He mentioned Johnny Cash at one point, but as soon as he listed some baseball-cap-wearing modern country dudes, I cut him off and filled the rest of our trip with a verbal version of what you're about to read.Simply put, it's a guide to rockabilly guitar; to be more precise, it's a list of 10 killer vintage rockabilly songs that every rock fan—let alone every guitarist—should know and/or learn how to play.
For the lesson video, we've included a guide to Setzer's juiced-up version of the song, which leads us into a different era—and to our bonus 11th song...Brian Setzer When I joined a swing/jump-blues band in 2009, I discovered—based on all the jazzy new chord progressions I was learning (many of which bore a strong resemblance to this song)—that "Stray Cat Strut" isn't rockabilly at all.Guitarist: Scotty Moore"I think all young players should lock themselves in their rooms until they can cleanly play Scotty Moore’s lick on this tune," Smith says. I hear a lot of people play it sloppy." To help you get started, we've included a live performance by Moore and Eric Clapton, plus the internet's most popular "Mystery Train" lesson video (If you don't dig this lesson, there are plenty more to choose from on You Tube; some even have tab).Guitarist: Danny Gatton Although this list is supposed to be an homage to rockabilly guitarists from the Fifties, this Danny Gatton track from the early Nineties accomplishes the same goal.These are the songs modern players like Darrel Higham, TK Smith, Paul Pigat, Jim Heath (Reverend Horton Heat), JD Mc Pherson, Buzz Campbell, Brian Setzer and Australia's Firebird Trio listened to back in the day—as did Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Dave Edmunds and Jeff Beck.
Nothing has changed; listening to these songs now—and learning the solos note for note—is just as helpful as it was back when Setzer's pompadour was a foot tall.
"I love rockabilly."I figured he'd say that—based on his greased-back hair and Sailor Jerry ink—despite that very wise saying about not judging a book by its cover.
But when I asked him what rockabilly bands he listened to, it was ASAP obvious that he really didn't know what rockabilly was—even though he had adopted "the look," a common practice in Orange County.
"He's truly a cornerstone of guitar history." For your viewing pleasure, we've included a 2016 live performance of the tune by the Subway Cowboys.
Guitarist: Hal Harris"Somewhat crude—but great feeling on this one," Smith says.
"Jeff Beck and Darrel Higham played a bunch of Gene Vincent songs at a Gretsch Guitars event.