING,S legacywas cut during his initial 1960161 peri-od on trederal, Hewas a very consistentplayer and singer throughouthis career,but as the production style and mate-rial changed, much of his later outputbecame less emotionally arresting. Somesuggestions include Just Pickin', Freddie(ing .Sings and Erde A way: The Best ofFreddie King.Bl

THI STUMEIE Music by Fredd]e Kingafd Sonn]Thom pton. Copyr 8ht O D6r by Fori Knox Music nc.and Trlo Mus cCompary. Copf ght Renewed andA$ignedto Fort KnoxMls c Inc.,Tr oMuslcCompany,ca rbert Music lnc a nd Arc Mur c colPoEtion (8Ml) inthe U. ted States.A RghtsfortheWoddexdudingthe U. ted states Contro led by Fort KnoN lvlusich.andTrio Musiccompany. hternationa copyriShtsecured All Rights Reseryed. Used by Pe.mission.Reprlnted by Permiss on of Hal LeonardCorporaUo.

S|DEIRACKEDword5 and Musk byFreddie K ngand sonryThompson. copyrighio r96, by Fort(noxMusic Inc. and Trio Mut c Compa.y. CopyrlShiRenewed and Asi8redio Forl Knox Mls c 1n.., Tr oMus icCompany,Carber tMus ic lnc andAr . Mu5cCorporation(BMl)intheUnltedstates.A Ri8htsfoftheWor d excludingthe Un ted States ControlledbyFor tKnoxMlekhc andTroMus.Company.ntem3t onalCopf thtS€.ured AllRights ReseryedUsed byPermisslon. Repr nied by Perm stonofHaL

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my fingers. And that \{as it. I startedplayingu.ith a lot more soul. I nevcrused a pick again. My tone, n lysound, ever! th ing happened r ightthcn. People c:rn't undefstand how Iplay. The average g! itar player don'tknou n'hat l'm doilrg. But it's mythin!i. Ir's whet cod gave me; I don'tnced apick because Igotfive fingers.How can one pick compete?cw One t rnusual aspect of yourstyle is thrt you don't play a lot ofchords.suMlr No, I don' t , but I p la) ' a lotof tricks. likc Muddy Waters oncesaid,I've got a lotofgimmicks up myslee\.es. I knou, when to get in and\41en to ge! out. Lots of $itaristsjust n l iss out on that aspect ofplaying. I know how and u,here toput ir, \\' hich is $'hat it's all Did man,v of youl pcrsonalpla) ' i rg t rademarks develop as aresulr ofp la l ing wi th Hout in 'Wol ffirr so long?9uMtlN Yes and no.I rlso pla,vcd u'ithMuddy \ ratelx for six months and,Lorcl, I learncd a lor fronr JilnlniRogers fl4'dtcrs' ledd Stitdrisrl. Ipichcd up irom e\.eNglLitarist I everrvorked u,ith. I'd take a note fromhere and a rote f ro[r here, a l ickf lom him rnd a l ick f rom him, andput it al I together. Thet's the HuberrSul11lin stylc. Andtha!'swhatl\l.ouldrecomncnd anv guitarist do: ljstento p l.ryers vou like and pick th ings upfiom cvcn'one and evenu'here.

You havc to learn ho*. to useyolrr instru ent to its fullest. Yougot iive different Es, you got fivet l i f fcrent As, and you got to usethen all. Iflou'fe all over the neck,you're bet tcr . That 's whv I neverused a cLan1p lcdpo] like Muddy orAlbef t Col l ins or J immv Rogers:\ {hr ] imi t yoursel f? You' l l not icerhrt kids comingup today playgreat,and the!, doi't usc a clamp becausethc,v'vc got better knowledgc Therc 's onc element of your-backglound that 's a lmost uniqucanlon!i bluesmen: \'ou studied g!itarrtthc (lhicego Consel'vaiory of^{usic. Whatwasthe extent of vour folmal training?sunlr l studied for six months $'ith this old guyrvho rvith the Chicago SymphonyOrchestra.Itwes the firsttinre I ever sau- a dude u'ho playedhnrh opecr an,r h lups or \ i .g! i r1r . t r hrd a huge'n pact or nrc. bci :use I d idn r kno$ t l -e p i rn^ke,vboard and I didn't kno\r'how to read Ididn'tknow arI f rom an A, anA h-om aB ora B f tomaC. Thatgu).sho\l'ed me so much in six months.Gw Even rhough you always played €lectrrcguit:rr {'ith Wol{ vour sound often had a bit ofacolrntn bllLesvibe.Is thatnhere vou come fi on,musical lv?suMLlN Aduallv, when I u,as a kid I $.anted tobe a jazz plaver l ike Char l ie Chr ist ian morcthan anything, but I a lso loved and heard theblues. f?fi ose pln-r,ersl were all around me, andat a certnin point,I realized how gtcat all these

