Unplugged

Legends

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is one of the most important blues figures of the second half of the 20th Century, but to frame his career in one musical genre would be too simple given that Henry St. Clair Fredericks, born in New York 1942, has had many playing styles: folk, calypso, reggae, rock, and R&B. What he’s done with his approach to playing blues has...

Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp is the most atypical rock star in history, from the way he looks, more like a high school teacher than a guitar legend, to the way he plays, always seated, and in between his personal habits, non-drinking anti-drug, and his signature sound, with classic and jazz influences, without hardly any contact with the blues. Always the...

Bob Seger

Bob Seger (May 6, 1945) is not a genius, but a hard-working man, someone who’s built a remarkable career on blood, sweat and tears, having done thousands of gigs and hours on the road. A good guitarist and excellent singer who one day decided to become the voice of the working class, and instead of an acoustic guitar, he did it with all the...

Willie Nelson

Music history is full of legendary guitarists and their guitars, B.B. King and Lucille, Eric Clapton and Blackie or Peter Green and Greenie, but none is more iconic than that of Willie Nelson (born 29 April 1933) and his guitar Trigger. Together for 48 years, Nelson has a lasting faith in his guitar, despite, he says, “ We are both quite old,...

Johnny Thunders

John Anthony Genzale Jr., better known as Johnny Thunders was born the 15th of June 1952 in New York, and died the 23rd of April 1991 in New Orleans. In between, his way of playing guitar (something that can be qualified as howling noise, with licks lifted from Chuck Berry’s songbook) made him one of the fathers of punk. It’s not surprising...

Muddy Waters

The blues had a son and his name was rock and roll, of course the kid was a bastard, and had more than one father. Among them, one of the most important was McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, born April 4, 1913 (or 1915), who was the link between the delta blues and rock, or, if you like, between Robert Johnson and Chuck Berry. The...

Paul Kossoff

At the end of the 60s, England, the centre of rock music at that point, was dominated by hundreds of blues/rock bands where the guitar hero figure was prominent along the lines of Clapton, Beck, Page, or Peter Green. Among these hundreds of challengers the next on the list was one Paul Kossoff, born in London 1950, and his band Free. They did reach...

Ry Cooder

Ryland Peter Cooder, born the 15th of March, 1947, was already playing guitar at the age of 3. This Ry Cooder is able to play any chorded instrument just by looking at it. But despite this ability to play several instruments, he will always be associated with the ‘slide’ guitar, where he is with Duane Allman and Elmore James, its best...

Tom Scholz

The story of Tom Scholz can be summed up as the man who didn’t really want to be a rock star. After dazzling the planet with his excellent debut album which sold more than anyone had ever done on their first record, Scholz chose to keep his artistic independence over the afterglow of success, with a career in which he would only put out records...

Rory Gallagher

Archimedes said that he needed ‘a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and he would move the world’. Rory Gallagher only needed a Stratocaster and 6 strings. With that, and a whole lotta love, he revolutionized everything.  William Rory Gallagher was born on March 2, 1948 in a tiny village called Ballyshannon, County...

John Fogerty

The Genius of Creedence Clearwater Revival began his career on the back of a Rickenbacker 325 and it peaks with a Telecaster. When somebody puts a band together in a place called El Cerrito, California, they're either bank robbers or a country group. But this was the 60s, and the Fogerty brothers opted for...

Peter Green

“He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” Let’s heed the king of blues guitar and consider Peter Allen Greenbaum, born the 29th of October, 1946, London, among the greatest guitarists of all time, someone clearly recognisable in each beat and capable of thrilling more with three notes...

John Hiatt

So you are ripping over the blacktop like a bullet in your blue ‘66 Thunderbird under a moonlit sky, and you lean over and press play, volume, and sit back; the calm before the storm. The night jumps at the sharp crisp explosion of drums and a howling Telecaster bottomed by a bass groove that you feel, the car feels, and you lurch like...

J.J. Cale

This is the legend of a man who was convinced he was a loser, with a $50 patched-up guitar and a tortured heart, and by all accounts, down and out, a ne'er do well. John Walden Cale (1938-2013), J.J Cale for the record, learned to play guitar on an old Harmony for a price that would cheat fate. In his beloved Tulsa, where only the tornadoes...

Neil Young

The king is gone / But he's not forgotten Is this the story / of a Johnny Rotten? [My My Hey Hey (Into the Black)]   If your life revolves around a guitar, you're in luck. The Generation Axe tour led by Steve Vai was a perfect sign that we are experiencing new times and in the first half of 2016, you can almost talk about a...

Link Wray

‘Tipper’ Gore got there too late in the mid-'80s, when she ‘pressed charges’ against Twisted Sister in the name of all the parents supposedly concerned over the "dangerous" rock full of four-letter words and sex their children were listening to. She invented the famous sticker that only served so that more albums were sold for the...

Chet Atkins

It's enough to strap on a Gretsch to feel like Mister Guitar; to play it like old Chet, though, that's a whole different story. The legend of Chester Burton and his alter ego Chet Atkins is tied to that of the instrument he used when he began to write that legend from the time they first put a ukulele in his hands. Years later, that young kid from...

Memphis Minnie Vs. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

With traces of cotton fibres still on their fingers, their hands strummed the guitar with a woman's sensuality and the rage of their ebony skin. Their voices still engage us almost a century later, with their vintage recorded sound blending blues, gospel and jazz right up to the first tentative steps towards rock 'n' roll. Their names are...

Generation Axe

Four great "axeslingers" of the '90s take one of their most brilliant 'students' on the road I confess that I received the news with the same bored enthusiasm of the knowing fan still getting over the last hype campaign to emerge from rock’s marketing machine, namely that number involving Axl in an attempt to salvage the next-to-last tour...