Tag Archives: eric clapton

Blues Fundamentals

Blues Fundamentals

After finding an online video teaching the two-fret (whole tone) string bend as a fundamental blues lick, there has been a certain degree of disagreement around the office as to whether this simple bend can constitute an blues fundamental.

How can something as simple as this elicit so much passionate debate?
Well, it`s all about emotion, passion and technique.

For me the ultimate blues lick would probably have to consist of only one note and some might say that maybe no-one has played it yet. I disagree:

On Freddie King’s “Pack It Up”, and “Shake Your Booty Baby” King takes this simple single bend technique and pushes it to its emotional maximum.

If you wanna hear simple blues playing that just really really cooks like a blister burning on the surface of the sun this album is the real deal. If you play the guitar and you`d like to develop the kind of passion and string control that will take you somewhere then this is one of the top ten albums in your list:

Money and Cigarettes

Are you feeling the fluidity inherent in a particular view of the universe? Or the united states of consciousness?
Back in 1983 Eric Clapton released the Album Money and Cigarettes supported by the stellar backing band of Ry Cooder, Albert Lee, Donald Duck Dunn, and Roger Hawkins. Duck Dunn`s contribution to popular music beginning with Booker T and M.G`s and the Stax label in around 1965 is absolutely phenomenal and he must be one of the greatest unsung heroes of the popular music cannon. Here is his discography.

Guitar Players

I`ve been to plenty of great gigs since back in the day and I`ve seen some hot guitar players – Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Alvin Lee, Carlos Santana, Jeff Healy, Johnny Winter, Jennifer Batten, The Edge, Joe Satriani, Ron Wood (with Bob Dylan), Keith Richards (with The Rolling Stones), Pete Townshend with The Who, Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Joe Satriani, John MacLaughlin, Jack White

Rock and Roll

1960 the year in which the Studebaker Hawk I saw this morning was manufactured, was a big year – the U.S. sent troops to Vietnam and Elvis returned from Germany. Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry and Duane Eddy all released records. Also featured in 1960 was the great Chester Burnett, or Howlin` Wolf who had been making records for since 1951. Wolf had a great ear and since `55 had been working with the awesome guitarist Hubert Sumlin. It`s likely that Hubert Sumlin`s electric playing brought Chicago across the Atlantic and into the hands of the Great British Blues Players such as the incandescent trio of Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton – all members briefly of The Yardbirds.

Blues Boy King

Ever wondered where it`s at ?
It`s right here…check out the crossover between B.B.King here and Clapton`s live performance from the 1980 album Just One Night in Budokan. If you were going to buy ONLY ONE Clapton you need to buy about six…and don`t forget in a similar way to Hendrix, Clapton`s guitar prowess has overshadowed his songwriting genius…

The Art of Guitar

IMHO, there are ways to shred and burn on the guitar that far surpass the egocentric simplicity and slavery to technique of that whole guitar school, speed focussed, sweep picking, notes for notes sake playing that occurs in a vacuum devoid of taste, subtlety and emotion.

Real guitar shredding is emotive, not mechanical, slick or polished unless it needs to be as part of the expression – e.g. a Freddie King Lick an Albert King bend, a Clapton phrase, the Leslie West tone, Hendrix` sustain etcetera…..

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

I said yesterday that I`d write about Robert Johnson; there`s a lot of hoodoo wrapped up around the man, in particular that he sold his soul to the devil down in Clarksdale. Originally, Son House suggested, Johnson was not regarded as a good musician but after the trade with Satan he returned with the blazing skills and blues mastery of a demi-god.