dudes I listcned towere: Cherlel Patton, LonnieJohnson, Robert Johnson...all those gu)'s. Peetiewheatstrarv-the "devil's son-in larv" JesLrs,n1aD, he was somethingl Then u'hen I got r-ithwolf and N,Iudd]' I realized that they acruallyplaled with thcsc gu,vs, and that blcu, my mind.I tried to ask \\'olf aboui Char]ey Patton, and hesaid, "A\r', you voung punk, vou'r.e too loung ounderstand." It alu'ays huft nlc that I missedout on seeing and phving uith thosc old guys,because they $,rotc the book thai urol f and\,Iudd,v clectlified and expanded.Gw It sorlnds like \ rolf was vcry conscious ofd1cage diffefence bctween you t\vo.sumlr Yeah. He to ld me one t ime, a couple ofyears bcfor€ he died, that he $.as "40,vears tooe a r l r . H e . 1 r d . p o r | e J r r u l , ' L r | p r o o r . nDec€mber, \ i ' i th sno$'or th€ ground, thc di r tf rozcn as a rock." I seid, "Don t I ie , m!n-" Andhe said, " I 'm not ly ing. I 'm 40 Iears too ear l ,v .

Things ale gettingbctter all rhe fime." The ncxtvcar he got sick and \r'cnt on a kidnei It can be said thrt volr ire the link Lrehveenthe Del ta b luesnen and lock and ro11. On thconc hand, vou pla) 'ed rv i th $rol f , who u,asa c o n r L n p o r . f , o ' R o L e r t J o l ' r r . , , r ' 1 r ' d l h e^ l l e f g ! r - t o u I n ' I l i . I e d . \ r r h e . l I r | r i m e ,

,vo also exerted a hlrtjc influence on thc ncxtgencfation rock g!ltadsts u'ho weren'r reallvrll that much lounfier than you.tuMlr I'n1 very proud ofthat, ancl I got to meetthose g!i's. I met Eric Clapton in 1970 \\.hcnI playerl on \\'olfs london Sessions. I u'asn'ts l rpposed to bc there, bur Clepton said, " I fH| |herr ' . nor rhefA, I dor r -eco-J Then ! \ o l fsaid hc couldn'r record r.ithout me, so they hedto bringl11e. \ rolf$ as on a dialysis machine dghtin the studio- with doctors tendinghim night ancldav. He so sick that on a couple ofDights rvc




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didn't even record; we just sat in the studio andgor hrgh. Mick Jagger and Bil l wyman canre rn,and we part ied al l nighr long, nrn. The clearingladycame in the next morning and everyone waslaying there on the floor. Mick Jagger had hishead up inside the bass drum. loughs]cwDid you spend much time with Clapton?Sumur Yes. One day, E c sent a limousine forme, and we drove for 30 oFlO miles outside ofLorrdorr ro hir big old mansion in fhe counrry. Agorgeous place,like a castle. We had abeautifuldinner, then he took me down to the bas€men!where hc had all these gllitars. lt looked like a

caliber of Howlin'woll you're goingto do yourbest. And in those days, there wasn't even aquestion, man: you were going to play your Sutsout. There hadbeen some days inthe past whenmy stomach ached from not having an)'thing toeat. when I recorded, I would remember thosedays and remember how I never wanted to gobacktothem. And I would playlcw what kind ofpersonal relationship did youhave with wolf?sultuil We were like father and son, althoughwe had some tremendous fights. He knockedmy teeth out, and I knocked his out. None ofit

slow and slapped me with the back ofhis hand. Ifell and rolled down the ramp that was pushed upto the stage to load the amps. I got up and walkedback, screaming at him. when I got to lhe top hedid the same thingagain, and I rolled right back. l n u ' n . n i | f i n d n " r r e p f h

