Guitar Pickers have a sound that defines where they come from. Sometimes that can fool you.
Jerry Reed was a musician, although he starred in three ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ movies with Burt Reynolds and more recently, ‘The Waterboy’ beside Adam Sandler. I still think ‘Amos Moses’ is one of the slickest songs ever. That Telecaster chicken-pluckin’ rollin’ rift is trademark stuff. He followed that song up with, ‘When You’re Hot, You’re Hot!’ and won a Grammy with it that year. Jerry wrote ‘Guitar Man’ for Elvis Presley and often attributed the start of his career to Presley.
Tony Jo White seemed to come outa nowhere. ‘Poke Salad Annie’ remains one of my favorite songs. His guitar guts and ‘stomp box’ gave him a signature sound. He later wrote ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’ for Brooke Benton. Tony even wrote a few songs for Tina Turner that made the radio, such as, ‘Steamy Windows’. For years, he toured Europe with the likes of Joe Cocker, Steppenwolf, and even Eric Clapton, although his success was more limited in the States.
John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival sounded like Tony Jo White and Jerry Reed in many ways. ‘Green River’ was a big hit. ‘Run Through the Jungle’ tore up the charts. ‘Born on the Bayou’ made you think John Fogerty was from the swamp. Nope. John was a California boy and Creedence Clearwater Revival defined a sound that was not coming off the West Coast. That down home gritty rockin’ guitar thang… sort of a rockin’ countrified boogie that ultimately defined ‘rock-n-roll radio. John and CCR did what was already a Motown hit, ‘ I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and it had big chart success. Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s song, ‘I Put a Spell on You’ was another hit for CCR that John did not write.
Dick Dale was King of the Surf Guitar. Originally, from Boston MA (Quincy), the child of immigrants from Lebanon and Poland, Dick is said to be the originator of Heavy Metal guitar shred. ‘Misirlou’ is one of his best known tunes. It was used in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. ‘Let’s Go Trippin’ was his first chart success and THE first Surf Song.
Mark Knopfler was frontman for Dire Straits. You may remember ‘Sultans of Swing’ which was on every radio station. Knopfler plays with his fingers instead of a guitar pick. Sting joined him on ‘Money for Nothin’ with Eric Clapton and Phil Collins on drums for some LIVE benefit performances. I gotta say… ‘Walk of Life’ played so much it made us sick, but song is catchy.
There are beau coup killer guitar players, but these guys are Guitar Pickers of the first order!