Friday, June 22, 2012


What would our record collections look like guitar players? Just about every type of the music we hold dear to our hearts is based on the role of the guitar player. Lest we forget, a great many early rock 'n' roll guitarists honed their chops listening to music that wasn't rock 'n' roll. I was reminded of that a few days ago, when a friend of mine left a comment (on the Bud Shank post) about how Mark Neil, the guitarist of his old band, the Unknowns, had no clue about the existence of surf music when, early on in the band's existence, people would comment on how his guitar style sounded like surf guitar. Neil was, in fact, a disciple of the Joe Maphis and Chet Atkins brand of picking. Add to that the use of a Mostrite guitar (which Maphis played, as well as the Ventures) and a little reverb and, viola, the lines were blurred.

Here's just a few pre-surf pickers. Believe me, this could have been an all nighter. Of all of the songs below, Maphis's "The Rockin' Gypsy" is probably the closest to primordial surf music. Chet Atkins...well, it's Chet Atkins. If the name doesn't mean anything to you, sink your teeth into "Under the Double Eagle." That's some clean shit. Alas, I wasn't able to find a Merle Travis song that showed him at full speed, but you'll get a feel for how tasty his licks can be on "Louisiana Boogie." I included the Collins Kids because Larry Collins was tutored by Maphis. Consider the fact that Collins was something like 13 when "Hoy, Hoy" was recorded, sit back, and let the amazement begin. (His age still blows me away, and I've been familiar with that song for a long, long time.) Duane Eddy and Link Wray are down there too, because no list of guitarists who influenced surf guitarists would be complete without them. Seriously, this is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Go to YouTube armed with these names and you'll kill a couple hours before you know it.

Joe Maphis - The Rockin' Gypsy mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Joe Maphis - Twin Banjo Special mp3 at DK Presents
Chet Atkins & Hank Snow - Under the Double Eagle mp3 at Photos Plus
Chet Atkins - Freight Train mp3 at Rocky-52
Merle Travis - Louisiana Boogie mp3 at Bousculade
The Collins Kids - Hoy Hoy mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Duane Eddy - Rebel Rouser mp3 at Brown High 62
Link Wray - Rumble mp3 at Cows Are Just Food
Earlier semi-related post:
Give the Producer Some
- Post about Mark Neill

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