OPINION PIECE #9: Top 10 Favourite Guitarists

As a guitarist myself I’m often thinking about my favourite guitarists and how my ranking seems to change depending on what kind of mood I’m in. I thought it’d be fun to put a top 10 list together. Remember, the key word here is favourite. Enjoy.

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OPINION PIECE #7: Top 5 Favourite Live Albums

As a whole I think I tend to listen to more live recordings than I do studio albums, especially from the late 60’s and early 70’s. That period for me is second to none when it comes to live music. The places bands took music, including those listed below, have never been reached since in my opinion. At least not the same extent. So, the following are my top five live albums of all time. Enjoy.

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Derek and the Dominos Live With B.B. King: Everyday I Have The Blues

On the 26th November 1970, Derek and the Dominos played at the Music Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band at the time were nearing the end of their US tour and a recording of the performance shows it to be one of the best the band ever played. As an added bonus, if seeing Derek and the Dominos wasn’t special enough, B.B. King joined the band for an encore of Everyday I Have The Blues. Take a listen:

This would be the only time that B.B. King joined the Dominos on stage, although they did have a number of other musical guests join then in the US from Delaney Bramlett, Neal Schon and Duane Allman. As you can hear, the Dominos music is considerably “harder” than the music B.B. King was used to playing at the time but his voice rises over the music and doesn’t fail to give you goosebumps. Eric and B.B. played together multiple times over the years and while this is one of the lesser known performances it’s certainly one of the most special and now that B.B. King is no longer with us it’s these recordings that will continue to live on and show every new generation what kind of person, singer and guitar player he was.

On a final note, more info on this show (along with every other show the Dominos played) will be in the book I am writing on the band. Head over to my Facebook Page for all info on the book as it becomes available.

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Photo taken at the Music Hall in Cincinnati, 26th November 1970. Photographer unknown.

RIP B.B. King

What a sad day not only for the blues but for music in general. I’ve been lost for words since I first heard the news this morning, this one has hit me hard. B.B. King was a hero of mine and a huge influence on my own guitar playing.

I saw him live in concert twice, the first time on the 25th June 2009 in Birmingham. It was the night Michael Jackson died and it was odd because during the show he was talking about young musicians who had been influenced by him, who he had played with, who then died too young. I don’t think he knew about Michael Jackson’s death until after the show like the rest of us so it was a “weird” kind of moment. A great show though, I recorded a number of the songs on my phone and even though the recordings aren’t great his one of a kind guitar playing shines through. The second time I saw him was at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2011. He started the show by himself but over the course of the whole evening a number of guests came out to join him including Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Slash and Mick Hucknall. The last time I saw him, the last time he came to England I believe. 4 years ago. I’ll cherish the memories of hearing him play for the rest of my life. A blues legend straight from the Mississippi Delta, born and bred on the cotton fields. As blues as you can get.

RIP.

INTERVIEW: Bobby Whitlock

In 2012 I had the great privilege of interviewing a hero of mine, Mr Bobby Whitlock. At the time I was doing my university dissertation and for a part of that I interviewed a number of blues musicians. The topic of conversation was the blues and it’s influence on Bobby as a person, writer and musician. I thank Bobby for taking the time to chat with me.

How influential has the blues been on your career?

Rhythm and blues is the category I am familiar with and what I grew up listening to and performing. Not just the blues. The blues on its own is the same old song sung by different voices. R&B is what STAX, Chess, Hi and Atlantic Records were all about. I was the first white artist to be signed to STAX’s HIP label. They wanted to get in on the British invasion and thought that I was their key to it. Of course they were wrong. I still draw on Sam & Dave and Otis Redding from time to time. As a matter of fact the way Eric and I sang together was a direct rip of the way Sam and Dave sang together. Eric and I sang our songs with the same call and response that Sam and Dave did. We were the white rock ‘n’ roll Sam and Dave.

What equipment do you use and was your decision to use it influenced by another artist or what you heard on a record?

I use a Hammond B3 organ and one Leslie cabinet. The organ that I learned to play on is sitting in my front room right now. My organ playing influences were Booker T Jones and the two Jimmys, Smith and McGriff.

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