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7. Elmore James

| March 31, 2008

The 20 All-Time Greatest Chicago Guitarists


7. Elmore James

All electric slide-guitar playing starts with Elmore James. Argue all you want whether he stole his songs from Robert Johnson or Tampa Red or whoever, because back in the day he was playing with them all and such didn’t matter. What does matter is that in 1952 his “changety changety chang chang” slide riff on “Dust My Broom” changed everything – James electrified the blues in a way no one had heard before. It was not just electric. It was loud. It was a sound Les Paul was trying to achieve with his solid-body prototypes; a style that every kid who picks up a guitar for the first time is after; the holy grail that has been pursued by any rock guitar god worth his/her salt; and one for which it’s a damn shame that there are no known live recordings of Elmore James to serve as final testament.

— David C. Eldredge

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  1. AlG says:

    Come on! Billy Corgan ahead of the great Terry Kath. Please take a real close listen again to the most underated guitarist of all time. Please try to seperate the horns and just listen to Terry. Top 5 for sure.