cw Is that why you left to play with MuddyWaters?iu||ttll{ No. Me and Wolf patched it up rightaway. In fact, the nert rrorning my wife wokeme up and said that wolf had been sitting in hiscar in front ofmy house all nightlong.I went outthere and he apologized and gEve me money to fixmy mouth- I left to play with Muddy because hetripled my salary. They were rivals, and Muddywanted to take me away from was the rivalry between wolf and Muddyapparent to everybody?SuMrlx Sure. The) were jealou. of one another:they were enemiesr "You stole my shit." "Youdid this." "You did that." Itwas endlessbecausethey were the two biggest dudes in Chicago,and they were always arguing and con'rpetingabout who was number one. fioughs] I'll neverforget the day we played the Ann Arbor BluesFestival, and Wolf and Muddy sat down andtalked and made friends. They shookhands andsaid, "No more enemies." That thrilled me somuch, I went and got a beer. This is a businesswe do every day and love to death, and I neverunderstood that jealousy. It's music. Who c areswho's the best?cw what are your memories of Jimi Hendrix?'u'rrur He was ju5r a l i rr le ol dude l iving inEngland.l t was before his band. t he Erperience.hit it big, we played in Liverpool, the Beatles'home, and in walked Jimi Hendrix, a liitle ol'hip guy wearingearrings and a bandanna. wolfsaid, 'What the fucl< is rhis g!y? T ain t sa, ingnothing to that motherfucker." He came rightup toWolf and asked ifhe could play his guitar.Wolfnodded and Hendrix picked it up, turnedit over and played it with his teeth. [dughs] Heplayed the hell out of it. wolf looked at him,big-eyed, and said, "You hired, man,you hired!"He said, "No thankyou, Mr. woll But I admrreyou and the blues. You guys are 10O percent.Beautiful, man."

I never played with him after that, but I sawhim do his thing in New York, after he hit, andI fell in love. The guy was greatl Just a little ol'skinny youngster. He was in his tl!'enties, but helooked 16 or 17, and he was good, man. I mean, Hendrix called you a big influence. Yourplaying on sever'al tracks fron the Fiftiesrepresents some of the earliest instances ofguitarist using distortion. Howdid you do that?tuf l l r I was just using my Cibson and mywabash amp, which I used for alongtime.Itwasone of the fi rst amps to have 15-inch speakers. Ialso got an Echoplex rightwhen theycame out,and con'rbined with those 15-inch speakers,thatmade "distortion."cw what soft ofcibson did you play?SuMLli A Les Paul-I believe itwas a'56.I oftenplayed them. I also had a Kay guitar. For fouryears, Wolf didn't have a piano or even a bass-ju.r two g!irars and drum5, so Jody Wil l iam.lwolfs second guitaristl and I coordinated ourparts closely and decided that we would both playKays.I didn't like that Les Paul all that much, butI sure do wish that I had it now. ftaughs] B[

factoryr three and a half walls of a room ljnedwith every kind ofguitar you can imagine.

He said, "Pick out a couple ofthose guitars,Hubert.I'm giving you two ofthem." I walked allthe wayaround the room,lookingat everyone ofthem. Tben I saw this case sitting in the middleof the room. I opened the case and took outthis beautiful Fender stratocaster and startedplaying it there, sitting on the floor.

He said, "Hey, man,I toldyou to pick any twoyou want liom those that arc up against the wall."I said, "I know, but this Fender sure soundsgood.Is ityour regllar?" He said, "It sure is." I said, "Iknew it, because that's the one." He said, "Youmern ro sa) you re going ro trke i t trom me,man?" Isaid, "No,I can'tdo i t . I don'twantnoneofthese." He said, "Take it, man. At least I knowit's got a good home. Just promise me that ifIever want itback you'llgive it to me."

I kept it for twoyears and hardly ever playedit. Then we were both at the Montreaux JazzFestival, and I broughtit over to him. He askedme how much money I wanted, if there wasanything I needed. I said, "Nothing man, it'syour guitar, Don't embarrass me." Hejust gaveme a hug. He's a nice guy. Abeautiful Did you have a sense you were makinghistory when you recorded those classic trackswith wolftUMu No, and I really didn't care. But I knewthat he was going to be one ofthe greats. AndI was so devoted that I wanted to push him tothe top. when you're recording for people the

'l ]|tum usmI PtCt( t0il]t-

IIIRIT1|IIIO 1|IPPtIItORt0iltT]|fft.'

#manered; we alu a1. gur r ighr bacl You fought with Wolf He was a huge man.iu[Llt{ Oh man, he was big. He could wrapone ofhis fingers arould myguitarneck threetimes. ol1e time after a gig, we were loadingupthe truck, and I wasn't there because I'd runoffwith this cute girl who'd been sitting on myamplifief, smiling at me all night long. WhenI go t bacL rhey ue re j us r l i n i sh ing l oad ing .and wo l f was s tand ing on rop o f r he ' r age .He started yel l ing at me, cal l ing me everyname you ever heard-and some you couldn'timagine-because he had to load my gear. Iwas embarrassed, man,because this was rightin front ofthe whole band.

So I thought, He can'tdo this to me. He can'thumiliate me. so I waited until he was lookingthe other way, and I hithim in the face as hard asI could. H€ didn't move. He justtumed back real

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Page 54: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

While Kilg rvas inalguably a blucsman, hiseefliest recordirgs fof Bobbin Record s feeturcdh a f J . s i n g . r r g \ i g \ . r r J r r r J n g < r n e n r . . L r t e r .he u 'ould fecord his most inf luent ia l uorkincludirg 'Born Under a Bad Sigf 'and 'cross

cut Sawr'-for Stax, backecl by Itooker T ancl theMGs, the R&B hbel 's f rmed house band.

