We’ve recently become obsessed with a Blues musician who might have been the godfather of Punk and one of the pioneers of Rock n Roll as we know it. We’re obviously talking about Hound Dog Taylor. Just watch him in action:
Hound Dog Taylor was born in 1915 in Mississippi. He was born with 6 (six!) fingers in each hand, and his first instrument wasn’t the guitar – it was the piano. However, by the time he was in his twenties he has sold his Blues soul to a super-cheap Japanese teisco guitar with a slide. His resulting trademark sound was dirty, messy, raw and totally unheard of at the time.
He quickly gathered a loyal following with his wild and unpredictable shows, and became a favorite in the Chicago South and Westside. In the 60s he formed his band, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. All their shows started with him shouting “Hey! Let’s have some fun!” before he became a tight little wad of energy and frenzy. Punk rock, anyone?
He died in 1975 and his epitaph was already written by him, several decades ago. His tombstone reads “He couldn’t play sh*t, but he sure made it sound good!” A true artist!
Old school Blues guitarists like Hound Dog Taylor were a HUGE inspiration for the Electric Loog Guitar (that also got some news this week on Kickstarter, if you’re interested). Vintage pickups with some distortion and a slide can sound AMAZING, something you can’t really get with a standard or expensive guitar – that’s why lots of professional guitar players hunt down these old, beaten-up, super cheap guitars – Jack White’s a huge example of this, and a big fan of the Hound Dog Taylor sound.
There are more videos on Youtube which you can check out, and even listen to some of his records. Here’s another great live performance:
Listen to a complete album here:
What other old school musicians do you geek out about? Let’s us know and we’ll DEFINITELY check them out!