BB King taught me to play the guitar

When the hugely influential guitarist BB King died, there passed an era that will never return in our memory or that of our children or grandchildren.

So many of the events in music are unique such as the arrival of the blues boom in England bands such as the Stones, Animals and the Beatles re exporting the music back to the USA, the uniqueness was not the music but the environment that fostered it coming out of segregation in America the declining British Empire and the aftershocks of war and then the children of the war casting something different in the world.
These events will only happen when comparable scenarios happen in the world. It seems that the context required for new musical innovation has to come out some form of poverty whether that is financial or cultural or even political. The fact many of the innovators in British music came from places that will close to ports is no coincidence. In my conversation with Chas Hodges (of Chas and Dave) on my YouTube site Chas explains how you needed to know someone who was in the merchant navy to be able to get access to recordings from America.

I was lucky because my brother was in the merchant navy and that gave me access to music from America which influenced my musical tastes as a very young boy, however I was lucky that when I was learning to play it was possible to have those albums on import by visiting record shops such as Dobells London to get jazz and blues recordings.

It still meant we had to learn off the record either because the music books did not exist or in the case of the Beatles Complete were completely inaccurate or just misleading. In fact the book should have been renamed the Beatles Complete Rubbish.

Chas also made the comment that on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis as his bass player he learnt to play the piano by watching Jerry Lee each night. I could say exactly the same about working note for note through the guitar solos of BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Rory Gallagher.

I believe that working through the recordings puts the music into the context that the solos are set and therefore we get closer to the original magic of a great guitar player than by staring at a book.

Choose your favourite guitar player and let them teach you how to play.

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