Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Excellent idea for a series. Rhythm guitarists are the unsung heroes of pop music. Yet without them the phallus wielders on lead would fall flat.The countdown for Nile Rodgers is on....
The first name that leaps to mind is none other than Keith Richards, but the dilemma there is that he's hard to define as strictly a rhythm guitarist since he's the one that usually comes up with the defining riffs of the Stones' tunes, with Jones playing slide or Taylor playing solos. Then Wood shows up, and the waters get completely muddied.
And along with Keith Richards I'd add Jimi Hendrix, even though people would think it was nuts. But in terms of actually setting the rhythm of the music, and knowing when to shut up as a guitarist, he's the epitome of a great rhythm guitar player. It's just that since he more or less invented modern lead guitar, and was often incredibly flamboyant, he's rarely seen that way.
Since the series title doesn't imply that it's only rock, I'd add Freddie Green, whose guitar helped drive Count Basie's music for decades.
Mr. Green would be a great choice, I agree, especially since 2011 is the 100th anniversary of his birth. There appear to be some great photos of him out there.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVwB7_CS6rk
A third vote for Freddie Green, whose time seemed to be flawless. The only time I saw him, Basie announced that for one number Freddie would take a solo. The song was a typical Basie swing piece, with incredible driving yet light rhythm anchored by the guitar. Solos but none by FG. Then the song was obviously winding up, building to a clear ending, which at the very very tag end consisted of FG playing a single chord with the rest of the band silent. A joke, but one that gave FG the spotlight moment he deserved.
Steve Cropper is a natural.
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