Monday, May 25, 2015


Roughly seven years ago I posted a thing about the origin of the fuzz on Johnny Burnette and the Rock 'n' Roll Trio's cover of Tiny Bradshaw's "Train Kept a Rollin'", and the debate over who actually played lead on it. Some people claim it was Paul Burlison, Burnette's regular guitar player, and the fuzz was a serendipitous accident, the result of a loose tube in his amp. Others claim it was Grady Martin, a Nashville session musician, having found fuzz on a previous recording session through different accidental means, a faulty channel in a mixing board.

I'm not trying to further the debate. Actually, that's not really the case. A little innocent shit stirring never hurt anyone. But, to be honest, I don't care who was playing on it or who invented fuzz.  It's killer song no matter who played the lead guitar. But after seeing the debate occurring again at Rubber City Review (which is an excellent blog by the way), I figured I'd post some other stuff Grady Martin did play on, because there is no debating that he was hot shit. The bonus, the feel good moment if you will, is that one common thread that Burlison and Martin share. Regardless of who played lead on "Train Kept a Rollin'", the fuzz was found by accidental means. Fuck ups rule.

Martin was on a hell of a lot of other stuff, and a lot of it you're heard. He's the only guitarist to play with both Hank Williams and Elvis Presley (I read that somewhere, but, yeah, citation needed). He played on Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman", Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again", and sides by Lefty Frizzell, Brenda Lee, Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton. Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Kris Kristofferson, and on and on. Here's a handful.

Marty Robbins - Don't Worry mp3 at Beware  of the Blog Extreme country fuzz, wait for it.
Grady Martin: Roughneck Blues
at Rubber City Review Excellent, with sound snippets and three videos with Grady shredding.
Here Come Da Fuzz
- The old post here. Bulison's son chimes in, in the comments.
Did Paul Burlison or Grady Martin play guitar for Johnny Burnette & The Rock'n'Roll Trio? Long dissertation by Victor Gordon & Peter Dijkema at the Rockabilly Guitar Page

1 comment:

Tim said...

Thanks much for the kind words about RCR, Tom. The Roughneck Blues comp (I think)only credits the very first Johnny Burnette Trio session to Burlison. That's four songs, including Tear It Up and excluding the syrupy Shattered Dreams. I'm inclined to think Burlison also plays that demented riff on Train Kept A-Rollin', because it really doesn't have any of Grady Martin's trademark licks. But I'm beginning to take your approach... Who really gives a shit? And yes, that sound could only have been the result of a major fuck-up.