Butrvharevel the musicrl setting, Kings lerdp l . . r y i r r ; u . r , r l ' , : ' . , f r - : , t , r z , J ' 1 s r i r g i r r 3 .r i \ e r J e e p t o r e r r r d : r l o r r l l ' i J e r r r i f i . r h l c . I l r .developed as r resul t of h is unorthodox tech-r i q u , . L o f t - h , r r r i o d . l ( i | l ; t l r r e d \ \ i r h l r i . g r i -tar held upside do$.n, tlcblc stlings up, u.hich,

comc up u ' i th d i i ferent st ] ' les io l io behind: , ' n r , r l , , I I , l d , , u h r r e v . r i i , . I n i g h r I r Ithree or four rhythms behnrd a song, find theone that feels just r ight and record i t . I can hearl r l E , { " 1 . r r d I r ' p \ p r . r $ r h F f o i r r o i i n r r -ing ( 'hat l l is tcred to. Lots of t imcs I heardnew lh ings that surpf ised lne. ' lhe guys at Stax

kritdrist Src1,e Cr-opper, 6dssistrondld'ru.l"D ut1n, dr unnc r A l J a c kson drid o,Tdnirr lloo/rerT. Jon!s, plus the Llen?his ]lornsj \\'ere goodfol plaf ing with difTerent gr'ooves and helprngme f ind the r ightone. I l ikedpIayingrv i thtnembccausc they \ r 'ere good idea people they'c l

Roland l2o because it s easiel to handlc and itputs out lor me,Gw Therc hlls nl*.ays been so much srving toyour lnusic. Havc you l is tened to a 1ot of jazz?KlNc Ye. I \ e r l$ a\ . h(rr r r lu\ r r u l i : rzz. r .pfc ix l l rb igbrndjnzz. On the Bobbin stuf l I used alot of orchcstrrti(nr anLl big-banLl arrangementsto lnix thc jazz \,' iih thc blucs. I r.'€nt fof thes\\'ingingjrzz arfrngen1cnts end thc purc Your lcad $itrr has al*,a1 s been ver'1 l,vIicr I.Do you think ofthe ltuitar as a sccoDd l,oicc?Krt{c Yes, I do. I p la, \ ' the "s inging$r i tar" thr t 's


. ln long ofhcr th ings, caused hin to bcld h isstrings down. "l learncd thatsttle myself," Kingsaid. "And no one c.rn du plicatc it, ihough manyhave t r ied."

€..-*-=-____--=9CU|IAIwoRLD v I , , rL. u_led I terv 'v iJc r r r ietv of matcr in l , much of $.h ich has depir tedfrom the staldar-d blues formrts. Ho$, did you. . f r i r e J r r h e J p p r , f , r 1 r L J f f . o a c h i o r c n ) ! i \ , 1song?aLaERI (rnc I d id th! t in thc studio. We would

twist things :rlound into diffcrcnt groovescw Your guitar stt'le changed roticeably fromlour eally recordings \r'ith rhe Bobbin label toyour u,or-k wi th Sta\ . You didn' t use as muchvibrato 0 ginallv, for instance.x lNG No, I d idn' t . I ne\ .er made a decis ion rochange my st_vle. Some of it I forgor and soneof i t just automat ical ly changcd. Nothing canstay the same {orer.ef.I do allofthe vibrato u,ithmy hrnd-I don't use no gadgets of anythirg.Iused to onlv use,{coustic arnps, but I went to a

$41at l\.c alwals callcd it. I also sing xldrg\ thmy notcs. l t 's ho$. I th ink about rvhere l ' rngoing-cw YorL don't play r lor ol chords.Kl t {c No, I p lay s ingle note. I crn p l ; ry chordsbur I dont l ike 'em. I don t have t ine for thenr.I 'm pal i rg cnough people r lound me to p la lchords.llauJ]ihjcwYou're a lso noled fof vour tcndencv to bendr1('o srnngs ar one flme.Kr c Yeah. Lots of rimes I don't I ntend to do that,



