The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Great Guitar Show: Earl Klugh and George Benson with "Dreamin"

Both Andy and Buck have raised questions about the initial "war" metaphor we've been using in this series. I too am tiring of it. Not the guitar posts. The metaphor. I'm really enjoying the posts that we're all putting up and I'm learning about many new guitarists that I haven't heard of before. As Buck says, we're all winning. I'd like to keep this going awhile longer if everyone agrees. But suppose we change the metaphor.

In writing about baseball, reporters refer to the major leagues as "The Show." It's the supreme entertainment showcase for all the high level skills that each player possesses. Sure, there's competition, and it can be fierce, almost like war at times, but even the losing teams have players that exhibit tremendous skills worth watching. And in the history of baseball there have been many odd and unusual quirks as well, players that drew fans in for reasons not necessarily related to their skills. I'm thinking here of the midget (not PC I know) Eddie Gaedel who pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns in a major league game against the Detroit Tigers in 1951...
Browns owner Bill Veeck was a showman who enjoyed staging publicity stunts. He found Eddie Gaedel through a booking agency. Due to his size, Gaedel had worked as a riveter during World War II. Gaedel was able to crawl inside the wings of airplanes.
With Bob Cain on the mound - laughing at the absurdity that he actually had to pitch to Gaedel[7] - and catcher Bob Swift catching on his knees, Gaedel crouched with bat in hand. Veeck later wrote in his autobiography that he'd measured Gaedel's strike zone in this position before the appearance, and that it was just one and a half inches. The Tigers catcher offered his pitcher a piece of strategy: "Keep it low." Cain delivered four consecutive balls, all high (the first two pitches were legitimate attempts at strikes; the last two were half-speed tosses). Gaedel took his base (stopping twice during his trot to bow to the crowd) and was replaced by pinch-runner Jim Delsing. The 18,369 fans gave Gaedel a standing ovation.
I mention this story to support my contention that "The Great Guitar Show" would be a good name for our series. Andy's already thrown out a couple of surprises including a child prodigy on the guitar. So there's plenty of room for that kind of thing in our series.

Guitar playing isn't exactly a team sport, but the skilled and talented musicians who play this instrument are in the truest sense of the word putting on a tremendous Show. So, suppose we call this series The Great Guitar Show. And whenever you feel like it, post someone you think is at the major league level.  Like these two guys...


  1. Woaaaaa! Dan, George Benson had not yet crossed my mind. And once again, I profess ignorance...didn't have a clue about Earl Klugh. That was just fabulous!

    I truly do not belong in something called a "WAR." I think you've hit the nail on the noggin with the idea of "Guitar Show."

    I shall be searching in a few minutes for one of my favorite "guitar-only" tunes. I'm not sure that I'll find it. But if I do, I'll guarantee you it will be worth a spot on "The Show."

    (A side note) I don't know if many have enjoyed this so much...but I certainly have!

  2. Ah. I first heard Benson back around '75 when "Breezin" went mainstream. A Japanese girlfriend of my ex- introduced us to him. We were living in Tokyo at the time; Junko (the girlfriend) was an accomplished bass player in an all-girl Japanese rock band. Go figure... Digressions aside, Benson always conjures up good memories for me.

    Klugh, too, but from a different time... nearly ten years on, in London. Introduced to me by yet another friend, a Brit who's forgotten more about music than I'll EVER know. He worked in the music biz and had a record collection that took entire ROOMS to warehouse. I so envied that dude... and appreciated the concert tickets he dropped on The Second Mrs. Pennington and I from time to time. Ah... Former Happy Days, as our Russian friends say.