I wasn’t aware of Adrian Legg, but he certainly belongs alongside guitarists such as Bert Jansch, Leo Kottke and the master, John Fahey. The song above, Norah Handley’s Waltz, is not particularly fast, but Legg’s musicianship shines through. Cajun Interlude, below, showcases his virtuosity.
Here is the start of Wikipedia’s entry on Legg:
Adrian Legg is an English guitar player who has been called “impossible to categorize”. He plays custom guitars that are a hybrid of electric and acoustic, and his fingerstyle picking technique has been acknowledged by the readers of Guitar Player who voted Legg the “best acoustic fingerstyle” player four years in a row (1993–1996). (Continue Reading…)
He seems to blend high level musicality with technology in a manner reminiscent of Les Paul. This is from the bio at Legg’s website:
Thus began an electro-acoustic quest that continues today to find the holy guitar grail that melds tone, technique and technology to allow him to create, perform and record the music his imagination envisions, eventually incorporating synthesizers and computerized MIDI programming to augment and enrich his one-man musicality. “I wanted something that had the harmonic content roughly like an acoustic, and that had the flexibility in terms of stringing and volume levels, whatever you wanted to do, of an electric,” he explains. (Continue Reading…)
Yesterday, I mistakenly set out to write a post about Paul Robeson’s birthday, which isn’t for eight months. I had the good sense (if I do say so myself) of posting the clip I had selected before I discovered my mistake. Today, though, I got it right. I found out (through a posting at DailyKos) that it is the 103rd birthday of Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender, the inventor of the Telecaster and the Stratocaster. He, along with Les Paul, essentially made rock-and-roll possible.
Here is a terrific and suitably adoring profile of the Telecaster. There is a lot of great guitar squeezed into the clip, which seems to be part of a longer video. This clip features Albert Lee, Steve Cropper, James Burton, Keith Richards, Sue Foley, Redd Volkaert, Jerry Donahue, Chantel McGregor, John 5 (who I guess is a better guitarist than John 4 but not quite as good as John 6), Deborah Coleman, Wilko Johnson, Jeff Beck, GE Smith and Greg Koch. The video has the URL www.stratmasters.com superimposed on top, but the domain is vacant.
Les Paul is a giant for is guitar playing and contribution to music technology. Paul–Lester William Polsfuss–was born in Wisconsin in 1915. His Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio points to his invention of overdubbing, multitracking and other techniques. His “crowning achievement,” the bio says, is the guitar that bears his name:
As he told writer Jim O’Donnell, “What I wanted to do is not have two things vibrating. I wanted the string to vibrate and nothing else. I wanted the guitar to sustain longer than an acoustical box and have different sounds than an acoustical box.” The fact that the guitar’s body was solid allowed for the sound of a plucked string to sustain, as its vibrating energy was not dissipated in a reverberant acoustic chamber.”
Paul is as influential as a guitarist. His playing was much slower toward the end of his career. That was certainly by choice, not due to age. To me, he is two different guitar players. I always liked the slower style. There are lots of people who play very fast who nobody remembers. Likewise, the fast players who are remembered always bring something else to the party.
Even though the songs in the embedded clip above almost certainly were recorded separately — unless the bass player was hiding in the closet — Paul and Ford were the players. The sitcom setting and the creepy Listerine commercial are great bonuses.
Other great clips include Paul’s signature tune, Over the Rainbow, and Birth of the Blues. Paul’s pal Chet Atkins joins in about half way through the latter. Not only are they both among the best guitarists ever, but they were able to put out an album with the name Chester and Lester. It’s a unique album in that the producer had the good sense to include the informal chatter between the two.