Hey its my blog and I can make any list I want to. That being said my criteria for this list came to me one day while I was enjoying a glass of fine Kentucky bourbon and listening to some music in the mancave. Music is a constant in my life. Although I don’t play any instrument but some drums and harmonica now and then, music is always happening in what ever moment I happen to be in. I am a child of the 60’s, a teenager of the 70’s and a young adult during the 80’s and quite frankly, I feel blessed to have been a young man coming of age during that time period. I am the youngest of three kids, my siblings being 10 and 7 years older than me. That age gap allowed me to experience a wide range of music that most kids my age had no clue even existed. I can remember my brothers friend coming over and setting up a reel to reel tape deck and listening to Cream and Derrick and the Dominos.  There were local bands I got to hear live, usually because my sister or brother had to baby sit me so along I went with them. This early influence and exposure to music shaped my passion to discover new artists. My list takes a few things into account. First, these guitar players are very well known in their respective genre of music but have not had any real “mainstream” exposure, whatever the hell main stream is. Secondly, I feel all of these musicians were unique or brought some thing new to their craft. And finally I happen to have a shitload of their music and I listen to it all the time. If you have a comment or suggestion for some musician that is not on this list, please by all means add their info and a few song suggestions in the comment area. I’m off to check the ribs on the grill and pop another cold one….think I will throw some Clapton on the digital Jukebox..

#8  Django Reinhardt

Reinhardt is often cited as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and regarded as the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the idiom. Reinhardt invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique (sometimes called ‘hot’ jazz guitar) that has since become a tradition within French gypsy culture. Listen to this guy play and then realize he lost the use of two fingers in a house fire at the age of 18, just unfreaking believable. All of his solos are played with two fingers. This is the guitar player that inspired Jimmy Page of Led Zeppellin to pick up that bad ass black Les Paul. The Greatfull  Deads Jerry Garcia and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, both of whom lost fingers in accidents, were particularly inspired by Reinhardt’s ability to become an accomplished guitar player/musician, despite the diminished use of his own permanently injured hand following an accident. Jerry Garcia as quoted in June 1985 in Frets Magazine ; “His technique is awesome! Even today, nobody has really come to the state that he was playing at. As good as players are, they haven’t gotten to where he is. There’s a lot of guys that play fast and a lot of guys that play clean, and the guitar has come a long way as far as speed and clarity go, but nobody plays with the whole fullness of expression that Django has. I mean, the combination of incredible speed – all the speed you could possibly want – but also the thing of every note have a specific personality. You don’t hear it. I really haven’t heard it anywhere but with Django”. Recommended: “Minor Swing”, “Djangology”

#7  Chris Duarte

Duarte was born in San Antonio, Texas, and was first inspired by music at age 8 after seeing Fiddler On The Roof on television. Duarte began playing his brother’s guitar, and got his first electric guitar at the age of 14 and played with bands in San Antonio. In 1979, Duarte moved to Austin, Texas and purchased a 1963 Fender Stratocaster guitar for $500. Duarte began exploring the jazz music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Think of a jazzier version of Stevie Ray Vaughn. This player is highly regarded by his peers in the blues rock idiom, placing fourth all-time behind Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Buddy Guy in a 1995 Guitar Player magazine poll. Recommended: “Big Legged Woman”, Tailspin Headwhack