Page 55: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

but I'm reaching for a bend and bring another on€along. My fingers get mixed up, because I don'tpractice. When I get through with a concert, Ido['t even want to see my guitar for a while.c,_w Have you always felt that way?Klrc No, no. Just lately, in the last iour or fiveyears, since I've been really feeling like I wantto retire.Gw You are one of the only guitarists I've everheard who willstart a songwith abentnote. On"Angel of Mercy," for instance.Kr c Again, I didn't plan that out; it's just whatI felt and the way I recorded it. The bent noteis my thing, man, and I'll put one anlnvhere itfeels right. There are no I've heard stodes ofpeople who tried to copyyour sound but didn't knowthat you were play-ing upside down.|(lrlc Udughsl Yeah, I've heard that, too. Andpeople who try to restring their guitars to getmy sound. and everyrhing else you can imag-ine. Jimi Hendrix used to take pictures ofmyfingers to try and see what I was doirlg. Henever quite figured it out, but Jimi was a hellof guitar player, the fastest dude around-atrhe t ime. There s some kids who are comingaround now...uheu! I orget about it!Theyburnup the Obviously, Hendrix was a $eat guitadst. Butwhat do you think ofhim as ablues player?xtrc well, to me, he was overplaying to playthe blues. He'd hit two or three good licks hereand there and then speed them up and hit themover and over untilhe'd drown out all the goodones. The kids loved i! and I liked his playiq,too-that was his style. But don't call him agrear bluesman. I think he was going more inthat direction, but we'll never know He didn'ttake care Your tone is so tough. How do you male itso heal'y?l(lt{c For one thing,I usuallykeep mytreble allthe way up, unless I wantto play real soft, ThenI zip it You really do utilize dlnamics effectively.Do you think thacs something a lot ofyoungerplayers miss the pointofKrf,c Definitely. Because they like to play loudand high all the time. And when you get readyto play chords, you got nothing to go to. I liketo mix volumes, treble and bass. There's a high,there's a midrange and there's a bottom. Ifyoudon't ever mix that stuffup, you're not a com-plete What is the single most common mistakeyoung players male with the blues?|(|xc Overplaying. They play too loud, screamtoo high and run too fast. See, when you over-play, you get too loud and people are gonnamistake what you're doingfor a hole in the air.laughslqw You appeared on Gary Moore's Sfiil Got fheBlues album. What did you think of Moore'sguitar work?l(lt{c Gary's a good player. To me, Gary and Ste-vie Ray Vaughan were two of our best youngplayers. I was sure hurt when we lost Stevie.I really wa4ted to see him and Gary hook uptogether. I wanted to see that concert. I don'tcare rvhere itwas-I would have caught a plane.No doubt about it, both those guys had what ittakes to really do Did you give Gary any pointers?

r(| f ,c Yeah. I learned a few Lhing" from him. helearned a few things fromme.I told him to slowit down, double up onhis licks-playeveryotherone so l ha r you cou ld f ee l wha thesdo ing . l lyou play too fast or too loud, you cancel your-selfout. But Gary plays a whole lot ofnotes andstill sounds good. Every now and then you'rebound to put them in place ifyou play enough.Iougi!s]€w A lot ofblues players hit the right note andplay rhe r ight changes. Yet, somelhing's miss-ing. whatis that something?Klx€ I'm going to ask you. You're the listener.what do you hear or nothear?cw It's hard to describe.It's more of a feeling.Kr c That's it. That's it, man. Stop dght there.Don't overthink this. I just told you, once youlose the feeling you ain't got nothin' but a's not deep.cwSocanlou learn ho\r ropla) thebluesfroma book or reading music?t(lic No way, man. First, you got to get in yourmind what you want to play. 1f you hear a goodlick-even if you're just rehearsingto yourself-and you feel it, then hit another one and another

about every one l've ever had has been why didyou name your guitar "Lucy"?Kr c Luci l le Bal l . I lo\ed It didn't have anything to do with B.B.'s

Krxq You'd have to ask B.B. Mine was namedLucy Have you and B.B. always gotten along, orhas there been any tension between you-forinstance over the fact that B.B. is always called"The Kingofthe Blues"?Kt{cohcod,no. Me andB.B. and Bobby lBldnd]always got along geat. we go all over the coun-rD andse l l ou te \e r y thea re rwego to . Nomi . -understandings, no arguments. I'll open theshow for anybody as long as I get paid off. Illbe asleep in my horel while B.B. s <r i l l playing.and rhar's f ine wilh me. B.B. s a night owl. Hecloses the showbecause he stays up mostofthenight talking, anyhow. Ua ghslGw Has the fact that you once played drumsaffected your guitar style much?|(lrc Not really, except that I can tell immedi-ately if a tempo is ofl Being left-handed affected

