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Five Guitarists With the Blues


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By 1971, my family had moved out of Manhattan for the northern reaches of Westchester County. I wasn't happy about being there, but it was better than dealing with overcrowded classrooms in the city and muggings in school stairways. Craving the city at 15, I started taking the train into New York to spend hours at record stores. I'd often come back with four or five albums paid for with lawn-mowing money.

By then, many of my friends had grown weary of British blues-rock guitarists and were looking for the real thing. Unfortunately, records by Albert King, Freddy King and other electric blues players weren't available at the local mall. So they cut a deal with me. If I bought them albums by these blues artists in the city, they'd pay for two jazz albums. So took them up on their offer, but I also became intrigued by the blues players.

Here are five that caught my ear back then and still do now:

Here's Albert King at the Fillmore East in 1970...

Here's Freddie King in Europe...

Here's Magic Sam in 1969...

Here's John Lee Hooker in 1969...

And here's Otis Rush...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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