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Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:52 pm

egilj wrote:
r&b wrote:
egilj wrote:
eligain wrote:Marty Lacker who was instrumental in Elvis recording at American has always favored Reggie Young over James Burton and has always felt that James was a good player but with no imagination. I can't say I agree but Reggie Young would have been great playing with Elvis in concert. The other things Marty has said is that Joe Guercio's orchestra didn't really work. He said they were more bebop guys and didn't really understand Rock or R & B and Elvis needed a more soulful horn section. For me the horns didn't work on several songs like "I Got A Woman", "Trying To Get To You". I agree about JD being horrible. I wish Elvis would have had a black male vocal group instead of the Stamps or Imperials.

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James Burton had no imagination!? Marty Lacker is not always a reliable source to me.



Marty not always reliable? Maybe so, but this has nothing to do with reliability, it is his opinion and he has been around more musicians than us. In this case, I agree with everything Marty says, and I wish Elvis would have had no horns period, except maybe a sax and a few other pieces like The Mavericks have on stage . Even in the great 1969 concerts when the horns play at the end of Hound Dog and other classics, it just give a schmaltzy Vegas effect to the whole thing.

James Burton is considered to be an innovator and a trend-setter. You hardly get that reputation if you have "no imagination".


I agree but I have heard that charge about Burton having no imagination or not being very creative with his solos from several sources. Again, I don't agree with it but it's been put out there.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:34 am

James Burton got his reputation for being a great guitar player from playing with Ricky Nelson not Elvis.

When he was with Elvis he pretty much played the same licks he had played with Ricky Nelson.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:32 am

I've never been knocked out by Burton's rock solos while with Elvis, but if you listen to the fills he makes on songs like "You Gave Me A Mountain", "Hurt" and "My Way" you can hear his genius. They're subtle, but they make a huge difference in the sound. His playing here is simply outstanding.

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Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:22 am

James Burton is one of my favorite guitarists ever, although it's true that his Hall of Fame work is with Rick Nelson. Hard to beat his playing on Hello Mary Lou, Travelin' Man, Fools Rush In, Believe What You Say, I Got a Feeling, Young World and other classics. Hank Garland also played exceptional stuff, although I wonder how Scotty felt having to take a backseat to Hank on some songs?

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:36 am

Best musicians:

Boots Randolph (saxofoon)
Scotty Moore (guitar)
James Burton (guitar)
Jerry Reed (guitar)
Ronny Tutt (drums)

Worst (musicians I dislike):

Bobby Ogdin (electronic keyboard)
Tony Brown (piano)
Sherill Nielsen (vocalist)
J.D. Sumner (vocalist)
Charlie Hodge (guitar, vocalist)

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:52 am

brian wrote:James Burton got his reputation for being a great guitar player from playing with Ricky Nelson not Elvis.

When he was with Elvis he pretty much played the same licks he had played with Ricky Nelson.

Don't know about the same licks as Ricky Nelson?! On stage, James pretty much rushed everything, along with the other musicians because thats how Elvis wanted him to play, he was happy with that. In the studio, as we all know, Elvis couldn't be bothered and became lazy. Despite the fact that James is a great guitarist but with Elvis he never got the chance to shine, for the reasons i've just stated. The only track i can think of where he really does show his talents is "Promised Land" other than that virtually zero.

If you want to listen to the real James, just listen to the work he's done with other artists-that's where he really gets to shine. At one time, James was the number one session player, the much in demand player that everyone wanted. He's played more sessions than he can remember.

Just as a reminder, it was his work on Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q" that really put him on the map.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:42 pm

Alexander wrote:Best musicians:

Boots Randolph (saxofoon)
Scotty Moore (guitar)
James Burton (guitar)
Jerry Reed (guitar)
Ronny Tutt (drums)

Worst (musicians I dislike):

Bobby Ogdin (electronic keyboard)
Tony Brown (piano)
Sherill Nielsen (vocalist)
J.D. Sumner (vocalist)
Charlie Hodge (guitar, vocalist)


Pretty much agree on this list.

