Leon Redbone, Double Time (1977)
I stayed up late and watched Saturday Night Live and saw Leon Redbone sing “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” At first, I thought it was a joke, but there was something about the song and the delivery. His finger-style playing technique led me to discover Blind Blake, Jimmie Rodgers and Fats Waller. He still is my hero. One guy, one guitar and a lamp. And he sang the theme to Mr. Belvedere.
Bo Diddley, His Greatest Sides, Vol. 1 (1983)
If you played guitar in the ’80s, you were expected to play fast. I never could play fast metal runs, or even wanted to. I always liked rhythm guitar and the right hand. That’s what Bo Diddley was. The album was on Sugar Hill Records; I thought it had to have something to do with hip-hop. I put it on and listened to it over and over. And as a member of the Reverb Brothers in 1993, I got to hear Basile [Kolliopoulos] tell of playing with Bo. That version of The Reverb Brothers had two guitars, stand-up drums and no bass. “Blues without bass!” — Basile, like Bo, was ahead of his time. The White Stripes and The Black Keys were still years away.
T-Bone Walker, Dirty Mistreater (1983)
I bought it, like most of my purchases, from Sound Warehouse for my dad for Christmas. Turns out T-Bone is the king of blues guitar. He played with Charlie Christian in Deep Deuce. He influenced every electric Texas blues guitar player. He did the splits playing guitar! I sat for hours learning to play his song “Dirty Mistreater.” I bought it for my dad but ended up listening to it more!
Roger Troutman, The Saga Continues (1984)
I purchased this one at Sound Warehouse on May Avenue in the early ’80s. I was 14 and buying hip-hop, like The Sugar Hill Gang, [The] Fat Boys, Whodini and Kurtis Blow. I saw this one and bought it on a whim. Turns out he is the king of the talkbox and funky guitar-playing. I loved funk guitar, playing the “Nag,” the single-note funk guitar riff. (That’s for everybody in ACM Stylistic Awareness.) Proof things come full circle, as Daft Punk is bringing that guitar sound back with “Get Lucky.”