SRV was a big one for me as well. He played with such power and finesse all at the same time. Not many players have the ability to do that. For most of us you are either a smooth player, or a rough and gritty player. I have heard bootlegs a friend of mine from Austin has of Stevie, and man that guy could pull off a mean ass Kenny Burrell. Most have heard his version of Chitlins Con Carne, but that was just the tip of the Ice Berg. Unfortunately now there are a lot of SRV haters in the world.
I was looking back at the other posts and saw you had also asked about particular songs for the artists. Here are a few for me.
For Rick Holmstrom it was “Hit It” and “Going to Get Wild” for the Jump stuff. Then when I heard him play “Eyes on the Prize” and “You’re Not Alone” with Mavis Staples my world was rocked again. The whole sparseness of his playing, and the incredible groove all those guys can get with so little.
Robert Lockwood it was his playing on “Keep it to Yourself” on Sonnyboy Williamson II’s recording for Checker Records. This one I do not know for sure if it was him, but I have always been told it was, but the guitar work on Little Walter’s “Shake Dancer.” The guitar in “My Babe” by Little Walter (whoever the guitar player was, but believe that was Louis Myers) was another one for the sparseness and slave to the groove mentality. If you want to be a blues player, I think if you really study those three tunes, and how to use them, you will have all of the tools you will ever need.
Earl Hooker it was the tune “Lucky You.” Countless others of his also. His stuff with Junior Wells also was big for me. Louis Meyers is another big one for me, and was another one who played on a lot of the Junior Wells Chief Recordings, and the Little Walter stuff.
In the Jazz side it was Mary Osbornes’s versions of “I Love Paris” and “How High the Moon.” Also with Billie Holliday I loved the playing Mary Osborne did with her on the tunes “The Man I Love” and “I Surrender Dear.” These songs were big on me by how she reinterpreted the melodies into her solo. So many of the jazz guys when they improvised the melody eventually got lost, and started to turn into just licks being played. I loved how she always kept that since of the original melody there.
Barney Kessell it was his version of “One Mint Julep” and his recordings with Julie London like “Cry Me a River” and what he did with Billie Holliday.
One I was just thinking about, that I really love. Whit Smith of “Hot Club of Cowtown.” He was another one that opened a lot of new doors and techniques for me. I love guys that have that kind of knowledge in chords, and can play all of those different chords behind someone to create movement, yet somehow are never in the way. Everything stays harmonic and has a purpose to the song, and he is not just playing a bunch of hip chords. You hear so many people, that when they play that way, it just sounds like someone playing just a bunch of random chords. It is very easy to fall into that. Whit really has a special knack in that regard. A saying I heard a close friend say one time, and it is always is in the back of my head because I thought it was a really good point. “All these hip whole tone licks, or fancy chord movements are fun and cool, but if they do not serve the song then you are just up there masturbating in front of everyone.”
Man that is tough to keep short like Craner said. Especially for a lot of us, because I think a lot will be like Craner and I and have such a broad interest in what we like. If I had to pick one it would probably be Brian Setzer. Not only was he an influence on my direction, but he was also a big gate way into all of the old guys I discovered. All of these blues cats he quoted, the numerous swing guys (whether big band or Western) and of course the rockabilly guys. He was a big reason I found all of these guys. Rick Holmstrom is the same for me though, for the same reasons. Big influence on my direction, and opening up a whole new world at the same time. So it is really hard to decide between the two.
Blues guys of the past were all of the session guys, especially Earl Hooker,and Robert Lockwood. Albert Collins was a big one in the lesson of make every note count, and put everything you have into it. I have always been drawn to the less is more kind of players.
Jazz players it was Mary Osborne, Kenny Burrell, and Barney Kessell.
The odd man out, that will make people say what the hell, Adam Jones from Tool. He was a huge influence in his creativity and everything trying to be the perfect counter part to the tune. Guys that really try to push for something different, staying rooted to the tradition. Rick Holmstrom is another big one for me in that respect. I think he is the man to listen to if you really want to be a good comping player in a roots scenario. He is a master of backing people up.