'lcilr plly cttonn$ BttT lnorT Lnfi Tu.I nOIT ttIUE IIIIE FOR TIIEIII

one and another one. The next thing you knowyou got 15 or 20 different licks you can hit, andthey all feel good. But if you rush right through,hitting them all, you'rc not even going to knowwhatyou did. You've got to takeyour time andlearn your bag one lick at a time, and tale yourr i h a i n w ^ ! ' r . l o l i w a F ,

cw Your first appearance at the Fillmore F9681opened up a whole new audience for you, wereyou surprisedthatthose people were waitingtohear your music?Klrc Yes, I was very surprised-and very glad.They made me welcome, treated me nice. BillCrahem opened up e young, white cror,vd for meh v n , ' t r i n c m F i n r h F r F

cw Robert Cray has remarked that he had one ofthe biggest th lls of his life when you recordedhis song, "Phone Booth ." l'I'm in a Phone Booth,Bab!," 19841l(l[c Yeah, I did one ofhis songs because thegroove fit and that's what I look for. Robertis a good player and a very nice person, but Ihaven't seen him in a while and I hope thatsuccess hasn'tgottento his head.I've seen thathappen to many, many people, and it's one ofthesaddest things you'll ever see. It matters whoyou sre and what yolr're made of. AnFime youthink you're geater than the people that buyyour records, that's when you lose You have such a commanding stage pres-ence. Is there anyone who would intimidate youifthey walked onstage?Ktxc No. If it's my show, it's my stage, and Iwon'tlet anyone messwith me. Believe when did you sran using rhe Flying v?Kt c Oh, man. Way back around 1958. Just

my style more than an''thing. I started playingdrumsjustbecause I got a gig with Jimmy Reedand needed the money.Gw Why haven't you ever used a pick?Kt c I couldn't hold one-my fingers were toobig. I kept trying and the thing would fly acrossrhe house. I jusr always had a real hard t imegrippingit, so I learned to play without one.qw what type ofmusic did your first band, theIn the Groove Boys, play?xtrc We only knew three songs, and we'd playrhem fast, medium and slow. That made ninesongs. Somehow that got over all night lo[ Did you play strictly by yourselfwhen youstarted?|(l c I rehearsed to myselffor five years before Iplayed with another soul. That may account forsome ofmy style. I knew that playing the blueswas a life I chose to lead. And when I startedthere were three things I decided to do: playthe blues, play em righr and make all the grgs.And I have. I've never drank liquor in my life oruseddope, and I don't allow itaround me. Thathas alot to do with why I'm still doingwhat I'mdoing, still feelinggood and still in good health.It makes me sick to see the things that people doto themseh es * hen thel get al l messed up.€wEvery l0 or 15 years there seemsto be a bluesrenaissance and people saythere's one happen-ing now, rs it real?KI{c Theblues "come back" wheneverpeoplereal ize that they can make money booking ir .You didn't hear about young bluesman fora while until stevie Ray and Robert hit, butthey were always around. It's just a matterof exposure. BI

Page 56: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'LlTTLt l|llllCI'$TEUE Rtr rrrlontlAs heardon GREATEST HI.IS (Eprc)

Words and Music by Jirt Hend.ix i. Trdnscnbed by Dave Whitehil! * B ass transciption by Matl Scharfglass

Gtr. is tuned down one half step (low to high, Eb Ab Db cb Bb Eb).Bass tuning,low to high: Eb Ab Db cb.All musit sounds in the key of Eb ninor, one half step lower thnn v)ritten.

E rnt- (o,oo)

sbwry J =60 (tr =JIlr)" E m

*Gtr. I (el@. wnighr dist.)


Gsus4le' choals nn8 fircuBhtul

astrutocdster Vni.ldL an ! bndse pickups 6.r.Chotd srnbok rellect o\erall hatuonr.


,\|*Fret 6thatnrg-rcot chot ls thunb throughout.


""""J'. . ! .Bm7 Am

r y * f

Gaddg Aaddg Gaddg Faddg Dsus4 Dsus2

@tn"-" 10,:a1N.C.{Em7)D

10 Gtr. I

Bass Fi8. I


N.0.{Em7) (G)a@

Page 57: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

ilTILt Uil0'

Gaddg Aaddg Gaddg Faddg

Elr. , ' tN.C.(Em7)

? pitch: D G B E

q p q

*rop note is vnded stmprtheti.all, b! adjrcat sdne ib.ato.l-----l

Dsus4 Dsus2 D


Page 58: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

iltTtE util0'(c) (c) {F)



\ 9 / p n I a n d f n E P r - - - - - - - - - - - .

