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  • Writer's pictureWOCR Staff

Forgotten or Obscure Guitarist

I'm the infamous Oryan, when I listen to music I over analyse every single note in it. Sometimes I find people who play notes I like. Sometimes these people aren't as popular as I want them to be. They aren't Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton but they're are still important dang it!

1 Robby Krieger- Robby never stood a chance in becoming widely popular in his band. Robby not only had to make his sound outshine Ray Manzarek, the king of creepy organ sounds everywhere, but had to fight onstage to get noticed over JIM MORRISON! Robby had an uphill battle in an already successful band to just get noticed. Which is a shame Robby is a great guitarist, boasting a playing style that encapsulates the sound that all 1960’s guitars strived for, but had the ability to play across several genres of music. “Spanish Caravan,” Robby’s biggest contribution to the Doors is a testament to the Doors and their willingness to explore different styles of sound.

2 Glen Buxton- Alice Cooper was once just a band’s name. Alice Cooper was once not a person. Just a band, but when the singer steals the band’s name and all attention from your collaborative goes on to the “Welcome to my Nightmare” album and it’s like nothing even happened. Glen Buxton is a hallmark of Alice Cooper’s sound. Co-writing “School’s Out,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “Elected.” Buxton’s work as a guitarist can be summed up brilliantly with “Billion Dollar Babies” the album or the song, you decide. Buxton unfortunately past away before the mini reunions with Alice Cooper and that’s a shame that will never be done justice.

3 Mick Ronson- Often seen as the second half of David Bowie’s memorable Ziggy Stardust days. Mick was a an unsung hero of the 70s and 80s appearing on David Bowie’s “Man who Sold the World” album all the way to “Aladdin Sane.” Appearing with Bob Dylan on the electric version of “Maggie’s Farm,” Lou Reed’s “Transformers” album, did a really cool version of “Once Bitten Twice Shy” with Ian Hunter, and worked with Matt the Hoople on the “All the Young Dudes” album. Mick Ronson is one of those guitarist that did a lot but died out to fast. Bowie would carry on the legacy he and Mick had created in the 1970’s, but Mick’s spot light never shined as bright as Bowie’s. Just remember David Bowie could play every instrument on all his albums except lead guitar he gave that responsibility to Mick.

4 Shinki Chen- Shinki is one of the hardest guitarist to talk about because of how hard it is to find English information about. Shinki Chen is often considered the Japanese Jimi Hendrix. I don’t know how I feel about that but I’m willing to follow along. Starting off as a part of band Speed, Glue, Shinki. There were a couple of albums made before they split up and Shinki jaded by the recording process decided he would go off and make one more solo album and just stick to playing live. This created the Shinki Chen solo album and honestly the odd dark psychedelic blues works. Some sources say Shinki did one more rock classical album but I can find little about the album! The album was called “Rock of Joy” it’s incredibly rare and remains known as Shinki’s last recorded album.

5 Les Paul and Chet Atkins- Both Les Paul and Chet Atkins have earned their legacies, but does anyone remember their collaboration career? Chester and Lester started off on the album “Chester and Lester” which was an interesting concept but would be out done with the follow up “Guitar Monsters.” Both albums got Grammys for instrumental performance. Their collaboration was an experimental trek into combining Jazz and Country. Any guitarist wanting to expand their horizons needs to at least listen to “Guitar Monsters.” Also fun game try to figure out who’s playing at any given time.

6 Elizabeth Cotton- A lot of people call Jimi Hendrix out as one of the people revolutionaries for Left Handed guitarist. Hendrix was known to take right handed guitars and string them backwards to make them into left handed stringing order. However, he was not the first leftie to play right handed guitars. Elizabeth Cotton would play the guitar backwards. I cannot stress this enough when I say Folk guitar with finger picking is hard. Playing that backwards is insane. Elizabeth would go out of her way to just play a guitar backwards, and to compensate she had to create a new style of finger picking dubbed “Cotton Picking.” Even if you know how to play guitar competently enough to watch someone play and know what they’re doing, Elizabeth’s upside down playing is confusing to watch.

7 Kazuo Takeda- another contender for the Japanese Jimi Hendrix. Often debated against with Shinki Chen as who deserves the title more. Best known for his work in Blues Creation now known as Creation. Kazuo’s best work is found in the two albums “Demon and Eleven Children” and the direct follow up collaboration “Carmen Maki and Blues Creation.” Both albums released months apart from each other but are worth the listen and highlights Kazuo’s unique blend of Hendrix blues with Black Sabbath style distortion and heavy sound.

8 Ike Zimmerman- To understand who Ike Zimmerman was you have to first know of the story of Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was the king of Delta Blues often attributing to creating the basis of modern guitarist, but in his youth Johnson sucked at guitar. Even the great Son House described his playing as embarrassing. After a disappearance for three months Robert Johnson showed up with amazing progress made in his playing style. Many attribute this to a folk tale of Robert selling his soul to the devil, but some historians have attributed Robert’s sudden growth in skill to a man named Ike Zimmerman. If you thought selling his soul to the devil was creepy well, according to several accounts Ike took Robert under his wing and taught him to play guitar every night in graveyards where no one could bother the two. The idea that Robert could learn so much in three months is where a lot of these accounts start becoming more and more suspicious. Robert died at the age of 27 in the 1930’s and eventually became popular post humorously, but Ike lived on past his student and lived a relatively fameless normal life and passed away in the 1960’s. There are no recordings of Ike Zimmerman and one can only speculate how much Robert took from Ike’s teachings but Ike may be one of the most important figures in American

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