Jason, Tommy told me you were heading out that way and he was hoping you would be able to drop by. It is fun out there. It does make me appreciate the life we have out here though. So laid back and calm compared to that. I have been out a few times to play and hang out. I just missed Nico the last time I was there. He went back a day or two before I got there. It was alright because Paul Pigat was there, and I got to see him play with Tommy and Kid Ramos. Nico is a good player. You should enjoy the Beach Fire.
Here is a humorous story for you to illustrate how deep that rivalry was in our family between Carolina and Duke fans. In the back of my Great Grandparents farm were some woods that had a big ravine. It was probably pushing about ten feet deep at the deepest part. From all of the years of the leaves shedding, it didn’t look very deep and was hard to gauge where it actually started to descend. One day we were all at the house for the game and the grown ups were going crazy in the house. All of us younger cousins all went into the woods to play. We started throwing each other into the leaves wrestling and horse playing. Myself and another cousin grabbed the youngest cousin, one by the hands, and the other by the feet. We picked him up and slung him into the leaves, and he just disappeared. Up until that point when people fell into them you could still tell where they were, but he vanished. We waited for a minute thinking he is just messing with us, but he never came back out. Then it dawned on us that we near the ravine and probably threw him in it. In a young kid panic, and fearing severe punishment, we ran back to the house. We just sat back down and started watching the game. After about 10 minutes the cousin we all threw in the leaves comes in the door, and ended up having a broken arm. When asked what happened he said that all of us threw him into the ravine. They looked at us sitting beside the couch, and we just said we have been in here watching the game. No one even knew we had left. They never noticed us being gone for half the game. So they blamed him for trying to get his cousins in trouble. Eventually one ratted us out later on though. That is how intense, and focused they were on the game.
We had a saying as kids being Carolina Fans. You’ve probably heard it. Duke is Puke, Wake is a Fake, but the team we really hate is NC State. Our family though, State just kind of rode in the middle. We really never cared if State did well or not, but we always pulled against Duke. Maybe it was because State was never good enough to worry about. LOL 🙂 Duke has it on all of us right now though because they were the only ACC team to make the Final 4.
Yeah I get it! LOL. So who is your allegiance too? Duke or the Pack? I am going to say Duke because people tend to be more anti-Carolina if they are a Duke fan. That is where the bigger Rivalry is now. My family is pretty big, and it was always split pretty much down the middle Duke or Carolina. Whenever they played in basketball on TV we all went to my Great Grandparents house to watch the game. She lived on a farm so she had the room for (No Lie) 30 cars that would line up at the house, between all of the aunts, uncles and cousins that would show up. I am surprised they never lost a TV because it would get crazy up in that place when there were close games. You would have a questionable call, something like charging, and whatever team it went against would just go crazy. Then they would get arguing with each other because the Carolina side would say “man that was charging”, and the Duke side would say “are you crazy that is a BS call.” It was great. LOL.
Some thumpick makers that offer various size and tips, are National and Fred Kelly. Dunlop, Ernie Ball, and D’Andrea offer just one style in their line. One thing different on these picks is the size does not refer to pick thickness, but to the opening for the thumb. Example, if a thumbpick says medium that means it is for medium sized thumbs, and not a medium gauge pick like a Fender Medium celluloid pick. Fred Kelly offers a lot of styles and tips, some being just a regular pick on a strap. National offer really just the one style but different tip sizes, some almost no existent.