14 14 14 12+11115-11-

tAmTl /^\

Page 59: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

iltTtE uil0'F


E e,*rN.c.(Em7)

IL1i11"21--,r.l2p ;1-a ri +o"t--l

12|12t-+12-12I-O 1-O#12t12Ft12-|-12F0--+0#-0-12+121-+1^ri +121 0 fol+

*B.P.-M.P. tr*Switch pi.kup selector k, bridee and thd middle positiot,

Bass Fi8. 2k t r inS- - - -1

{Am7) I *

Page 60: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

.LITTLE UIIIO'-==-------

1O_- t 2 r r 1 2 1 1 1 1 -

El p*rN.C.(Em7)

Gtr. I5l

Bass repeats Bass FiE.2 siaile (see bar4l)


15-1514 12 12 16-



Dsus4 Dsus2

I Rass plals Bass Fie. 1 simik

(Bm7) (Bb5)

Page 61: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

ilTTtE Wil0'

12-r+15\14 12-14 12-:-14-

*svit hfdn bn.lse to ni.!. e pi.kup.

7-29 7 5

? *15' 15 15 1718 1715 l7l5 t9 - t7.19- 17 17- | 17 --r_117]_1715:17 | |

ppp np


.bShtlt Jret without PickinS.

Page 62: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'LITTLE Wlll0'+

(G) IH




8 l

Bass ptoys Bass Fis.2 twice sinik (see bar4l)

x+14114 12_r_

(Am7)8 3 , .

Page 63: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

I LITTLI UIIO'D6 D Dsus4 Dsus2

l l


E o,ss)N,C.(Em7)

14' 1416' 16' 16-14-16-14\-x1 2 X

lBnT) ,,.a. ma

DO D Dsus4 Dsus2 D

" (G6)Freely (6:36)

ct. (D5)101 ffi

bridge and neck pickups oD

Page 64: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends


Elec. Ctr.(wnisht dist.)

'J|IDE illlll' FREDuTE rtlroAs heard on 17 GRDATEST HITS acusro)

Music 6y Freddie King and Sonny Thompson * Tmrucrired ,/ Troy Nelson * Bass trdnscription W Matt Scharfglass

J=tsl 1I : .1 .1;

* E 7

1 ^ P . M _ - _ - _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _

Maitr Theme (o:oo)

P M . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


*Cho.d slnbols rcfect overall hamoty.

Page 65: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

']|l0t lulY'@ ro'a

B6s rcpeats Rass Fig. t (see bat t)t_t



Gtr.B ,

Page 66: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'l|lDt lmrlnl a,ourCE. - '

Eass plays Bass Fis. I sinila (see bat tl


@o,,ur' J - t - - - - - __________ ,wtpiL an l fited- - - - - - - -

Page 67: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

']|l0tMrI F I n:48)

E76t pM.- - - ---- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - !plg-4lY':')

7-7-7-7-7 7-7-7-7-

I G I Main Them€ Reprise (2:08)

A7t M . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Page 68: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'mBl$J|RIB'BlltoBLnffiAs heard on THE BEST OF BLIND BLAKE (yAzool

ftdnscribed rv Jefr Ferrin

Tune down one half step oow to high, Eb Ab Db cb Bb Eb).Mwic sounds one ha( step lowet than written, ih the key of B.

A7 D7/Ffr

tuffi++hffiffiFrraTa riFFFr ffi djT' nlFfl' t 2 1 3 I l 2 l l3 2


rr-rrnr t t 2

D9 C7x x o o ) ( o+#+l F+*.1+Tl-l nmllFrTrF] ffltfl

2 t 3 2 4 1E rntro (o:oo)

Fasr , = 180

,t _1

I I 1 4

A A 7 ott* c7

c@ {orz. t ':l)



fingerstyle, Vligbt paln buiDg on bas st ings throuehout

D911 . ,2 .c

| | 3.-6.G7 c G T C

(ake rcpeat frst tine okly)

3. EYery

4. Grab5.l irow6. Peoplc

lltllo kid

m0 mamayour handscomo lrom


r. Doxrn solth on2. Thcyaredoln' il

Wabashni0ht andlhat you


iold me tlghtway up hi0hmiles aruund

Evsrybody youyrill drlvo youlin the alley

L8t's meEs aroundGnb me mamaGet on Wa[ashotri

Ghance lo meelblucs ayJayin lho shoetthc rest ol the light

maKo me ctybreak 'em down

r.{. Doin' lfiatc


that Wabash

D7 G7



13.' 3 tines for Ye6es ) -3play twice ht Yersa 4 and 5pla, oncefor YeBe 6. thenskip ahead to @


E]v€rscs (0:33. 0:a3, 0154, 1:43.1:53,2:22)


Page 69: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'ullBl$]| Rl8'E] Brtdge (1:04,2:03)