James is so freaking great but he wasn't the center piece he deserved to be with so many musicians on stage.
People talking about james not being versatile are non musicians talking out of their a$$. Every soundboard, or studio outtake proves James was on a unique level, handling all kinds of material easily.
I would add Jerry Scheff on bass being the very best in the industry in the 70's..

Personally, I think Tony Brown was a fantastic piano player.
Great (studio) experience and I like his style.
He did went the wrong way on stage a few times but keep in mind Glenn D rehearsed hundreds of songs with Elvis, and they probably gave Tony Brown a soundboard tape early '76 and that's it.
Great playing on You gave me a mountain, My Way etc.

I would add Duke Bardwell on the black list.
Great guy and he did evolve during his time, but you would expect the very best replacing Emory Gordy/Scheff and Duke was not playing on the same level.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:53 pm

And don't forget to add the American Sound Studio musicians, they're all superb.

Any opinions on Jerry Carrigan?

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:14 pm

mysterytrainrideson wrote:
brian wrote:James Burton got his reputation for being a great guitar player from playing with Ricky Nelson not Elvis.

When he was with Elvis he pretty much played the same licks he had played with Ricky Nelson.

Don't know about the same licks as Ricky Nelson?! On stage, James pretty much rushed everything, along with the other musicians because thats how Elvis wanted him to play, he was happy with that. In the studio, as we all know, Elvis couldn't be bothered and became lazy


I do know that's what James Burton did he played the same licks he had played with Ricky Nelson.

Regardless of whether Elvis was lazy James Burton could have done more on his end but he didn't.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:16 pm

Robert wrote:
Alexander wrote:Best musicians:

Boots Randolph (saxofoon)
Scotty Moore (guitar)
James Burton (guitar)
Jerry Reed (guitar)
Ronny Tutt (drums)

Worst (musicians I dislike):

Bobby Ogdin (electronic keyboard)
Tony Brown (piano)
Sherill Nielsen (vocalist)
J.D. Sumner (vocalist)
Charlie Hodge (guitar, vocalist)


Pretty much agree on this list.

James is so freaking great but he wasn't the center piece he deserved to be with so many musicians on stage.
People talking about james not being versatile are non musicians talking out of their a$$. Every soundboard, or studio outtake proves James was on a unique level, handling all kinds of material easily.
I would add Jerry Scheff on bass being the very best in the industry in the 70's..

Personally, I think Tony Brown was a fantastic piano player.
Great (studio) experience and I like his style.
He did went the wrong way on stage a few times but keep in mind Glenn D rehearsed hundreds of songs with Elvis, and they probably gave Tony Brown a soundboard tape early '76 and that's it.
Great playing on You gave me a mountain, My Way etc.

I would add Duke Bardwell on the black list.
Great guy and he did evolve during his time, but you would expect the very best replacing Emory Gordy/Scheff and Duke was not playing on the same level.


How could I possibly forget about Jerry scheff? And what about Floyd Cramer (piano in 50s and 60s). And Jerry Lee Lewis during MDQ?

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:08 pm

I'm finding it hard to understand some of the comments.

I don't think talent is an issue here but rather how a musician's style and sound complement or otherwise an Elvis recording. The bottom line is, If Elvis liked it, the musician stayed, if not he was replaced. Elvis' judgement was subjective - it's not objective and there cannot be a consensus. Bob Lanning's drumming style wasn't perhaps what Elvis expected, but does that make him a poor drummer? I personally I'm not a fan of Jerry Carrigan's drumming but Jerry is a pukka drummer no doubt. What if Ronnie Tutt drummed in the studio 1970-1971? Could Elvis's songs from the period sounded better? Who knows? I'm a big fan of Hal Blaine (who drummed in the 1968 TV Special) but could it have worked if Blaine was in the TCB Band? It's a "what if?" debate. The results cannot be known. Was Elvis right in giving James Burton so much faith? No one can tell. What we know is that whatever the style of the moment - ballad, country, funk, gospel etc, Burton was up to it.