#6 Roy Buchanan

A pioneer of the Telecaster sound, Buchanan was a sideman and solo artist, with two gold albums early in his career, and two later solo albums that made it on to the Billboard chart. Despite never having achieved stardom, he is still considered a highly influential guitar player. Although not mentioned on the Rolling Stone list “100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time,” Guitar Player praised him as one of the “50 Greatest Tones of all Time.” An interesting story about Roy and Jimmy Hendrix is recounted from Wikipedia. In the mid-’60s, Buchanan settled down in the Washington, D.C., area, playing for Danny Denver’s band for many years while acquiring a reputation as “…one of the very finest rock guitarists around. Jimi Hendrix wouldn’t take up the challenge of a ‘pick-off’ with Roy.” The facts behind that claim are that in March 1968 a photographer friend, John Gossage gave Buchanan tickets to a concert by the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Washington Hilton. “Buchanan was dismayed to find his own trademark sounds, like the wah-wah that he’d painstakingly produced with his hands and his Telecaster, created by electronic pedals. He could never attempt Hendrix’s stage show, and this realization refocused him on his own quintessentially American roots-style guitar picking.” Gossage recalls how Roy was very impressed by the Hendrix 1967 debut album “Are You Experienced?”, which was why he made sure to give Roy a ticket to the early show at the Hilton. Gossage went backstage to take photos and tried to convince Jimi to go and see Roy at the Silver Dollar that night after the show, but Jimi seemed more interested in hanging out with the young lady who was backstage with him. Gossage confirms Hendrix never showed up at the Silver Dollar, but he did talk to Roy about seeing the Hilton show. That same night (as the Hilton show) Roy did several Hendrix numbers and “from that point on, had nothing but good things to say about Hendrix”. He later released recordings of the Hendrix composition ‘If six was nine’ and the Hendrix hit ‘Hey Joe’. Buchanan’s life changed in 1971, when he gained national notice as the result of an hour-long PBS television documentary. Entitled Introducing Roy Buchanan, and sometimes mistakenly called The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World, it earned a record deal with Polydor Records and praise from John Lennon and Merle Haggard, besides an alleged invitation to join the Rolling Stones (which he turned down). He recorded five albums for Polydor, one of which, Second Album, went gold, and after that another three for Atlantic Records, one of which, 1977’s Loading Zone, also went gold. Buchanan quit recording in 1981, vowing never to enter a studio again unless he could record his own music his own way. Recommended: “Sweet Dreams”, f Six was Nine”

 

#5 Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and raised in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. A talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft, Gallagher’s albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London, England at the age of 47. The 1970s were Gallagher’s most prolific period. He produced ten albums in that decade, including two live albums, Live in Europe and Irish Tour ’74. November 1971 saw the release of his album, Deuce. In the same year he was voted Melody Makers International Top Musician of the Year, ahead of Eric Clapton. However, despite a number of his albums from this period reaching the UK Albums Chart, Gallagher did not attain major star status. Recommended: “I’m not awake yet”, “Jack-Knife Beat”

 

#4 Robin Trower

200px-Robin_Trower_3_-_Robin_Trower_Band_-_1975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1962, Trower formed a group that became The Paramounts, later including Westcliff High School pupil Gary Brooker. The Paramounts disbanded in 1966 to pursue individual projects. During this time, Trower created a local three-piece band called ‘The Jam’ (not to be confused with the later group with Paul Weller). Trower then joined Brooker’s new band Procol Harum following the success of their debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967, remaining with them until 1971 and appearing on Procol Harum’s first five albums.

Before launching his own eponymous band, he joined singer Frankie Miller, bass playerJames Dewar, and former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker to form the short-lived combo Jude.[1] This outfit did not record and soon split up.

Trower retained Dewar as his bassist, who took on lead vocals as well, and recruited drummer Reg Isidore (later replaced by Bill Lordan) to form the Robin Trower Band in 1973.[2]

Perhaps Trower’s most famous album is Bridge of Sighs (1974). This album, along with his first and third solo albums, was produced by his former Procol Harum bandmate, organistMatthew Fisher. Despite differences, Trower’s early power trio work was noted for Hendrixesque influences. recommended:

“Too Rolling Stoned” , “Daydream”

 

#3 Derek Trucks

Derek Trucks slide-Allman Bros Band 2009.jpg

 

Derek Trucks is an American guitaristsongwriter and founder of the Grammy Awardwinning[1] The Derek Trucks Band. He became an official member of The Allman Brothers Band in 1999 and formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010 with his wife Susan Tedeschi. His musical style encompasses several genres and he has twice appeared on Rolling Stone‘s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time; currently 16th on the list.

Trucks was born June 8, 1979, in Jacksonville, Florida. His uncle, Butch, is a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. According to Trucks, the name of Eric Clapton’s band, Derek and the Dominos, had “something to do with the name [Derek] if not the spelling”. His great-uncle, Virgil Trucks, was a professional baseball player.

Trucks bought his first guitar at a yard sale for $5 at age nine and became a child prodigy who played his first paid performance at age 11. Trucks began playing the guitar using a “slide” bar because it allowed him to play the guitar despite his small, young hands.  By his 13th birthday Trucks had played alongside Buddy Guy and gone on tour with The Allman Brothers Band.

