The Cumberland Post

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

Friday, May 7, 2010

Guitar Wars: Not That "Bad Blake" Plus a Secret Weapon

The Guitar War has not gone as I planned. When I launched the Doc Watson preemptive strike a few days ago, there were plenty who advised against it. Now these softie liberal chickenshits are leading the protests against me, calling this war "Dapper Dan's Folly" and marching in the streets with placards that read "Where Are the WMD's?" and "Give Peace a Chance."

But there were WMD's. Any fool can see that. They were used against our Doc Watson on the very first day. Exhibit "A." If Andy's Roy Clark "Maleguena" isn't a WMD, then what is? Just look at the video of Clark and you'll see the ferocity and hatred on his face as he really cranks up that 12 string near the end.  That's right. I said 12 string. 12 to Doc's measley 6. War is war and Andy definitely means business. If you want further proof that our intelligence was good on the WMD's, I give you exhibit "B." Buck's massive retaliation took the form of a Leo Kottke 12 string with a bunker busting evil slide. And Buck didn't just use any old WMD in his arsenal, he whipped out Kottke's "Vaseline Machine Gun," a terror inducing weapon of the first magnitude.

Purely as a defensive measure, I resisted those counterstrikes with Doc Watson and Tony Rice cavalry charges. That stopped their onslaught momentarily. But today I go back on the offensive. Another flatpicker. And still only six strings. Even in war, there are some things we just won't do. But these six strings have what might be called stealth power. And this warrior's licks are so clean, you won't know you're dead until you are. This is the original Bad Blake. Not the one in the Jeff Bridges movie "Crazy Heart." I'm talking about Norman Blake.

You may have heard about Blake providing some of the music for "O Brother." But he goes back much further than that. A student told me about him in the late 70's and then we saw him in person at the old Nashville Lights Festival held in early June each year (they killed the festival a few years ago). This was in the late 80's. It was 10:00 p.m. There were only a few people left on the streets and most of them were at the courthouse watching Eddie Rabbit on the main stage. Blake was on a lesser stage on Deadrick I believe. We were sitting on the curb sipping suds with about 8 or 10 other people. Blake put on a show that knocked us out. That knockout power and those clean licks are in evidence here on "Nashville Blues."

But that's not all soldiers. The Dapper has some secret weapons in his arsenal as well. Some non flat pickers.

Yes, I've used the red phone. ICBM Segovia playing Bach is in the air. Targets: the Shreveport area and Portales, NM.

Many critics have said that Segovia was the greatest classical guitar player in the world. Note to Andy and Buck: Surrender now or there's more where that came from.



  1. Ah, Segovia. You beat me to the punch... to invoke another metaphor. I originally considered posting some Segovia but went with Kottke due to some long-cherished memories of nights out on the town with Leo as the prime mover.

    Now... we shall prepare our second retaliatory strike, assuming we can find suitable YouTube clips of Ry Cooder and Richard Thompson.

    The great thing about this war, tho? EVERYone wins!

  2. Dan, honestly I had never heard of Segovia. That was just fabulous...and moving...and real good...and humbling.

    I did once get to see Rubinoff (not sure how it's spelled) play the fiddle in a high school auditorium in my little home town, though when I was about 5 years old. Just sayin'...

    I am is workin' on my response, but I'm pretty sure that I have found myself trying to throw fastballs in the big leagues. Give me a couple of minutes, and I will show you just how broadband I am when it comes up to great talent.

    I actually thought about throwing Kenny Shepherd at ya', or James Burton (both Shreveport boys), but after looking at this...I think I'll dig deeper into the South.

    Just you wait, young man!!!

  3. Buck, You're so right about everybody winning. I'd never heard of Cooder (I first thought you might be talking about Cooter from the Andy Griffin show!) but he's fantastic. I also learned about another one (Clarence White) I've never heard of before from a commenter on your site. HOw did I miss that guy 40 years ago?

  4. Andy, Glad you liked the Segovia. And I wouldn't mind hearing those Shreveport boys or anyone from the South.