S€l 'em set 'em



set 'em s6l 'em set'rm sel '€m s8l 'om sol 'om sot'8m

Substitute Fill I second time

ssl 'om sot '6mD7

sot'8m sol '6m ooin' thatc

that WabashD7 G7


]a0c D 7 G 7 G

E Int€rlud€ 0:24,2:31) (2nd tine) spoken: Everybody ., sel'emDTIFT G7

D7 D7IFfi

lhat Wabash

E outro (2:3e)D7G7A7


]a0thal raoA A 7 D7IFi G7 C7



lst tine. Ao back toEl

4th ttne, ao back toEl

Page 70: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$l0Rill il0llDlY'TttE rllitril BRuTttER$ BriluAs fieard on AT FILLMORE EAST (poLyDoR./

Worlls dnd Music W Aaron..T-Bone,'Walker * Iranscnbed by Tloy Nelson and Steve cor.enberg

Abg D+lma inlI t f i n F t F t + lffiF |rIMrrrrrl F-fT'Fl

1 3 2 4 3 2 1 1

c9 G7f+-ri?r' ITF!''If f i f f i

1 2 4 I 3 l 2 t r

G A m B m

FT-FT- FTFTF] Il-fi-Nl 2 l l l l t t l 1 1 l




n:Ig|6f,FI+I H

3 t t t


ffiI 3 l l l


iffi'n rrrrrrf f i f f iFrFrTl t-a-rT-l

3 l t t l 3 4 2 l l

BbmT 'Am7/D

ffi6F -----l5nTTTTN FTTT-I--TTF] TI-TTNI 3 3 3 1 r 3 l l 3

.8.$ Pt+s t.w D



I 3 : , 1



- T-Trl




ffiI 1 3 3 3



Fti#t t 4 2



t 3 1 2 4

b m /

ffi*rTa-aT lffi


arraTlt t t t t aTTTT-N

3 2 4

E rn,.o ro,oulFreely .l =92..G9

Gtr. I (Duane Allman)


Gh.. I

Gbg G9 AbgSlow Blues ,. =60

Gg D+



aaChotd rrnbols reJlect ihplied tonalitt'.

( T H E Y C A L L I T ) s T O R M Y M O N D A Y G T O N M Y M O : ! D ^ ' Y B L O E S )r r s r c c 0 . ( 8 M t , c r r c M A R X M | s l c , l | r c . { B M t , L o n D ̂ N D

W A L ( T R M U S I C P U B L I g I N C ( B M I ) ̂N D S O N C S O ' C g E R N Y L A N E V E N T U R ! S ( D M I T

Page 71: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0RlilY lil0ll0lr

"Cm/Eb '^CmTlEb

E rst vers€ (1:06)

Thcy call it stormy MondayG9 C9

end Bds Fis. I sinile

Tuesday's iusl as badAbg G9

Bds repedt B6s Fis I sinile (see bq 1)

Page 72: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$t0nilY iloll0lY'_it

They call it stormy Morday

but Tuesday's iust as tadAm7 Bm7

Lord and Wednesday's wo.s€


Thursday's also sadCnTtEb cg D+

E 2nd Vers€ 0:55)2. The eagle fliss on Friday Salurday I goout to play


B6s plars Bs Fig. I sinile (see bar 4)

Page 73: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0R]ll il0ll0lrThe eaglc tlics on Friday and Saturday I go

Go , , tD t /2)


E 3rd v€rse (2:45)

3. Lord havc mercyG9

Lord have msrcy onmeG9

B6s pldys R6s Ftg. I sm e (see bar a)

Page 74: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0nlill il0il0lY'Lord ftav€ mcrcy Lord have

And lh0ugh l'm tryin' tryin'to lind my babymercy 0r me

won't somsbody plcase send her homecmTtEb c7

tr lst Guitnr Solo @uane) (3:35)

G 9

Bass plays Bass Fig. I simile (see bar 1)

Page 75: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$t0nitY it0rutr110 { i0)_10111



Page 76: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0niil it0il0trm {a.25r@ to,rut

' i ;

Page 77: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0R]|Y il0il0tr

Page 78: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0RilY il0il0lY'G Orgrn Solo 1514)Double-time jrzz walE l€el

G9 C9 c9 Ahc

Page 79: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0ntilt il0lt0tr

Lgl 2nd Cuitar Solo @ickey) (6:02)



Bas ptays R.if FiE. I sinile (se bar 4)

let ling

G Am7/O

Page 80: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0niil it0il0trN.C.(C7)

lel inq - _ - - _ j let linA _----: -

B6s plays B6s Fig. 2 simile (see bq 64)

Page 81: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0RitY til0illlrAbmT Am7

E 4th velse (7:42)

G9Lord have mercy

Lord ftave mercy

Page 82: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends

'$T0Rill il0il0lY'__it

navc metcy 0n me


Tell me baby Lord you know l'm a - lryin' tryin' tryin' to lind my baby

A.f,T lD AbmTAmT

Page 83: Guitar Legends (2009) Blues Legends