Greatest Guitar Band

I thought just before Christmas I'd get a good thread going. IMHO,the greatest guitar band was the Yardbirds, not because E Clapton,or J Beck, or J Page was in it but because Chris Deja, and Paul Samwell-Smith were great rhythm and bass guitarists that could rock and keep up with the above. Plus Jim McCarty the drummer could keep the group in line and fine harmonica work from Keith Relf(ok not the greatest vocalist, more of a finesse singer).They had it all, I cannot think of another band that had three great guitarists in the band at one time(J Beck, C Deja, P Samwell-Smith). In 1967, when J Beck and J Page were in the band togther as co-lead guitars, they were the lead in band for the rolling stones, they just blow them away,ok, that is not a fair comparison considering the rolling stones still cannot play their instruments very well. But in comparison to say Led Zepplin, LZ did not have a rhthym guitarist(except J Page would overdub that part on recordings). That made them sound not as well rounded live as far as guitar work is concerned. I am not saying LZ was a bad band on the contrary,they put on probably the best show ever, but I do not consider them a guitar band per se. Besides, J Page stole vitually from his former band anyway. Remember "How Many More Times" is a repackaged version of the YBs "Smokestack Lightning", a Howlin Wolf tune. YBs version is in my mind the best rock song ever. So what do you think????
Check out Savoy Brown or the original Fleetwood Mac. I have not seen FM's first group of albums like "Kiln House" on CD and do not know if they exist nor have I checked for CD's by Savoy Brown. I am just going from memory of vinyl and also saw them both live quite a few times when growing up in the Midwest. Lots of guitarists in each band and Peter Green was in the original FM. Another popular guitar band at the time was Wishbone Ash that I personally did not listen to much. I once saw FM and Savoy Brown share the stage for an encore at a concert and it looked like there were nine or ten guitarists on the stage at one time, but they played some standard blues tunes and did so well together. Better than an "all star" band if you have seen the likes of those. Another favorite other than those you mention was Alan Holdsworth who I felt was somewhat like Beck in his "Blow by Blow" stage, but all the time. Holdsworth also did a huge favor for a friend of mine (allowed him to mix his album at Alan's home digital studio for free when funds ran out on the private project, plus contributed a solo.) and is a stand up guy as well.
Yes the original FM was a great guitar band when Peter Green was lead guitar. I believe all three(J. McVie, M. Fleetwood, and P. Green) came from the John Mayall Blues Band. The Brits were a close knit group of musicians and it was not uncommon for them to sit in others recording studios and help out. Got to remember that J Page before he joined the Yardbirds was a sessions guitarist, it is a well founded fact that he was the sessions guitarist for the kinks and the rolling stones. Did you really think R.Davies could get that guitar lick out for "All Day and All Night" by himself?? Saw Savoy Brown good but not great:Wishbone Ash ok but nothing outstanding. J Beck if you ever get to see the man in action do so because he still does rock!! I want to see JPage and JBeck do an album and go on tour(without that godawful R Plant singing) together.Probably never happen but I can always wish. How about Alvin Lee??
Yes, saw Alvin Lee quite a few times (Ten Years After) also remembering Johhny Winters and Rick Deringer as being good on stage. Lee's performances were not very consistant and were either great or very sloppy. Saw Deryk and the Dominoes after Duane Allmans death and thought they were great. Also always enjoyed the Allamn Brothers live and Creedence Clearwater (much better live than their albums). Hated Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes but always enjoyed Ry Cooder and some of the bands that Taj Mahal put together. My favorite rythem players were Jim Gordan, James Keltner, Charlie Watts, Carl Radle (Mr. Taste) and John Entwistle whos bass playing was remarkable when seen live. Also Keith Moon before his demise. Zepalin got on my nerves and I did not care that much for them until they came out with Houses of the Holy, just my personal taste. Saw Cream as well and did not like EC's work except for Badge, liked him before and after though. Two others that I saw once live, both in bars in Iowa City, Ia in the early 70's, were Bonnie Raite and Asleep at the Wheel (some of the best steel and slide guitar ever), very clean but "out there" playing. One other good band were the Faces that played with Rod Sterwart. The only CD's that I own from this era are "Blow by Blow" and "Layla" on MFSL, it would be nice to add some others.