The never ending search for picks. I am like you and primarily play with my fingers. Hey it works for Rick Holmstrom, Derek Trucks, Albert Collins, and the countless other blues pioneers. For me I personally like thick picks, 1.2mm and bigger, but really like the 1.5 to 2.0mm and a slightly rounded tip. This is because of the control of dynamics I can get like when I play with my fingers, and the thicker pick, and little more rounded tip, fattens the tone like when you play with your fingers. Thick picks cut out the higher frequencies, as does the more rounded the tip gets. The Jazz III and the Jazztone (which can be found with more rounded tips) picks by Dunlop have a good tone and play well. For me though they are just too small because I am always switching from the pick being in my hands and then tucked away for finger style. So I tended to drop them a lot, and a pick that small and dark is a bitch to find on a stage. Good alternatives that I have been happy with to get that sound in little bigger size is the Dunlop Ultex picks. They come in a couple of shapes and the standard ones go up to 1.14mm in thickness. These have a very good tone, grip well to your hand, and really last. Dunlop now makes a line they call Primetone that are made from this Ultex material and go up to 1.5mm in thickness and can be found in any Dunlop pick design. I have liked these, but they are pricey. A 6 pack will run you $10-$12, but they last as close as you can get to forever, so unless you loose them you will never buy new picks. Plus to me they really give you the same tone and grippyness as the famed V-Picks, but you get 3 for the price of 1 V-pick. Dunlops’ Gator Grips and Dunlop 500 picks have a nice feel and tone also, slightly smaller than a standard pick, and go up to 2.0mm in size. These are also cheap like standard picks. Around $5 for a dozen. I just do not like their material as much as the Ultex. The Clayton Acetal picks Craner mentioned, by way of Tommy, are very nice sounding. I love the tone, and they last. Cheap also. For you though they will probably be too big because they are slightly larger(in shape) than the Dunlop Tortex you mentioned. A little more pointed at the tip as well. The other thing that I do is take a thumbpick and file it down so the tip is the same size as what was sticking out when I held a regular pick. I like this when I know I am not going to take the pick off (so I do not use it at blues gigs). When I was talking to Paul Pigat at Tommy’s clinic, he said he did this same thing with his thumbpicks. So his word is a little more reputable than mine. LOL. Thumpicks, like the really tiny Jazz picks take a little getting used to. Being accustomed to playing fingerstyle you will adapt to the thumbpick fast once you find the tip size you like.
Very cool Dan. That is one of my favorite songs of hers. “I love Paris” and “I’m Beginning to See The Light’ are the only things of hers I have worked out. I find “I Love Paris” very fun to play. Right now in that tune I am trying to work out how the piano player moves through his chords backing that tune. He does some very cool voice leading that really gives that song a lot of its character.
Wynonie Harris is how I came across her in a round about way. I heard the stuff she did with him, and always liked the guitar work. So I tried to find out who it was and no one really knew. A couple of years go by and Vintage Guitar magazine did an article on her because she had just passed away, and talked about what an unsung hero she was to the guitar and the challenges she faced as a women during that time. In the article it mentioned all of the things she played on, and the bands she played with, and it mentioned Wynonie Harris. So I finally learned who that mystery player was that I had been searching for, and boy it was on then. You still have to look hard to find her even when you know where to start. From what I read, she was like Les Paul and played regularly up until she died.
I have to say that my favorite all time jazzer, and if I had to choose to play like one, it would be Mary Osborne. I think that chick smoked. Not the flashiest, or fanciest, but I just love how she played. I think it is a shame people do not know her, or talk about her. I love that album “A Girl and her Guitar.” I have a lot of jazz albums by all of them, and I really just listen to them to study them. If I am not trying to learn something I do not listen to them because the music just doesn’t do it for me. Mary’s albums, especially “A Girl and Her Guitar” I pick up because I want to listen to them. I just love the music. I think it is because it is so melodic and to the point. Not a lot of the fluff you hear in albums by people like Joe Pass, or Barney Kessell.
I have always like Grant Green. All sides of him. I have noticed that he is like George Benson and branched out away from the more traditional jazz. When he did that you hear a lot of people complain about his music, and the people that do not like him just do not like the one side of him. Benson traded the Jazz for roller skates, and Green traded it for some Funk. Pre disco-esque Benson is still some of the best Jazz stuff to me. I really like the taste he has like Green.
HA. Well the only time I have found a G string is not more trouble than it is worth is on a good looking woman, with some good nylons and garter. Guitar talk can get so wrong, so fast. Take a conversation about getting a good tone out of effects pedals for instance. “Man all you need is a Big Muff and hit it in the front with a Super Hard On, and it will get nice, creamy and fat for you.” Just imagine your wife coming in on you talking on the phone at night, in the middle of that conversation. LOL.