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Monday, 23 February 2015

Blues Guitar: Acoustic or Amplified? Finger-Picking Purists and the "Mouldy Fig Mentality"; Link Wray







Charles Keil writes a lot about "the moldy-fig mentality" in Urban Blues (1966). He was referring to collectors who preferred old pre-war acoustic blues to contemporary electric Chicago blues.

There were times, when I saw John Lee Hooker performing live, that I wished he'd play acoustic guitar and some slow, deep, Mississippi country blues rather than his more commercial R 'n' B. But I always liked both styles, acoustic, and amplified, even those heavily distorted electric jump blues and boogies from his early days.

Snooks Eaglin: I still prefer his acoustic recordings. I love Doc Watson's acoustic finger-picking. The same goes for John Jackson, Mississippi John Hurt, and many pre-War blues musicians. I also admire Dick Gaughan's guitar style.

On Doc and Snooks

Acoustic and electric: Doc Watson and Duane Eddy -: Thunder Road/Sugarfoot Rag

Who would deny the noise and exciting energy of the sounds made by the likes of  Duane Eddy, Al Casey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, T-Bone Walker, Hubert Sumlin, Magic Sam, B B King, Elmore James, Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Keith Richards, James Burton and all those other masters of the amplified electric guitar?


Maybe a mention of these electric guitarists is just a later expression of the mouldy-fig mentality?

When it comes to harmonica, I love the acoustic sounds of Noah Lewis as well as the amplified mouth-harp of Little Walter.

As for guitar, I'm currently listening to the best of Link Wray:

Rumble

Jack the Ripper

Raw-Hide

The Swag

Big City After Dark

Vendetta

Ace of Spades (film)

Ace of Spades (original)

Link Wray sets  First time I really listened to Link Wray's music- really loud- was in a club in Copenhagen. He was based in Copenhagen from 1977 until 1984. He died in Copenhagen in November 2005, and he is buried in Copenhagen.

How to play Rumble (YouTube)

How to play Big City After Dark


As regards Greek music and panigyria in Epirus, I often lament the over-amplification. Like Christopher King, I much prefer to hear acoustic instruments, especially the klarino and violin.



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