I actually got a chance to see him play when he was 16 years old in Atlanta GA. Just mind-blowing the things this guy does with a guitar.

 

#2 Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola 2006 1.jpg

 

Al Di Meola is an acclaimed American jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist, composer, and record producer of Italian origin (from Cerreto Sannita). With a musical career that has spanned more than three decades, he has become respected as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz to date. Albums such as “Friday Night in San Francisco” have earned him both artistic and commercial success with a solid fan base throughout the world.

In 1971 Di Meola enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1974 he joined Chick Corea’s band, Return to Forever, and played with the band until a major lineup shift in 1976. That year also saw the release of the masterpiece album, Romantic Warrior with Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, and Lenny White.

Di Meola went on to explore a variety of styles, but is most noted for his Latin-influenced jazz fusion works. He is a four-time winner as Best Jazz Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine’s Reader Poll.
Guitar historian Robert Lynch states: “In the history of the electric guitar, no one figure has done more to advance the instrument in a purely technical manner than Mr. Di Meola. His total command of the various styles and scales is simply mind-boggling. I feel privileged to have been able to study his work all these years.”
Di Meola with Return to Forever at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, New York, 1974
In addition to a prolific solo career, he has engaged in successful collaborations with bassist Stanley Clarke, keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and guitarists John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. He also guested on “Allergies” from Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones'” album (1983).
In the beginning of his career, as evidenced on his first solo album Land of the Midnight Sun (1976), Di Meola was noted for his technical mastery and extremely fast, complex guitar solos and compositions. But even on his early albums, he had begun to explore Mediterranean cultures and acoustic genres like flamenco. Good examples are “Mediterranean Sundance” and “Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil” from the Elegant Gypsy album (1977). His early albums were very influential among rock and jazz guitarists alike. Di Meola continued to explore Latin music within the jazz fusion genre on albums like Casino and Splendido Hotel. He exhibited a more subtle touch on acoustic numbers like “Fantasia Suite for Two Guitars” from the Casino album, and on the best-selling live album with McLaughlin and de Lucia, Friday Night in San Francisco. The latter album became one of the most popular live albums for acoustic guitar ever recorded and was sold more than two million times worldwide. In 1980, he also toured with fellow Latin rocker Carlos Santana.

Recomended: Return to forever album “Romantic Warior”

 

#1 Joe Bonnamassa

Joe Bonamassa, Manchester 2012.jpg

 

 

Joe Bonamassa (born May 8, 1977) is an American blues rock guitarist and singer.
He began his career playing guitar in the band Bloodline, which also featured the offspring of Miles Davis, Robby Krieger of The Doors, and Berry Oakley of The Allman Brothers Band. He released his first solo album A New Day Yesterday in 2000, and has since released ten more solo studio albums, five live albums and four live DVDs, along with three albums with the band Black Country Communion, one with funk super-group Rock Candy Funk Party and one album in collaboration with vocalist Beth Hart. He tours the world regularly, and has developed a large following in the U.S. and U.K. specifically. His most recent album, Driving Towards The Daylight, reached #2 on the U.K. Top 40 Albums Chart, and he completed an arena tour there in 2012. In 2009 he was the recipient of the Classic Rock Magazine “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” award,  and The Guardian said of him: “the 35-year-old from upstate New York has consolidated a reputation as the pre-eminent blues-rock guitarist of his generation”.
Bonamassa has collaborated with numerous artists, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Blondie Chaplin, Beth Hart, Paul Rodgers, Leslie West, Jon Lord, Vince Gill, Sandi Thom and Glenn Hughes. He also played with Hughes in Black Country Communion, along with Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian.
Joe Bonamassa’s music contains a mix of several different genres: although it is primarily blues rock, since relocating to Santorini, Greece in 2009 to record the album Black Rock (named after the studios in which it was created), his music has gained eastern influences, with the addition of instruments such as the bouzouki and clarinet (for instance, on “Black Lung Heartache” from Dust Bowl and “Athens to Athens” from Black Rock).  He has also covered songs by John Hiatt and Leonard Cohen.

Probably the best living rock-blues guitar player currently touring. Go see this guy, sell blood if you have to, you wont regret it.