It is kind of funny that you name LZ's House of the Holies as the first album of theirs you liked. Me too!! As I said before their first album was a rip-off of the 1968 version of the Yardbirds. After that it was pure stadium rock which could be fun once in awhile but I could not take in large doses. As far as the others you mention most of them I would individually call either great or very good. But to me a guitar band had to have a very energtic rhthym guitarist and a very involved bass player that is why the Yardbirds were great. Something was always happening whether upfront with J Beck or C Deja or Samwell Smith. J McCarty gave the best impression of a martial band drummer with K Relf wailing away on harmonica. From my username I am really a Schubert nut but the Yardbirds are the rock equals of the Emerson Quartet recording of a Schubert string quartet, always something happening musically. If you are remotely interested, most Yardbird records /CDs were recorded ok for the 60s. Lots of distortion intended or otherwise,lots of dynamic compression, some recorded mono. But to me there was nothing like them. Lots of people wonder why they are in the RnR Hall of Fame,maybe because the insiders knew of all the 60s groups the Yardbirds could play their guitars and play them well.
The Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Phil Lesh has been smokin' everyone about for the last 30 years. They are even still smokin' them with Jerry long dead. Go check out Dicks Picks volumns 1-18. All live recordings, all very different, all make with love and care. They will keep on truckin' long into the future. You can even see the remaining members live here in the BAy Area. Two new years eves shows, Phil and Friends at the HJK in Oakland (site of the numerous New Years show for the GD)and Ratdog at the Oakland Arena. Hmmm, which of the above bands can you go see??? Evolution my freinds!
Ditto for the Dead!
The original Allman Brothers Band (especially, Live at the Filmore East) was to me the best guitar band of that era. I lived in Greenwich Village and saw tons of shows at the Village Theater (which later became the Filmore East). I must mention Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck. Both were miles ahead of any guitarist of that era. The original Paul Butterfield Blues Band featured Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. The Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, were great leaders in British blues/rock. Humble Pie in the early days were a great blues/rock guitar band. I saw the Cream during there first tour of the US, they were part of a Murray The K Show in New York City and completely "blew my mind." Ten Years After was awesome when they first appeared as a blues/jazz band, but I thought they sucked as a rock band (how many times can they play "I'm Going Home!!!) Roy Buchanan was one of the great unsung heros of blues guitar. I'm sure I'll wake-up around 3:30AM and remember others.
yo deadheads...The Dead cannot come close to the smoldering intensity of J Beck & crew.Have any of you deadheads every hear "Psycho Daisies" ?? Both JBeck and JPage were with the Yardbirds at the time(1967) as co-lead guitarists. Paul had left and Cris had taken over bass. If you want to see them rent the movie Blow Up where they do a rendition of "A train keeps a comin'." Both JPage and JBeck were in it.Awesome guitar work. The sounds JBeck could get out of his Stratocaster nobody can touch.
My favorite "guitar music genre" is blues/rock. That said, I've only recently discovered Dave Hole, a blues/rock slide guitar player of the 1st order. He's from Australia, but found his way to Chicago and put out 5 CDs on the Alligator Label. Dave Hole doesn't just merely play slide guitar, he attacks it-- straffing (sp?) the guitar on attack after attack. FWIW, he plays with left hand over the top of the guitar, and to good effect. Ry Cooder has more finesse and gentleness to his "slide" than Dave Hole, but D. Hole has incredible NRG-- and he sings well too. Another I really like, and has been around a long time, is JJ Cale. He plays a more gentle type of blues/rock (and ballads) with a distinct, slower, softer, Southern delivery-- in contrast to the Hi-NRG Chicago blues. JJ Cale is also an excellent singer and story teller. Dave Hole and JJ Cale should have made it bigger, IMHO. Recommendations? Dave Hole CD, "Under the Spell", and JJ Cale CD, "Guitar Man", or CD, "Anthology". As I'm an old coot, CCR has to be the best "guitar band" in my generation, or at least my favorite. I also really like Eric Clapton's "Blues" CD. Hope this post hasn't polluted your thread with "blues" considerations. PS; I think Dekay may like "Guitar Man" CD. Happy Holidays. Craig.
