Albert and the lost key

Geir Oien
Mon Jul 28 04:18:59 EDT 1997

> > Albert Collins was pretty much lost without a capo...that's the
> > point.

For me, who don't even know what a capo is for, this is not a point
at all! Why do so many musicians think that "the point" is whether
music is simple or difficult to play (technically, that is)? And if
I like a musician's sound, why should I worry about something like
"Oh, but I can't like him - he only knows how to play with a capo,
that means he is no good!"???

> His music speaks for itself.  If you're so overcome with a mere
> technicality, so be it.  You're missing out on some great music.  I'm
> not.

To me, *that*'s the point. If technical prowess is what is most
important to you, I really don't see why the blues is your music of
choice at all. You'll find people who play faster, master more chords,
can play in more styles, in more keys, more tempos etc. in e.g. fusion,
progressive rock, even heavy metal! I am sure Eddie Van Halen would
have found the key that band was in. Does that make him a greater
blues guitarist than Albert Collins?

Btw: Two years ago, I spent two consecutive Sunday nights at
Jr.'s Place in Holly Springs, Mississippi, savouring Jr. Kimbrough
with friends and family. The first night was Blues Heaven, with
the "regulars" finding that magical, hypnotic groove (i.e. most
songs sounded superficially fairly similar, but...) that had the whole
joint rockin'. The second night a young guitar slinger insisted on
sitting in with Jr. The guy was clearly a much more "technically
sophisticated" musician than Jr. and the rest of the band. Still, he
pretty much ruined the whole thing - putting fills and chords in
everywhere and insisting on playing "correct" changes instead of
following  what the rest was doing. The Primal Groove was gone. It
sounded bad because the guest was *from another school of music* than
the rest of the band - and he could not adapt to their way of playing.
He probably had "too much technical facility"!

> It's a fact of life that everyone has faults and limitations.

That's what makes us interesting.


PS. Rock singer T-Bone Burnette said in an interview some years ago
(referring to among others Jimmy Reed and Hank Williams sr.): "All
my heroes have had only one song." So much for flexibility. DS.

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