 

 

Well there you have it, now go ahead and tell me how wrong I am and how could I not include this guitar player or that one…thats whats great about this medium, it goes both ways, so let the comments rip…..Im gonna go flip the steaks and crank some Joe B……

 

 

led-zeppelin

 

It was the typical  late summer afternoon in June in the Sunshine State…no sunshine and storm clouds brewing on the horizon. The fact Led Zeppelin had set an all time attendance record for a single act in Tampa in 1973 with over 58 thousand fans showing up had not gone unnoticed by the crowd of over 70 thousand that had now gathered in Tampa stadium for the biggest tour to hit North America that year. I was three months shy of my 16th birthday and I was headed to Tampa to see the greatest rock band of all time.

 

fans

 

The gates had opened 12 hours before the concert was to start, which meant that there would be a lot of stoned and drunk people by the time Zepp hit the stage. I heard some folks drove a VW bus from New York to Tampa just for this show. I guess seeing an icon of classic rock perform live was worth the trip. I lived an hour away in Sarasota FL, and copped a ride with my buddy Mike in his huge Delta 88. We arrived a couple hours before the show was to start and settled in for some “attitude adjustment” to get ready for the concert.

 

To say it was hot was an understatement. If you have never lived in Florida then you don’t really understand what it is like in the summertime. The humidity is never less than 80%, and the temp is likely to be close to 95 during the day and only cooling off to 80 at night. Needless to say a lot of people were passing out from  the heat and “over indulgence”.

 

onstage

Zeppelin on stage 1977

We were well on our journey to mystic magic land when my buddy points out the usual gathering of afternoon storm clouds looks really ominous, huge purple thunder heads spewing shafts of lightning and creating bone rattling thunder. Its as if the Gods are having a contest with the band to see who is the loudest and who has the best light show.  This particular evening, Mother Nature won.

 

The band hits the stage with a rousing rendition of “The Song Remains The Same“, blinding white lights and Jimmy Page in white satin. That image forever seared into my brain, the pic held high over his head as he would pound the chords out….”California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain. Honolulu starbright, the song remains the same……”

 

The second song is “The Rover” with a segue into “Sick Again“. By this point it is raining buckets, the people who dropped acid are freaking out on the rain drops and the pot heads are pissed cause their weed is now a green gooey mess. The lighting is pounding all around the stadium, as the sky is split apart by thunder louder than John Bonhams kick bass.

 

As if to apologize for what will happen later the band launches into a truncated version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”. When the band finishes up this song they hurry off the stage, right about the time a huge tarp over the stage area bursts from all the rain water that has collected in it. My buddy and I head for the exits and miss the “riot”….Tampa police brutalizing long hairs for kicks. By the time we get home we see all the news reports of the “crazed” crowd and all the cops going crazy on the Zeppelin fans. Three days later the mayor of Tampa bans Led Zeppelin from ever performing in the city again. Refund were offered if you mail in  your ticket stub…which most people threw away or watched it dissolve in the soaking rain….except for me.

 

Here is my ticket stub from that incredible night….

 

Pristine condition after 35 years...

Pristine condition after 35 years…

 

If any one has a Zeppelin story to share please respond in the comments section.

 

English: Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (r...

English: Robert Plant (left) and Jimmy Page (right) of Led Zeppelin, in concert in Chicago, Illinois     Photo credit Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getti'n my smoke on...

Getting my smoke on…

Sometimes you just gotta cook…a lot.

For me cooking is therapy. Some guys hunt and fish; I’m the guy that cooks what those other guys kill or catch. It seems like I have always been barbecuing,  grilling, or smoking some kind of food, probably growing up in the south where you can cook outside pretty much year round adds to that observation.

Busy day ahead....

Busy day ahead….

I remember my Dad, who worked at the old A&P supermarket as a meat cutter would always bring home some kind of meat on Fridays and proceed to poke and prod and baste and season it before approaching his altar of fire and smoke, the Webber grill. Upon that fixture of charcoal and wood some of the most memorable food was created, as well as some really great memories with family and friends.

10 Racks 4 butts....

10 Racks 4 butts….

I have tried to continue that tradition, and to this day I have been known to just load up the grill with meat and watch the people show up and proceed to have  a rather large time.

Perfection....

Perfection….

Here is to all smoke heads everywhere, may your coals be gray and meat be tender and may you never, ever run out of beer!

