Ben Harper is a relative newcomer on the slide scene. His blend of reggae, gospel and other african influences is refreshing and unique. He plays lap style with a Weissenborn guitar, and also plays some other lap style guitars as well.
What’s to say about the dearly departed Duane that hasn’t already been said. He could be considered one of the most influential slide guitarist of modern time. His fluid lead playing and sense of timing and dynamics is legendary. It’s obvious to see some early influences in his playing of course, but Duane and his Coricidin bottle lit up the Southern Rock/Blues scene like no other. Duane along with the Allman Brothers Band essentially invented what is now called Southern Rock. The Allman Brother Band still tour today, with the addition of two of the finest younger slide guitarists on the scene, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Both of these artists are listed on the artists page. Slide Guitar was never the same after Duane started playing. He has influenced so many artists and players that his legacy lives on and on.
If taste were a toe, Ry would be a foot. Ry Cooder’s music is often heard as the backdrop on many movies, like “Paris Texas” and others. He has recorded several albums, and promoted many artists as well. His slide playing is smooth incredibly tasty and choice of songs is very eclectic. One of my personal favorites. His rendition of “Rally ‘Round the Flag Boys” is moving and a fine expampe of some of the early American tunes that he finds and lends his glass bottleneck to.
One of the world’s most diverse and most talented musicians, Ry Cooder’s career has spanned three decades of unusually rich, fun musicmaking. Before recording as a solo artist, Cooder had already racked up impressive credits as a studio musician, backing the likes of Randy Newman, Little Feat, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur, and the Rolling Stones, back in their early-70s prime. Cooder’s records were a staple of ’70s “free-form” FM radio programming, and helped inspire the country/stringband renaissance that continues to this day. Drawing on several traditions at once, Cooder typically weaves together country music, the blues, Tin Pan Alley pop and rock’n’roll sass. He has also worked with master musicians from Hawaii, Mexico, Mali, India, and — most recently — has had phenomenal success with the Cuban Buena Vista Social Club.
“Ry Cooder” Warner Brothers, 1970 After gigging around with Taj Mahal and playing on various studio sessions in the late ’60s, Cooder got his chance at a solo album, and he made the most of the occasion. This features his memorable versions of Tommy Tucker’s “Alimony”, and the classic “One Meat Ball,” as well as a slew of blues tunes from the likes of Sleepy John Estes, Blind Willie Johnson and Leadbelly. He’s paying tribute to the past, but his individual stamp is clearly on these recordings. There’s a fluidity and warmth here that few of his fellow blues aficianados then or now could ever hope to match. It’s interesting, though, to hear the uncharactistically hippie-boogie rhythm of the band on tunes like “Do Re Mi” — it wouldn’t be long before Cooder had greater control over the sound and style of his recordings.
“Boomer’s Story” Warner, 1972 Another solid example of Cooder’s blues revivalism, with several slinky, sly numbers. Ry combines acoustic guitar with New Orleans-y piano, tuba and drums to build a unique sound. Most of the songs on here come from deep in the blues and R&B tradition — his version of “Dark End of The Street” doesn’t hit the heights of James Carr’s original but that would be asking a lot, anyway… Also, his soft, hushed take on “Maria Elena” hints at his wider interests in Latin American music. Another great Ry record.
“Paradise And Lunch” Warner, 1974 Another one of Ry’s early masterpieces. For some reason, this features a bunch of songs about marriage, from “Married Man’s A Fool” to “Mexican Divorce…” On the similarly-themed “Tattler,” Cooder introduces his trademark echo-y slide sound, and is backed by the lush vocal harmonies of Bobby King, who would remain a staple of Ry’s sound for manhy years to come. The song selection here is all first rate, and the vibe is, quite simply, one of pure, unmitigated fun… The lineup is pretty amazing, too — highlights include an acoustic reggae version of Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now” and the explosively joyful “Ditty Wah Ditty,” which features some old-time jazz heavyweights, including Plas Johnson, Red Callendar and even the venerable Earl “Fatha” Hines! on piano. As usual, Cooder’s a real class act.
Lowell George was the inventive lead and slide guitar player with the band known as Little Feat, very popular in the seventies and eighties. His style of playing was very lyrical and he also added his characteristic chicken pick’en sound to the slide.
Lowell used a metal Slide on his Guitar
Bonnie One of the world’s great slide guitar players
Ahh’ Bonnie, can’t you just hear her sweet slide technique? Bonnie had been on the scene a long time, she was an “underground” secret for a long time, but finally hit the big time and now has Grammy’s and accolades galore. Her style is smooth and glassy. She uses here middle finger for the slide which is very unconventional, but effective in her case. Her blusy singing is the perfect compliment to her impeccable slide technique. There is not a lot of information on her slide playing, but one could not go wrong listening to her tasty slide licks.
Derek is one of the newer slide guitar lions on the block. His chops are frerocious, ranging from Duane Allman style blues licks, to incredibaly intricate Indian raga influenced lines. His band is able to put out an amazing melting pot of sound from jazz to full ahead rock, and everything inbetween. Derek plays only with his fingers and a glass slide, usually a Coridicin bottle, much like his early influence, Duane Allman. He plays in open E tuning exclusinvely and will blow your mind with his speed and fluid playing. His live concerts are the best way to experience his fluid slide guitar mastery.
Sonny has been around a long time, a prominent member of John Hiatt’s band but more recently has had great success with his solo career. Sonny’s sytle of slide playing is very individual and his technique is spot on. Very interesting fretting behind the slide technique, comes up with great sounding chords incorporated with his bottleneck. In demand as a session player also.