OK I like JJ Cale, I really like his version of "Cocaine", of course he wrote it. But again he is a just a great guitarist without a really good backup band. Same goes with E Clapton. Besides having just session players his music has been lacking in intensity and drive but still an awesome guitar player. I will repeat it again, the Yardbird's rendition of "Smokestack Lightning" with the hard driving lead guitar of E Clapton and the almost mythical bass and rhthym guitar playing of the rest of the band still makes it the greatest song ever. It is raw and exciting. With JBeck at the helm of the group it is different more stylish/even more bluesy but just as exciting. I never heard JBeck/JPage Yardbirds do the song but god I would love to hear that one!! Speaking of blues bands that were electric try any album or cd with Muddy Waters, Otis Spann,and Willie Dixon. Saw Muddy in 1969 awesome guitar work all finesse and grace and the rhythm section was superb;those guys do not waste a note. If you like to try something different try "Fathers and Sons" with M Bloomfield. P Butterfield, with Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and crew. Jimi Hendrix was technically great but his band did not share the spotlight ;it all was shown on Jimi. That is why this thread was on Guitar Bands not Guitar Players
Garfish: Yes, I used to like and listen to JJ Cale (Mr. Mellow), also liked Humble Pie although I thought they had more of a top 40 sound, but were good players. Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Tubes and early electric Neil Young come to mind as well. From the late 70's on I feel that David Byrne of the Talking Heads was/is a good, refined, guitarist, not nearly as simple as he appears to be from a musicians standpoint. The real problem is remembering what and who I listened to at that time in my life. LOL.
While some great individual guitar players have been named, you did ask for guitar bands. I would ditto Fleetwood Mac and Wishbone Ash, give a hearty yes for the Allman Brothers, add Lynyrd Synyrd, and mention one of my favorites; Stephen Stills and Manassas. "The Treasure" is one great guitar work-out. Brian
Rosstaman, you and i have the same taste Mike Bloomfield was one of the all time best.super session with Al Kooper,Stephen Stills WOW Blues Project,Stevie Winwood,Boz scaggs,and last but not least Jimi Hendrix.
I think that Greg Allman did the solo on Scaggs version of "Brother Can You Spare Me a Dime".
Listen to Dark Star. Maybe it is not white boys from England overdriving their guitars and trying to sound the part of a 60's or 70's blues band. But, it goes where few have gone before! Hey, I like those bands to....but I feel Jeff Beck was better on Blow by Blow and Wired. Also, when it comes to white boys playing the blues you have to mention Johnny Winter. Check out Johnny Winter's Second Winter. Great guitar and not bad sound. And, I would also include Frank Zappa. His albums are clearly guitar driven and he has to be one of the greatest!!!!
Shubertmaniac I have no idea what this thread is start off talking about a guitar band then mention the drummer and harmonica.(also I think you'll find Page played bass for the short time he played with far as I'm aware most bands use a guitarist of some sort)..and you're dismissal of the Stones is really a laugh...but in theory here you are Led Zeppelin,Radiohead around the Bends era are arguably the best modern guitar band(3 guitarists),Van Halen,Beatles,Pink Floyd,Dylan and the Hawks (The Band)..these guys used guitars I think...I mean the thread isn't that well defined are we talking live,studio,songwriting? I have no idea but I think a lot of you guys should try buying some records released after 1978......:-) Regards, Ben
For 'guitar band', my vote goes to The Allman Brothers in their early days when Duane Allman was still around. Their Live at the Fillmore album has amazing improvisation playing. Great slide playing. Very Honerable mentions goes to Metallica.
bencampbell is right. hell, i bet i'm older than any of you guys but i still go to concerts every chance i get. bands with at least 3 guitars, including bass, that are worthy and righteous: phish; primus; blues traveler; springsteen/lofgren/van zandt; paul simon's latest; bonnie raitt's latest; brian setzer's orchestra; the neville brothers; bighead todd...i could go on. fact is, the world of the rock guitar didn't begin and end with the yardbirds or zep or gd. it's still evolving. go experience it. at red rocks, if you can. peace.