The beast...gone but never forgotten....

The beast…gone but never forgotten….

Those of you that have known me for awhile are well aware of my passion for cooking on the grill. I have always loved cooking outdoors and sharing that experience with friends and family. Fire, smoke, and meat is primal; it is universal and shared by all cultures.

Beer Can Chicken or Drunken Bird is a favorite of mine. It is very easy to prepare and it is sure to generate a certain “WOW” factor that will impress any one lucky enough to be around when you show this bad bird off on your grill.

Lets start with the basic set up for cooking a bird standing up…

beercanrig

This is a great little rig you can get from any well equipped grill shop. Wal-Mart has been known to sell them, for about five bucks. If you don’t use a rig like this then you probably will need to get a tall beer,  16 or 24 oz can.

beerrig2

First thing you need to do is remove the top of the can. Believe it or not a hand held can opener works perfectly for this. The kind of beer you choose is entirely up to to your own personal preference. Whether it be an import or a domestic beer, the idea is to have the liquid infuse into the bird from the inside out during cooking. I prefer to use a deep red amber ale that I brew myself. If for some reason you don’t know me personally yet and cant get your hands on a bottle of my fine brew, a great beer to use is Sam Adams Boston Lager. Drink the beer out of what ever can you are using and pour your favorite brew in. Of course you can use any domestic or import can of your choice as well. I like to add a few cloves of garlic to the beer and also a good heaping table spoon of rub.

Next on the list is the spice rub that we will lather that beautiful naked bird in…

spice

I will be the first person to tell you this about rubs….DON’T buy one from some hack BBQ guru wannabe… Make your own!

So here is the deal… pick out some spices you like, garlic, season salt, dill, brown sugar, what ever you use as your daily spices. Then throw a bunch into a bowl. Use sugar for no more than 50% of your rub as it tends to burn and caramelize too much.

Garlic...know it...live it...love it!

Garlic…know it…live it…love it!

I use brown sugar, garlic salt, Hungarian paprika, dill, basil, oregano, and pretty much what ever else I have on hand. Don’t over think this, just use some common sense and you will be fine.

Rub the bird with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO, and then sprinkle the rub on your oiled up poultry and let her sit a bit.

EVO, this is a must have any kitchen

EVOO, this is a must have in any kitchen

chickrub

rubbedchickpan

A well rubbed bird……

chickrubbed

Next simply place the bird over the can or can rig an place in a foil pan.

So these two drunk birds walk into a grill.....

So these two drunk birds walk into a grill…..

Ready for some heat. Get your grill hot to about 300 degrees and place the pan of chicken on the grill. Reduce heat to 250 degrees and cook til internal temp is 180 degrees in the thigh.

On a pan in the gas grill

On a pan in the gas grill

Oh my, how pretty!

Shes a done bird

Shes a done bird

Perfect!

Perfect!

Standing up...

Standing up…

Enjoy your meal!

Muddy Waters - Super Blues

Muddy Waters – Super Blues (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

Anyone who’s followed the course of modern popular music is aware of the vast influence exerted on its development by the large numbers of blues artists who collectively shaped and defined the approach to amplified music in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Chicago was the pivotal point for the development and dissemination of the modern blues and virtually everything else has flowed, in one way or another, from this rich source.

The Official Muddy Waters Website – Biography.

prog rock album covers here we come

 

Progressive rock music has its roots in the mid 1960’s psychedelic cultural phenomena. During that time the British Invasion and folk-rock bands began to expand the sonic possibilities of their music. These groups slowly started to abandon the concise verse-chorus-verse patterns of rock & roll, and moved towards fluid, free-form oriented song structures. Just as important was the incorporation of elements from Indian and Eastern music. Along them the principles of free-form jazz were included to the psychedelic sound, emphasizing spontaneous emotions over calculated and estimated compositional constructions. Experimenting with new studio technology, electronically altering instruments and voices, was a part of this altered approach as well. Acid rock groups like THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE and CREAM stand as descriptive and popular examples of the path from psychedelic sunshine pop towards a more aggressive and distinct rock expression, in particular showcased in their improvised live performances.

 

 

 

India Pale Ale – Beer Recipes – Popular Mechanics.

Great list of beer recipes for home brew,  I love the IPA.