Some well known axemen are mentioned in some posts. Were they suitable for Elvis? Probably not. Not because of talent, that's for sure. It would be unreasonable to say that guitarists like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck are poor guitarists. Their talent is beyond doubt. Elvis' musicians are hardly on any 'greatest' list for a reason, they're hired guns (session men) and as such did what it was expected from them. Monster guitarists like the ones I mentioned previously, would have been omitted from such lists if they remained sessionmen. Their recognition among the many exploded when they did their own thing.

So session men are to be disregarded? Absolutely not. To do what's in another person's mind (songwriter / producer, artist) is quite remarkable but they may not have enough say in a particular recording. Not every great musician can be a sessionmen and not every great musician can be a solo artist.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:46 pm

If you haven't seen it, go find Carl Perkins 1986 DVD a Rockabilly Session. Its one of my favorite DVDs ever. He plays with Harrison, Edmunds, and Clapton. One can only imagine the possibilities

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:45 pm

medleyofcostumes wrote:I'm finding it hard to understand some of the comments.
Some well known axemen are mentioned in some posts. Were they suitable for Elvis? Probably not. Not because of talent, that's for sure. It would be unreasonable to say that guitarists like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck are poor guitarists. Their talent is beyond doubt. Elvis' musicians are hardly on any 'greatest' list for a reason, they're hired guns (session men) and as such did what it was expected from them. Monster guitarists like the ones I mentioned previously, would have been omitted from such lists if they remained sessionmen. Their recognition among the many exploded when they did their own thing.


There are some session musicians that are considered to be among the greatest of all time.

Elvis worked with some of them.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:59 pm

Another great example of exquisite playing by James Burton. This time in the studio.

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Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:28 pm

Elvis held James Burton in the highest regard, as he did Scotty Moore. Hank Garland, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Glen Campbell and Jerry Reed. That's quite a collection of names!

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:29 pm

In the versions of Suspicious Minds from Elvis at the International and On Stage who is that dweeb singing behind Elvis during the breakdown E sings" We're caught in a trap.." and this moron is going "aaahaahahhaha" like he's having a root canal with his mouth full of cotton!

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:37 pm

Joe Car wrote:Elvis held James Burton in the highest regard, as he did Scotty Moore. Hank Garland, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Glen Campbell and Jerry Reed. That's quite a collection of names!


In the interviews that Elvis did with Pierre Adidge and Bob Abel for Elvis On Tour, he was asked about how he formed his band. At one point he says something to the effect of, "I asked around about guitar players and everyone said that Glen Campbell and James Burton were the two best. I couldn't get Campbell because he was doing his own thing".

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:01 am

dhornjr1 wrote:
Joe Car wrote:Elvis held James Burton in the highest regard, as he did Scotty Moore. Hank Garland, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Glen Campbell and Jerry Reed. That's quite a collection of names!


In the interviews that Elvis did with Pierre Adidge and Bob Abel for Elvis On Tour, he was asked about how he formed his band. At one point he says something to the effect of, "I asked around about guitar players and everyone said that Glen Campbell and James Burton were the two best. I couldn't get Campbell because he was doing his own thing".


In Elvis' circle, they were two of the best, no doubt.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:39 am

TINML wrote:In the versions of Suspicious Minds from Elvis at the International and On Stage who is that dweeb singing behind Elvis during the breakdown E sings" We're caught in a trap.." and this moron is going "aaahaahahhaha" like he's having a root canal with his mouth full of cotton!

Hahahahahahaha, that's funny! :lol:
I find that annoying too.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:20 am

JimmyCool wrote:
TINML wrote:In the versions of Suspicious Minds from Elvis at the International and On Stage who is that dweeb singing behind Elvis during the breakdown E sings" We're caught in a trap.." and this moron is going "aaahaahahhaha" like he's having a root canal with his mouth full of cotton!

Hahahahahahaha, that's funny! :lol:
I find that annoying too.

Yeah, man! Who the heck is this anyway? Sounds like he's got a belly ache or something.

Re: Best / worst musicians with Elvis?

Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:49 pm

dhornjr1 wrote:
Hank Garland was so good he just makes me shake my head in amazement and appreciation.



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