I really can't believe with all the commentary on Clapton that Cream wasn't mentioned...Definitely superior to the Yardbirds...they were just short lived. It's not like Page Beck and Clapton ever collaborated as Yardbirds, or else I think it would be without question.
I mentioned Cream. I thought that they lacked focus and didn't care for the Yardbirds either (too crude and ego driven to mesh). Shoot me now or later.
Many good, some even great, and interesting comments. I say without hesitation or verbiage that the answer to the question is Aerosmith!
A great concert experience in the 70's was watching the 3 guitarists of the Outlaws go at it, side by side. Green Grass and High Tides Forever. (I just wish their lyrics weren't usually such sappy lovey-dovey stuff - kind of like Marshall Tucker - I could listen to it a lot more often than I do.) **Also would like to plug a solo guy you might miss - Junior Brown with his "guitsteel," double neck. Kind of an Eddie Van Halen with a cowboy hat and a sense of humor!** Charlie
We are talking "bands" here right....I too love Eddie Van Halen's musical ability, but I don't think Michael Anthony stacks up to the competition. That is not intended as a slam in any way shape or form. But if you are talking solo artists, my father displayed a talent for me that even outshined the great Van Halen in my youth....from country music , no less....much to my dismay Chet Atkins would bury most of rock & roll's greats in a one on one playoff.
Actually, Clapton buried Chet in front of millions on the Ed Sullivan show during a guitar duke out. It was no contest.
Lots forget that before they became a pop/rock band, Fleetwood Mac had Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer playing amazing blues/rock guitar. They also cut a record in Chicago (on Chess I believe) with Muddy Waters, Howling Wolfand other notables. Check out a CD recorded live at the Shrine Audiorium (in LA) from a 1969 concert. A sleeper that is good as any English guitar rock/blues from that era. Another that people forget about is Quicksilver Messenger Service -- several guitar players but John Cippolina stands out. The definitive San Francisco guitar sound from the late 60's. For pure speed, Alvin Lee (Ten Years After). Who can forget the opening riff on "Going Home"?
Most likely better known to us Canadians, my vote goes to Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush. Seen him live about 40 times, great guitarist. And of course David Gilmour, seen them a few times in the seventies when they were in my opinion at thier best. I still get a shiver when I think back to a night about 17 years ago when I seen Frank Zappa at the Queen Elizabeth in Vancouver, just sitting on the monitor cabinet having a smoke while the rest of the band looked after the first part of "moving to Montana" then he gets up tucks his half done cigarette into the machine head, and gets to center stage just in time to rip into the guitar solo. . . .wicked.
The nominations of The Yardbirds(especially) and Led Zeppelin are pretty hard to argue with. But, I really have to support Rosstaman and John-l on the Allman Brothers. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts were absolutely mind blowing together. And since Duane Allman and I both feel Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" was the most influential album to us(only thing he listened to for 5 years), it's easy to see why I love the Allman Brothers so much. The ABB guitar playing is the rock version of modal jazz.
You guys are great (the baby boomers). What about Big Brother and The Holding Co especialy W/Janis - raw and great. I have most of what has been mentioned on Cd and had on Lp. Oh how i miss my TT and that sound !!! Thanks
I have to cast my vote for the Allman Brothers with Duane and Dickie. The interplay between those two was something to behold. Honorable mention has to go to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Houses of the Holy was a very special album. I saw Gregg Allman at the House of Blues in New Orleans last month. He had a band with slide, lead and backing guitars and the Brothers double drum setup as well. HOB holds maybe 800-1000 people and Gregg put on a pretty decent show for a legend, considering the audience wanted to help him sing.
