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James Burton And Scotty Moore In Rolling Stone

December 09, 2011 | People

In the most recent edition of Rolling Stone, two names familiar to both Elvis fans and music lovers around the world were listed in the top 30. Those names are James Burton and Scotty Moore and both played with The King of Rock 'n' Roll as part of the TCB Band. Rolling Stone had plenty to say about both and when speaking about James, they say "James Burton's trademark 'chicken pickin' style – bright, crisp and concise – is one of the most unique sounds in country music, and a huge influence on rock guitar as well."

When speaking about Scotty, Rolling Stone says, "The guitar would never be the same: Moore's concise, aggressive runs mixed country picking and blues phrasing into a new instrumental language. The playing was so forceful that it's easy to forget there was no drummer." 

Lefty wrote on December 09, 2011
I have that issue of Rolling Stone, and it's great to see Burton and Moore listed with other greats like Clapton and Hendrix. I know Springsteen is a huge James Burton fan. They played together with Roy Orbison once, and Springsteen said afterward that it fulfilled a boyhood dream to play with Orbison and James Burton! Way Cool!! I think one of the things that made Elvis great is that he surrounded himself with brilliantly talented musicians. Beyond style and charisma, Elvis knew the craft of making music, as evidenced by his long association with Wilkinson, Schiff, Tutt, Hardin, and of course, Burton.
Natha wrote on December 09, 2011
Indeed, Lefty, musicians of a feather do also flock together. ANd the importance is that all these great people, Elvis ahead, were/are humble people, always giving credit to their fellows. It is others that call the great (and rightly so of course).
Ruthie wrote on December 09, 2011
When it comes to musicianship, you can't say enough about Scotty & Burton. To top it off, they are genuinely nice people. I have had the honor of meeting both gentlemen & never detected a bit of ego when it came to how they treat their fans & the accolades they give to other greats like Clapton, etc. You can say all you want about Elvis' bad decisions but, when it came to quality musicians, he was definitely right on!
Pedro Nuno wrote on December 09, 2011
A fair honor. But for me Hank Garland was, by far, Elvis best lead guitar player. The whole ‘58 session, his work in “Elvis is back” sessions, his lead guitar in the 1961 Pearl Harbor concert and his crown the “Little sister” riff, makes him just immortal and not an inch behind Scotty or Burton… for me clearly ahead.
theoldscudder wrote on December 09, 2011
I agree with Pedro Nuno 100%. Can anyone tell me if Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincent's guitarist) was included in this list. I'm surprised that there were no comments on this site complaining that Elvis himself was not included, even though Elvis was not a guitar good player. Kudos to all for that.
Lefty wrote on December 09, 2011
Scudder, Cliff comes in at #79. Here's what they had to say: "In the few months he spent as lead guitarist for Gene Vincent's Blue Caps in 1956, Gallup introduced the stylistic swagger that every rock guitarist now takes for granted. His slashing, razor-blade-in-the-ducktail assaults pushed the instrument one big step away from country picking and down the mean streets that rock & roll guitar has traversed ever since. "Race With the Devil," The Screaming End: The Best of Gene Vincent (1997)"
Andy_2 wrote on December 10, 2011
Oldscudder, Cliff Gallup has to be equal with Scotty when it comes to defining the guitar sound of rock n roll. Great to see both of these greats in there.
sitdown revamped wrote on December 10, 2011
well, uh...I've got to tell a funny thing about being inspired for guitar playing by the Man himself. At the age of 14 (47now) I kinda listened almost daily to what was the 68 comeback album back then. Especially the sitdown parts caught my attention. Without having ever seen the special then, I picked up that electric guitar, that was playing lead on Blue Christmas an the rest of the stuff and tried to implement it into my playing. Years later after seeing the special I became aware, that I copied almost entirely Presley's way of playing...;-) So if it comes to play Blue Christmas these days ya'll know the bassrolls I'll do on that. Anyway, the special from 68 was my main influence in music making along the lines "we had two or three instruments at the time...." Happy Season to everyone. Peter
theoldscudder wrote on December 10, 2011
Well there you go. Guess you guys are right. Maybe the King should make the list. Yeh he could probably blow Jimi H. away if he wanted. Wonder what great R& R star ever said Elvis guitar playing influenced them. His singing yes, but his guitar playing? I guess the man could make any list on this site. Best pet owner of all time, he had the monkey & horses. Best lover of third world countries, remember the Jungle Room. And that could bleed over to best decorator.
Harvey Alexander wrote on December 10, 2011
Scotty Moore and James Burton are far, far, far more important than Hendrix, Clapton or any of those guys. So are Cliff Gallup, Eddie Cochran, Hank Garland, Franny Beecher, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Duane Eddy, Grady Martin and the rest. These are the ORIGINAL guys who started it all. They should always come out on top of any list of great guitarists.
Steve V wrote on December 11, 2011
Yes they are more important history wise but not better players which is what this list is, the best players. Hendrix , Clapton, Page, Stevie Ray are in another league of guitar playes as far as ability. I do think Scotty should be higher. Chuck is in the top 10, so should Scotty & Burton.
Harvey Alexander wrote on December 11, 2011
Hendrix a better guitarist than Scotty Moore? Not in my book. I guess it's down to personal taste, but 'Rolling Stone' never seem to take this on board when presenting their '100 Greatest this' and '100 Greatest that' listings of no importance. Those lists are compiled by people who are of the generation that think everything started with The Beatles and Dylan, and that Springsteen etc. are the Second Coming.
samcra wrote on December 12, 2011
I agree with Harvey Alexander 100 %.
Steve V wrote on December 12, 2011
My personal taste is I prefer Scotty & James also for listening pleasure. I never even bought a Hendrix record, but I still think he is a better guitarist. He did things unheard of before or since. Any guitarist will tell you that. Not my preference but he prob was the best.
Natha wrote on December 13, 2011
I'm with you Harvey. In both your observations.