Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

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Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Blue Tuna » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:27 am

Greetings everyone,

For my first post to this forum I would like to ask the following question:

How many well known (internationally known recording) BLUES guitarists have there ever been who DID NOT SING?

I know there have been many rock guitarists who were not singers (at least not as lead vocalist), but I honestly cannot name many in the blues field. It seems that if you are a blues guitarist and hope to ever be well known then it is REQUIED that you sing lead as well.

Is this true? If not please list maybe ten well-known exceptions.

Thanks everyone - :-)
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Disciple » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:50 am

Earl Hooker I don't believe was a singer nor is Hubert Sumelin but both are regarded as about as good as it gets in blues guitar.

Eric Clapton said Hubert is about the heaviest guitarist he's ever heard.

Earl Hooker pioneered some of the coolest sounds in electric blues and appears on untold major tunes with the greats.

I'm sure there are others.

Roy Buchannon I don't think did much singing either, much of the tunes of his that I have are sung by female vocalists as is also the case with Long John Hunter.

Ron Wood sings but infrequently in the context of the Stones. On his own bluesier albums he sings.

That is 5 but I'm not confident they are the best examples aside from Hubert and Earl Hooker.
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby goldbrick » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:22 am

jeff beck, ronnie earle,matt murphy,mick taylor,danny gatton,jimmy page, carlos santana,kenny burrell...
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby tobywalker » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:41 am

Harvey Mandel, Mick Taylor, Peter Green,
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby texas blues » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:54 am

tobywalker wrote:Harvey Mandel, Mick Taylor, Peter Green,


Sorry. Peter Green sang quite a bit with Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac.

Dig it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivS5wjwG ... r_embedded
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby goldbrick » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:26 am

Peter Green is amazing--one of the best Les Paul players ever--

As with Clapton =always felt they lost a bit when they went to the strat
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Blue Tuna » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:25 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

I wassn’t that aware of Earl Hooker but found this on Wikipedia:
“Earl Hooker (January 15, 1929 – April 21, 1970) was a Chicago blues guitarist. Hooker rarely sang and in a genre where the stars were vocalists or vocalists/instrumentalists, his commercial success was limited. However, he "was undeniably a virtuoso among guitar players"and has been acknowledged by many of his peers.”

It sounds like he had limited commercial success so I don’t know how he would quite have had enough success to qualify as “well known” in an international sense on the level of someone like any of the “Kings”.

I think that Hubert Sumlin would qualify for sure, thanks for reminding me of him.

Harvey Mandel would probably not qualify since he was not primarily known as a strictly blues guitarist. If he was, then yes, he would qualify.

Roy Buchannan would maybe come close to qualifying but he did do his own vocals on many songs.

I would say no to Mick Taylor, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Ronny Earle, Jimmy Page, Danny Gatton, mat Murphy and Carlos Santana since I think they are mostly not considered as strictly blues guitarists. I know some might disagree.

As pointed out, Peter Green did some vocals. He would probably come close though.

Also Robin Trower plays some great blues, but is not known as strictly a blues artist (although most of what he plays certainly has a great blues feel and he has released an all-blues album.)

Disagreement here is welcome for sure.
What I’m looking for are well-known guitarists who are known almost strictly as blues guitarists who do almost or never sing lead vocals. Side men, no matter how great they may be do not qualify here. They must front their own band and be internationally known.

Cheers
BT
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Stackabones » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:02 pm

Very interesting thread, BT. Rock era, yes ... but among bluesmen it is rather rare, isn't it?

I'd throw out Oscar Moore, probably a bit too jazzy for what you're considering -- but I hear so much blues in his playing.
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby gaucho » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:09 pm

How about Derek Trucks. I've seen him on stage many times and don't ever recall seeing him sing....
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Stackabones » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:36 pm

How about Duane Allman?
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Blue Tuna » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:40 pm

Derek Trucks is listed in Wikipedia as: "Rock, southern rock, blues, blue-eyed soul, world music, jazz fusion"
Duane Allman is listed as: "Southern rock, blues, blues-rock, soul, rock, jazz"

Even though they play blues very well, they are not probably not going to be found in the "Blues" section of a CD store.

What I mean is a dedicated or "mostly" dedicated blues guitarist.

I think that it is safe to say that the "vast" majority of blues guitarists that are well-known and have their own band (mostly with their own name in the title) also sing lead.

This is not so much the case in other genres such as rock. There are "plenty" of well-known non-singing rock guitarists such as Carlos Santana, Jimmy page, Jeff Beck, Tony Iommi, Eddie Van Halen (backup vocals only), Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Fripp, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Lifeson, etc - the list can go on and on I'm sure.

I really don't know why it has evolved this way, but it really seems to be the case.
In Blues, you may be a great guitarist, but if you don't sing, you seem to be regarded as a sideman (or woman).
In rock, you can be a legend without ever singing, but in the blues genre, it is very rare.
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Stackabones » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:22 pm

Not sure about using Wiki, or even a CD section, as a guideline in this case. It seems like the only folks who are going to qualify were active before the 60s/70s -- and they'd better not be white or have ever even thought about rock n roll. :lol:
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Disciple » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:20 pm

I would respectfully disagree regarding Earl Hooker the only difference between Hooker and Sumlin is longevity. If Hubert hadn't lived this long he to would be an almost forgotten virtuoso. I can't account for all of Hookers work but since paying attention I am constantly surprised how many places he turns up.

As for Hubert Sumlin had he passed away 4 decades ago hardly a mention of him would turn up today. Hubert had a great return during the early seventies along with many other Chicago "big names" when Antone's in Austin gave them a venue to extend their careers during an otherwise indifferent period as far as blues players go. Not to suggest there hasn't been other instances or venues where blues artists resurfaced but that particular bit of timing basically relegated Earl Hooker to obscurity until the digital age where we have the luxury of these types of discussion and of course where we can find accounts of his work at the touch of a button.

Earl Hooker was absolutely the foremost electric slide / effects player in the modern blues era. If you listen to his stuff you'll hear him doing things with a slide and a wah wah peddle that didn't become common or known for some time to follow his use of such tools. Even now the combination is rare and likely extremely difficult or we'd hear more of it.
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby allanlummox » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:48 pm

How about Lonnie Johnson?
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Re: Well known non-vocal blues guitarists

Postby Blue Tuna » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:35 am

Regarding Disciple's comment regarding Earl Hooker, I am sure that he was a great player and perhaps quite influential within the network of blues guitarists - not to take anything away from Earl.

I guess the point of this thread is simply to point out the difference regarding the possibility of global popularity of non-singing blues guitarists compared to guitarists of other genres (and perhaps especially rock guitarists).

To be sure, hard-core blues has a much smaller following than that of rock and the number of dedicated blues players is smaller than that of rock. But it's the percentage that I think shows the disparity.
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