Hey Sfbaydude, the problem with Aerosmith is Tyler. I'd rather listen to fingernails on the blackboard than hear him "sing". BTW, in the early years, Whitford blew away Perry.
To Ben: In order for a guitar band to play well it needs a drummer that keeps the group in order. The harmonica playing of Keith was just an added bonus. OK, I loved the Yardbirds maybe because they could play their instruments. Maybe I liked them because what ever came after them was a rip off of the group. Whether Eric, or Jeff, or Jimmy was lead guitar they were inventive,never took themselves seriously. An interviewer once asked Keith Relf why he played in a RnR band...his response :to meet chicks and get laid!!! After them things changed it went from being club rock (J Beck still likes performing in small clubs or venues) to stadium rock. Things change but not necessary for the better. Look J Page basically took the Yardbirds in 1968 changed their line up added a very strong vocalist and a very strong drummer and really created stadium rock. He took Yardbird type riffs spiffed it up with very long(boring?) guitar monologs PUFF LED ZEP. When E Clapton left the group because of the direction the band was heading, he went to John Mayall for awhile, but I think he was appalled the way John approached the blues. Next formed the power trio CREAM with J Bruce and G Baker. Awesome trio, J Bruce maybe is the greatest bass player of all time (Ben--he could also play a down and dirty harmonica too). Cream also went the way of stadium rock. Spoonful and Crossroads were perhaps their best songs, both blues songs. J Beck teamed up with R Stewart and R Woods and produced one fine album in Beckola. My point is whatever came after the Yardbirds was derived from their seminal lead guitarists. The Yardbirds were there from the beginning whetheryou wanted staight up rock, blues based rock psychodelic rock, even folk rock, Remember, the drummer and vocalist formed one of the finest folk rock groups Renaissance. They were creative and knew how to play their instruments(J Beck began experimenting with sitars well before G Harrison did for the Beatles,listen to the sitar version of Heart Full of Soul.) Probably the reason I liked them is they never never took themselves seriously.
Jim, Thanks for remembering Quicksilver as Dekay did. I used to stand right in front of them watching John Cippolina. Ahhh, the good old days. And I sure do remember Alvin Lee. I wonder if I was at the Shrine for that particular concert, since I went so often then. Dekay, you remembered Savoy Brown; I'm amazed! Wonderful memories! I still enjoy listening to many of the great groups you all mentioned. If only we could still see them. For those of us who lived through those days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll... welcome to my world...we are extremely fortunate!!!!! Shubertmaniac, thanks for starting this great thread.
Really informative post there Shubertmaniac. Thanks!
Shubertmaniac yup well cleared up-I agree about early Zeppelin(highly derivative) however in my opinion they developed into arguably the greatest rock band ever,in a way that their contempories never did--the later albums are a brilliant blend of styles-I can't agree on the stadium thing it's too narrow... they've left behind a series of albums that are a benchmark of consistency within the rock world and so-called stadium bands.......certainly the generations of rock bands that followed in their wake never hit their heights..oh and if your talking guitars and drums give Metallica a nod for dynamic musicianship and good songwriting/arrangements within their field Regards, Ben
One more... Dire Straits!!!!! At least my vote for the tastiest licks!!!!!
oops! I guess that would be 2 more.... Robin Trower!!!!!
Savoy Brown is still around! I saw their show in Boulder, CO about three years ago. It was really cool because I had never even heard of them. I remember thinking 'these guys are pretty close to Jimmy Page and the gang'. It's real obvious they came up through the Clapton/Page/Beck schools. Some great guitar playing !
Sfbaydude, we are fortunate in more ways that one (like to be here with most of our senses and function intact). Speaking of the day, I remember FREE concerts in Speedway Meadows at Golden Gate Park that were amazinh then and even more amazing now when I look back on it. First, the bands. On the same day: The Dead, Janis with Big Brother; Quicksilver; Sons of Champlin, etc. And the scene...when I try to explain what went on to people today, it's hard to het through. I guess this falls into "you had to be there". I'm glad that I'm not the only one who still embraces much of the music noted on this great thread. I still have most of this on LP but have been able to find a surprising amount on CD now.
