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The Best Guitar Player You May Not Remember

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There are a ton of guitar gods out there, and we probably each have our favorites. Clapton, Peter Green, Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Kenny Burell....the list is endless, so feel free to add your own favorite. But I've got one you've probably heard but I'd be willing to bet you don't remember his name.

For some reason, I've been on a Jefferson Airplane kick the past couple of weeks (I'm on a Quicksilver Messenger Service kick too, but that's an all together different blog). Maybe it's because played "Starship" off the Paul Kantner/Grace Slick side project "Blows Against The Empire", but I dragged down JA's 1967 LP "Surrelistic Pillow" dand was promptely blown away by....

..., Jorma Kaukonen delivering the sweetest 1:58 worth of solo acoustic guitar rock's ever heard. Kaukonen does have his rock chops, it's him on lead guitar...and vocal...on this from "Bark"....

....but it's his acoustic stuff that blows me away. In 1969, Kaukonen, along with Jack Casady formed Hot Tuna, a sort of quazi rock/blues/folkish band that still exsists today with various interchangable members, but generally including Casady. He still tours with both Hot Tuna and solo, and operates Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio, basically a very good guitar camp, with classes on the beginner, advanced and master levels. The kind of place I'd like to go if I played more than 3 chord rock.

Here I digress. In the early and mid '70's, in the heart of the singer/songwriter era there was a small boon in what could be called white urban acoustic blues. From it's Chicago base, David Bromberg, Steve Goodman, and John Prine were the new folk music lights, with Bromberg playing the blues end with some sizzling guitar......

....until he got fed up with recording and touring, retiring to build guitars, reemerging with his first studio LP in 16 years back in 2006.

But before Bromberg decided to "retire", he got together with Kaukonen in 1885 for a concert at Gaspar's in Chicago. It was mostly unrehearsed, which made it all the more interesting. Bromberg lets Jorma start, and then fills around him. There's no need for more than that.

Again, there appears to be no real set list. Jorma starts this Hot Tuna classic, and David joins in once he gets a half an idea of what's going on.

Same thing. On this one, I wonder if they're trying to cross each other up a little bit. If so, it doesn't work.

There's at least two tempo and/or style changes, and I love the ad lib ending. Coupla great guitar players having fun. Bromberg did some guitar study with Rev. Gary Davis. Don't know if that's where "Candyman" came from (it's Davis' song) but again, great fun.


Jeez, I wish I could come close to playing like that. Kaukonon will be playing in the area (Billingham) later this summer. I'll see if I can remember to tell you as the date gets closer. It will be with Hot Tuna and should be great fun, too.