Father of the Guitar Solo - Lonnie Johnson

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by StratUp, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. StratUp

    StratUp Strat-Talker

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    If you don't know who Lonnie is, you should, because he started this thang.

    Here he is being introduced by Sonny Boy Williamson II ... with non other than Willie Dixon on bass.

     
  2. guitarchaeologist

    guitarchaeologist Papa Americano Silver Member

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    I wonder what year that was released? (If I had to guess, I'd say early- to mid-60s)
    I noticed he is a thumb-over player and also wonder who might be the earliest recorded player to use that technique.

    EDIT: I found another version that says it's 1963
     
  3. Antstrat

    Antstrat Most Honored Senior Member

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  4. tanta07

    tanta07 Strat-O-Master

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    God, I love me some Lonnie Johnson! His style was just so slick and cool.
     
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  5. tanta07

    tanta07 Strat-O-Master

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    I believe this footage was from the American Folk and Blues Festival that travelled to Europe from about ''62 to '68 or something like that? They put out a whole series of DVDs of the stuff maybe about 10 years ago? I've got there whole set. It's a goldmine of rare footage. Lightnin Hopkins, Howlin Wolf, Skip James, veeery young Buddy Guy, T Bone Walker, the list goes on and on and on. It's an embarrassment of riches for blues geeks like myself.
     
  6. thomquietwolf

    thomquietwolf Dr. Stratster Silver Member

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    Thank you a lot
    images (1).jpeg
     
  7. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Buried alive in the blues Gold Supporting Member

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    If Lonnie is the father of the guitar solo, Django and Charlie Christian must surely be its grandpappies.
     
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  8. Spats

    Spats Strat-Talker

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    His early recordings with Eddie Lang are fantastic.
     
  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Senior Stratmaster

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    Great old time Bluesman.
     
  10. montemerrick

    montemerrick no earthly reason why

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  11. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Most Honored Senior Member

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    That was/is so great to listen to......thanks for posting.....
     
  12. PCollen

    PCollen Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I postulate that the guitar solo has its roots a lot earlier, and that the "father" may have been influenced by the "grandfather":

     
  13. Soul31

    Soul31 Strat-Talker

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    Pretty sure Lonnie pre-dated both of those guys. Was trying to find one of his fast jam/ragtime songs where he pretty much shreds lol. This one is close, from 1927. Christian and Django were both basically kids in 1927.

     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2021
  14. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Seems pretty likely to me that the guitar solo predates sound recording. Both Lonnie Johnson and Django Reinhardt were well steeped in existing musical tradition before either one of them was recorded.

    This piece was written for guitar somewhere around 1815, 100 years before either Lonnie Johnson or Django. I will admit it's not exactly "shred," but it is a solo piece for guitar.

     
  15. ThebiggestJerk

    ThebiggestJerk Senior Stratmaster

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    He died the day after my wife was born.
     
  16. StratUp

    StratUp Strat-Talker

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    Well, they're early but it looks like Django didn't have a guitar until 1922 at age 12. Lonnie was touring Europe in 1917. Charlie Christian wasn't born until 1916.

    Lonnie is cited as the first guy to play single string solos, vs. the kind of stuff Fernando is playing above.

    Everyone else hear serious shades of Chuck Berry in the video I posted above? Looks like Chuck might not have gotten it from Marty Mcfly at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance but from Lonnie instead.
     
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  17. StratUp

    StratUp Strat-Talker

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  18. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Buried alive in the blues Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, I learn something new every day.
     
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  19. Deathray

    Deathray Senior Stratmaster

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    See, this is why I love hanging out with you guys! My eyes (ears) are always being opened to the coolest stuff. That was awesome, thanks for posting!
     
  20. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496 Senior Stratmaster

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    Jezuz! He starts his solo and the camera switches to the bass player and drummer! ???

    Thanks for sharing the vid