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Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Memorium: Les Paul

This past week, one of the 20th century's certified geniuses passed away. Les Paul left us and re-joined Mary Ford where the two of them can make heavenly music again.

Why should we care about Les Paul?
  1. The solid body electric guitar: this singular invention, often derided by critics, has become the standard instrument of our time. It is an instrument entirely its own, able to make sounds in the hands of a skilled player that defy all others. It is an orchestra by itself. And les gave it to us by first fastening strings and a neck to a piece of railroad track.
  2. Multi-track recording: there is no film score, no Beatles record, no pop music recording that is not a product of Les' genius. Just think about a world without multi-track recording. Then bow your knee and thank God for Les.
  3. The echo box: the Les Paulverizer was a masterful little invention and created a style that gave us repeat echos in country music, and ultimately the Edge, from U2. All of this emanates from Les.
And I could go on and on. The recordings that he did with Chet Atkins are masterpieces of improvisation. I can only hope that somewhere, in eternity, the Wizard of Waukeshaw and the Country Gentleman will meet up again.

Farewell, Les. You have guided me long and well.

2 comments:

  1. Don,
    Nelson, my son and I were just commenting on this very subject.
    Sad day.
    I was startled to read, as well that Kenny Rankin is gone.
    Both musicians - so incredibly unique.
    - Coni

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, this has been an expensive year as far as guitar talent goes. I am waiting, yet, for the emerging guitar talent to come to full fruition.

    ReplyDelete

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