But even though I appreciate their talent and I’m in awe of their workrate and commitment to practice it is the players who can wring every last drop of emotion out of their instruments that really get me.
So I’m going to recommend a track each from three players you may not have heard of that for me epitomise the passionate player.
The first is “Maggott Brain” from Funkadelic’s 1971 release of the same name.Over ten minutes long this slow meditative piece is guitarist and co author Eddie Hazel’s finest recorded moment.
Long languid notes mix with fast wah wah flurries to produce a psychedelic hymn of passion and brilliance.The whole track evokes an almost palpable sense of stoned sorrow with Hazel wringing out anguished notes from his Stratocaster.
The second track is “Hey Joe” by Roy Buchanan from his 1974 release “That’s What I Am Here For”.
Roy does a very different take from Hendrix’s effortless cool on this track. His flat unemotional vocals adding menace to the lyrics as the song slowly builds to a solo of ferocious intensity that truly makes you believe this is a man on the edge.
The third track is “Heavy Load” from their 1970 “FIre and Water” album.
Paul Kossoff’s guitar only comes into the mix at the end of the song.A long floating note followed by some lovely phrases, he then gets into a passionate call and response with Paul Rodgers gritty vocals.It’s a masterclass in restraint and working for the song.
All three guitarists had relatively short careers. Kossoff dying at the age of 25 and Buchanan and Hazel not reaching 50 all of them damaged by substance abuse in their own ways.But they were all brilliant intuitive players whose back catalogues are well worth investigating by any player who wants to learn how to Really communicate with their instrument.
Here are some links to the songs:
Ps. The link to Hey Joe is for the live version.