BILL ME LATER
I do hope that the Bill Nelson interview in the Jan 2012 edition of Guitar & Bass has encouraged younger readers to look him up on Youtube and listen to Be Bop Deluxe. This guy deserves to be heard more – what a fantastic guitarist.
By the way, I was amused that his fan remarked about him ageing. I recall when I saw Bill a couple of years ago, my first thought was that he didn’t look like that cool bloke from the 1970s. But then again, nether do any of us who are lucky enough to have made it this far! Mick Sleight via email
We’re can only hope that your wish becomes true, Mick. As big fans of Bill Nelson, we want young and old from around the globe to appreciate his playing and songwriting. He’s not been one for pushing himself forward as a ‘brand’, and at various points he’s been quite reticent about revisiting some of his earlier work. Given that we’ve long waved goodbye to the days when we were young, gifted and impossibly good-looking, we wouldn’t criticise anyone for not looking the same as they did a few decades ago. There’s plenty of things that true musical visionaries like Bill
Nelson can defeat, but Old Father Time ain’t one of them (although there does seem to be an increasing amount of guitar players who look like they’ve gone under the knife). If we were that kind of magazine, we’d ask you to send in any salacious gossip/ evidence regarding guitar players who’ve had cosmetic surgery. However, we aren’t, so we won’t.
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Les Paul: picking into his 90s
WHEN I’M SIXTY-SEVEN In reply to Tom Overs’ ‘When I’m 64’ in the January issue of G&B, I too love playing the guitar – but just for myself. Each evening I go into my music room and have a daily quota of twanging, be it the Shadows or Quo or music from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Tom Petty. Even though I have retired and am approaching my 67th birthday, I still love playing the guitar.
Keith Edwards via email
G&B Good man, Keith, for ignoring society’s stereotypes. It’s good to know that there are people out there who haven’t let the guitar fire die out, regardless of what’s on their birth certificate. We’re actually starting to think we should start a search for the oldest living guitar player. If you think you qualify, or know somebody who does, let us know. Be honest, mind – if you claim to be 103 we will insist on some kind of verification.
WINTER WONDERLAND Re: your Johnny Winter interview in the Nov 11 issue. I realise that it’s been many years since Jimi walked this earth, and we all know who he was and what he represents to us as a musician. Johnny must have forgotten when Jimi and himself went into the Record Plant Studios in New York so that Jimi could watch Johnny play that bottleneck like no other. They did have the tapes rolling, with no mention of Jim Morrison around. Jimi was fascinated with the old bottleneck blues style, as quoted by Johnny in a magazine article taken by Roy Carr. Apparently they did know each other and admired one another’s talent. I have an extensive scrapbook with this article and have been a Hendrix/Winter fan forever.
David Dutton USA
G&B The quote from Johnny Winter in our little sidebar in the article refers to a 1968 bootleg recording that Hendrix, Winter and Morrison all appear on. We think that in this instance, probably because he’s answered the question more than a few times in his life, Johnny was being a bit facetious. He doesn’t seem to ever waiver in denying ever meeting Morrison or appearing on the bootleg; however, as you say, he has talked about meeting and recording with Hendrix in other interviews. We apologise for any confusion, and hope this clears things up… well, as much as these things can be, anyway.
8 Guitar & Bass FEBRUARY 2012 EMAILS, LETTERS, PHOTOS Reverberations
JACKIE LEVEN: A TRUE GENT So sad to hear that Jackie Leven has passed away. Back in my student days in the early 1980s I went to a festival in Leisureland in Galway where Doll By Doll were playing. I was photographing some of the bands, and was fascinated by Jackie Leven’s guitar. When the gig was over I got backstage and he kindly showed it to me. I stayed talking with the band, and before I knew it it was well after one in the morning and the only ones left were the band, the promoters, and venue staff. Each thought I was with the other, but someone asked me what I was studying and when I couldn’t provide a valid student card, mainly because I was still at school, there was some measure of uproar.
Jackie decided that at my age I should be at home in bed, and as I wasn’t, he was going to take me. I was bundled aboard the band’s sizeable truck and driven to my parents’ house – a good six miles out of their way, at two o’clock in the morning. The truck’s engine as it made its way down the last rural lane woke everyone in the neighbourhood. The only thing that kept me safe from my parents’ fury was that everyone in the neighbourhood was wide awake, and it was a topic of conversation for weeks afterwards. I’ll never forget the band that night, nor Jackie Leven’s kindness.
Lana Dark via email
G&B We’ve had a number of emails from people remembering Jackie and his music, and the fact that he was so hospitable makes his passing even more sad. We doubt he’ll be forgotten in a hurry by friends and fans alike. And if you haven’t heard his music, we strongly recommend you put that right at the first opportunity.
EGGING YOU ON I’m a subscriber writing to recommend a super new book about a company that was once producing the most guitars in Europe – the Dutch company Egmond. With a user list including George Harrison, Brian May, Rory Gallagher and Paul McCartney, to name but a few, I’m sure it would be of interest to your readers. The story and pictures are wonderful, and I found the book really useful for identifying models, too.
You may have guessed that I like an older guitar, so I was delighted to find Wim Markenhof’s book Egmond Guitar Factory In The
Jackie Leven: riding home
Netherlands, available online. You’ll find details of the book on Wim’s website (he has a video tour on Youtube of his collection too). The book even comes with a CD of vintage catalogues.
I’m just an old guitar fan who played an Egmond (amongst others) onstage with our beat group the Kaisers. Often considered as a budget brand, many players started out with an Egmond, but they also made some higher quality instruments, including basses and amplifiers. You’ll also spot Eric Griffith playing an Egmond in the famous picture of the Quarrymen at Woolton school fete, the day John and Paul met.
While I’m at it, there are some fabulous groups out there making new beat music… Janey and the Ravemen, Pete Berry and the Shake Set and Les Bof! All have fantastic LPs out just now using ancient gear. Check them out!
Matt Armstrong via email
G&B We agree that there are new beat groups fighting the good fight across the land, Matt. And we also know from talking to pro and amateur players alike that Egmond guitars have a place in many a guitar-lover’s heart. If you’re of that persuasion, then Wim Markenhof’s book is worth investigating.
VAL DOONICAN MYSTERY Has anyone any idea what guitar Irish crooner Val Doonican is pictured with (see photo)? The headstock looks similar to a ’60s Hofner, but the pickup looks like a Burns Tri-Sonic. Rick Henry Bradford-on-Avon
G&B To the best of our knowledge, Rick, Val’s guitar was built in the ’50s in Germany by Tellson,
founded by Oscar Teller. Their design cues were echoed by companies such as Framus but the pearl inlay shown is very Tellson, so that’s our guess.