17. June 2014
Gibson Picks 10 Great Session Guitarists
By Walter Price
Peoples love their debates and feuds; Stones vs. Beatles, Nirvana vs. Guns N’ Roses or Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Mr. Bungle. Well, not many people remember that last one there.
Gibson.com’s Michael Leonard put out a awesome 10 Great Session Guitarists and it has nothing to do with actual rivalries unless you’re a complete musicophile and like to argue the virtues of Bob Moore vs. Gary Martin or the late Larry Knechtel vs. Carol Kaye. Then again, you probably have better things to do. We hope.
We have a sneaking suspicion on how they compiled their list and we will not start a bi-continental feud and ask why no Chuck Rainy, David Landau, Leland Sklar or even Howard Roberts. It is their list, after all. It’s all good subjective fun.
Here is a glimpse from Gibson.com’s 10 Great Session Guitarists (in no particular order):
Like Lukather, Cropper blurs the lines between a disciplined guitar-for-hire and creative tour-de-force. As a founder of Stax house-band Booker T and the M.G’s, he played on countless tracks by Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, Sam and Dave (he co-wrote “Soul Man”), Otis Redding (he co-wrote “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay”), Tower of Power, The Blues Brothers, The Jeff Beck Group and many more.
In 1996, Cropper was named “the greatest living guitar player” by the U.K’s Mojo magazine. What does Rolling Stone Keith Richards think of Steve “The Colonel” Cropper? “Perfect, man.”
In the late ’50s, Atkins was more than “just” a brilliant guitarist – he was head of RCA Nashville. A pioneer of the “Nashville Sound,” his sublime fingerpicking style and production skills graced countless recordings by the likes of Jerry Reed, Merle Travis, Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer and Les Paul. A true guitar legend of studio guitar.
Yes, Jamerson was a bassist. But his credits alone make him one of the greatest session players ever. As part of the Funk Brothers session troupe, he was the uncredited bassist on most of Motown’s hits in the 1960s and early 1970s – he played on 30 Number 1 singles. Jamerson rarely got written credit, but classic records by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops and many more mark him as a session legend.
You can check out Michael Leonard’s full 10 Great list over at Gibson.com and start your own household and/or neighborhood debate!