It seems like only yesterday that the Fabulous Thunderbirds, an upstart rocking-blues band from Austin, Texas, released their debut album, Girls Go Wild. It was, in fact, more than three decades ago. Since that time, Jimmie Vaughan, the T-birds’ founder and guitarist from 1976 to 1989, has gone from being a skinny kid with a Strat and a perm to one of today’s elder statesmen of the blues.
Some of you might remember an ad that appeared in guitar magazines in the late '80s or early '90s. It showed a photo of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band LP propped up against a shiny new four-track recorder (possibly a Tascam, but who knows at this point?). The slogan above the photo was something along the lines of "A Couple of Four-Track Masterpieces."
Fifty years ago today—March 13, 1965—guitarist Eric Clapton quit the Yardbirds. It's one of the best things that ever happened—period. Clapton, a self-declared blues purist, thought the band—which included vocalist Keith Relf, guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty—was getting too commercial.
Some have tried playing the guitar with their teeth, behind their back, with their feet, etc. And then there was the inventive guitarist who, many decades ago, decided to slip a bottle over his finger and slide it along his guitar's strings (He probably emptied the bottle himself, if you know what I mean).
Clarence White was a genuine double threat. His brilliant, Doc Watson-inspired acoustic flatpicking, which incorporated lightning-fast fiddle lines played on an already-vintage Martin D-28 guitar, helped the bluegrass world recognize the guitar as a lead instrument. Several masters of the genre, including Tony Rice and Norman Blake, list him as a key influence.
Despite the diversity of George Harrison's many pursuits during his 58 years on earth — racing, gardening, Indian religion and culture, film making and anything remotely associated with ukeleles, Mel Brooks or Monty Python — he'll go down in history as one fourth of the Beatles.
Obviously, over the years I've had loads of guitars, but they’ve come and gone. I got to the point where I didn’t think it was nice to have guitars and not use them. All the guitars I’ve got I intend to use. I’ve got a couple of Teles with Lace Sensor pickups and maple necks. Maple necks feel softer to play, and I think you get a bit more sustain. I find the rosewood necks a bit tinnier. But I’m no expert by any means.
The rise of Blackberry Smoke, a hard-working, heavy-riffing quintet of southern-fried road monsters, hasn’t exactly been meteoric. For the past 14-plus years, the Atlanta-based rockers have been enjoying what frontman Charlie Starr calls a “slow build,” playing more than 250 shows a year, touring with ZZ Top, releasing a handful of studio and live discs and, most importantly, forging a legion of rabid fans.
The powerful and bluesy "I've Got A Feeling," which John Lennon jokingly called "I've Got A Fever," is a true Lennon/McCartney composition. It blends — via alternation and superimposition — two incomplete songs, one by Paul McCartney, one by Lennon.
There was no mania quite as manic as Beatlemania, and it was at its undisputed height in 1964. In February, The Beatles had conquered the United States, the birthplace of their rock and roll idols, appearing twice on the Ed Sullivan Show and performing pandemonium-inducing shows at the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall.