Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jimi and Shotgun

I was looking for videos for the classic R&B tune, "Shotgun" when I ran across this early televised clip of Jimi Hendrix playing behind the duo, Buddy and Stacey. Jimi is over on stage right, next to the drums -- not the first guitar player you'll see. He isn't given much to do beyond the fundamental riff that defines "Shotgun," but if you listen very, very closely at the 1:30 mark, you'll hear him throw in a few extra notes that are all Jimi-- as if he couldn't be constrained any longer by the repetition. Also, check out the over the neck sweeping action he throws in at 1:48 as a little flash.

Buddy and Stacy were apparently a hot song and dance act that performed with notables such as Little Richard, Jr. Walker, Bobby Bland, B.B. King, and Gladys Knight. I also read that they performed with The Sir Douglas Quintet, of which I wrote months ago. They certainly had the dance moves. And how about those high-waisted pants?

That performance may have been the only gig Jimi played with Buddy and Stacy. After that, and before he became a superstar and guitar god, he played guitar for the Isley Brothers ca. 1964. The next clip is an instrumental version of an Isley Brothers tune, "Move Over and Let Me Dance." Though there's no accompanying video, I'm including it here because there is no mistaking the Hendrix sound and riffs. (It may be of limited interest by readers who are not guitar players).

I started this post thinking about "Shotgun," not Jimi, so let's get back to it. I first heard "Shotgun" on a 1968 album by a Northern California band called Clover. I still have a Clover LP and will digitize its tracks some day because it's not available anywhere. Today we might categorize Clover as "alt-country" -- they were using pedal steel guitar and playing a mix of country and R&B before Gram Parsons arrived on the scene. In a later incarnation, their front man was Huey Lewis, before he broke into the big time. After that, several members of the band moved to England where they became Elvis Costello's band on "My Aim is True." Believe it or not.

"Shotgun" makes for a great rhythm guitar lesson, with a couple of interlocking parts that makes it fun to play for two guitarists. I'll close with the best known version of the song performed by Jr. Walker and the Allstars. The quality is crappy, but it has go go dancers. Listen for the little rhythm guitar figure at about .33, after the line "Put on your red dress."

No comments: