A Tribute to Blues Based Guitarists

Like I did with the “Who’s the Greatest Rhythm Guitarist?” poll, I have decided to put in an extra thought between the years of my metal history tour. So, since I have finished with 1980 and before heading into 1981, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the great blues based guitarists I have come to know and love over the years. Now, I have always been a sucker for a good long guitar solo played in the mentioned fashion. Even when they were performed by guitarists who may not have been known for such a style. That is probably why my all time favourite Jimi Hendrix song is “Hey Joe,” although the lyrics may have something to do with it as well. Then the other day, I was listening to the Rainbow “Anthology” album and I must say that I was relatively blown away by Ritchie Blackmore on the final song, “Difficult to Cure.” 

 

Jimi Hendrix

      Jimi Hendrix

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One guitarist who many have considered one of the all time greats was old slow hand himself Eric Clapton. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in 1985 and despite the fact that the record company was trying to get him to go new wave, that night he played many of his classic guitar jams. In fact, I thought it was an act of sacrilege when the other guitarist in his band played a solo on “Cocaine.” Still, Eric showed why he is one of the all time greats.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

 

 

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

 

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

 

Robin Trower

Robin Trower

True most the guitarists I have featured here were from the years I have been visiting here on 80smetalman’s Blog but these were the ones who I have first come to know and appreciate. By the late 1980s, there were some who claimed that the blues guitarist was buried dead in the past. I can see their argument as so many great metal lead guitarists were stepping into the limelight. The blues guitarist may have been pushed to the side but they weren’t totally gone and then in the mid 90s, a new guitarist would take his place in the spotlight. His name was Kenny Wayne Shepherd. His album “Trouble Is” took me back to those days of listening and playing along to long bluesy guitar solos and the world was balanced once again.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

 

I could go on naming more great guitarist from this style, Jimmy Page was known to lay down a killer blues riff or two and right now Mark Knopfler’s efforts on “Sultans of Swing” comes to mind. For me, these were the pioneers of great guitarists. I loved their style and still do. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to a good ripping solo from one of today’s metal giants. It’s just I like to reflect back on some of the blues guitarist that first got me into rock and then metal. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride too.

 

Next post: 1981- The Dam Continues to Break

 

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16 Responses to “A Tribute to Blues Based Guitarists”

  1. What genre do you put Jeff Beck into? Blues? A form of Jazz?

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  2. I have a lot of love for many of the guitarists you’ve mentioned. I’m listening to Blackfoot right now. They were a great combination of bluesy and heavy.

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  3. Excellent post, covering a bunch of guitar geniuses. I would just add that the bridge between Hendrix & Kenny Wayne Shepherd is Stevie Ray Vaughan. If it wasn’t for him, blues-based guitar bands may have remained an underground, collectors-only genre.

    Looking forward to 1981, whenever you start that up.

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  4. While I dig all those you mentioned, especially glad to see my personal favorite, Robin Trower, included. He’s still making great music and offering up long bluesy solos into the 21st century.

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  5. Wow what a question…top blues guitarists. You know I gotta say BB King! The Thrill Is Gone…chills every time!

    I also like SRV.

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