How could I have forgotten Buddy Guy. Dire Straits also was a great guitar band. Dekay, it was Duane Allman who played guitar on "Brother Can You Spare Me A Dime" which is Boz Scaggs best piece.
Yup, Duane. All blondes look alike to me.
Allman brothers!
Nobody mentions Stevie Ray Vaughan, hard to say what G Band is was the best but alot of great music mentioned here. Great post SM
Thanks for all replies. There were some great guitar bands through the years and thanks for bringing up some that I forgot about over the years including Savoy Brown(was "lonesome Dave" lead guitar of SB???)and QuickSilver Messenger Service. Dire Straits and the Allman Brothers were good choices(though they never hit me emotional like some of the others). I did notice a dirth of 1990s bands (does Nirvana qualify or not???). My last comment on the Yardbirds and then I will be silent. In an interview last year Guitar Magazine asked Jimmy Page if he would ever work with Jeff Beck...Jimmy laughed..."Jeff is so far out there musically that I would not know what to play" Jeff was doing that 35 years ago and is still doing it today. Enough. Now what is Schubert greatest String Quartet? Votes being taken now.
George Thorogood is the greatest guitar player in the world! Hey, it's the silly season isn't it? I play the guitar better than GT, but along with his Delaware Destroyers band, I really enjoy their music and have all their CDs. Why? GT is a blues rocker "throwback" to simpler times with a purist approach to R&R. And his style of rock is just fine with an old coot like me. Chuck Berry, throughout his career, used studio musicians. More seriously, I've seen Buddy Guy live (with at least 3 guitars), and IMO he is the greatest, and if he uses "merely studio muscians", his choices are excellent 'cuz they were great too. I've got to agree with Dire Straits, when Mark Knoppfler was with them. And also The Allman Brothers in their day. Good thread Schubertmaniac. Happy Holidays. Craig
Mikec, re: SRV, brings to mind the early Fabuluous Thunderbirds, also one of the greats. Craig
Hi Craig, yes so so many and yes the Yardbirds are one of my special favorites Shubert. I've spent over 40k just to make this music come alive in my livingroom and boy do i enjoy the music. Thanks all
Don't mean to be rude but it would actually be a really good thread if it threw up a few names we've never heard of ..otherwise it's just back-slapping.. as much as a lot of the music mentioned is good....respect to S for this thread and his respect for Beck...a true original but as I said further back it is hard to define... I enjoy 70's Genesis with Rutherford/Hackett and also late 70's Talking Heads (a great guitar band) and Television...Johnny Marr with The Smiths..John Squire The Stone Roses..Westerberg..The Replacements..the Young brothers AC/DC..the list is "best" only constant enjoyment,re-discovery... and personal opinions..keep them coming.... Regards, Ben H
Dekay, do you know of any publishings (video or audio)of that episode of Eric vs Chet on the Ed Sullivan show? It sounds like something I'd be interested in seeing/hearing not to mention purchasing for my collection.
Wsmatau: Sorry, no I do not. I just happened to see it one Sunday evening when I was a teenager. It was not pleasant to watch as Chet was somewhat hurt and embarrassed. I suspect that if there was any kind of a rehearsal, that Clapton held back a little during it. I also remember that Jimi Hendrix was on the Johnny Carson Show and Janis Joplin was on Dick Cavets show at around the same time. Hendrix was all smacked out and Janis was sober and shy. Strange TV times.
Garfish: Since you mentioned the Thunderbirds, I may as well through in the Fab. Rhinestones, Electric Flag and (barf) Spooky Tooth. I have never really listened to SRV and wonder if he ever did a cover of the song "Trouble"? I searched the record clubs and never came up with it on an album. Any suggestions for the best SRV to own if you are only going to have one? I just picked up a live Pink Floyd double CD (in weird packaging) to cover PF.