I STILL REMEMBER the first time I heard Robben Ford properly. I’d caught the odd Yellowjackets track but I’d not heard him particularly featured. Then his record company sent through his new album: Talk To Your Daughter. It was on cassette and, when I left my desk at Guitarist for the hour’s drive home, I stuck it in my car’s player. Oh... My... God...! It was everything that I’d ever wanted to be as a player: that huge distorted tone; the direct connection to 60s blues players like Bloomfield and Clapton, and the clear love for BB King and Albert Collins; but there was this whole jazzy ‘other side’ that lent huge dollops of sophistication and intelligence to the music.
I already knew Larry Carton’s work since I’d got his first three albums after a friend introduced me to him. But, not knowing the two had watched each other and almost learnt from each other’s playing, the first question in my interview with Robben the next day: “Your playing sounds somewhat Carlton-esque,” didn’t exactly go down too well. But we got over that minor hump and I’ve interviewed him several times since. He did quite like it that I spotted that one of his strings had slipped flat in one of the album’s outro solos: “Wow, not many people would notice that: I did realise it but I liked the solo and decided to leave it.”
This month, Phil Capone has dissected the playing of these great guitarists to show that you can get a few of their nuances into your own playing – bolstering up the usual Pentatonic and Blues scale licks to sound much more interesting. Phil includes loads of great licks and some of the theory behind it all. Enjoy, and I’ll see you next month.