Best blues guitarist, Clapton or Green

I know Clapton is God, but is he a better blues guitarist than Peter Green.
Try listening to Melvin Taylor (newest CD out on Evidence Records "Bang that Bell")
You've got to see Clapton live to fully realize how good he is, I don't think I've heard Green and if Buddy Guy is ever in your town don't miss him if you can imagine Clapton, Hendrix, and SRV rolled into one!!!
SRV's music is the best to me. Whether or not he's the best technically, I don't know. Clapton is too Top 40, imo.
Pops is "right on", Buddy Guy is the best. I saw and HEARD live him several years ago and he is a fantastic performer and a great blues guitarist-- with a smile that would light up Montana. His version of "Mustang Sally" is killer. In a interview, Eric Clapton once referred to Buddy Guy as the "best blues guitarist in the world", and I agree. And yes, Clapton is great too. I have some of Peter Green's music and while I recognize his talent, I don't particularly like his music-- a little too "jazzy" for me I think. Cheers. Craig.
Huddie(LeadBelly)Ledbetter - As the dead historical choice. Jimi Hendrix - As the dead rock/electric choice. Buddy Guy - As the living choice. I'll have to check out Melvin Taylor, never heard his stuff.
Cody....pick up a copy of Buddy Guy's CD "Damn Right I've Got the Blues", and exciting listening. Craig.
I loved SRV but since he is no longer with us I have to give Kenney Wayne Shepherd the honour.Another great guitarist whom is no longer with us was Danny Gatton.He was not strictly blues but man that guy could play.
Garfish you are so right! That is one excellent album, I saw him in a little club in Atlanta and honestly it was one of the best performances I've seen - he play "cold shot" to honor SRV and he stole my soul!!!
Give a listen to Fleetwood Mac's album English Rose with Peter Green--a gem--contains original of "Black Magic Woman" written by Green. Then compare. Clapton is great, but I keep going back over and over to English Rose. Precise licks. More emotive note for note than most of Clapton (with exception of some John Mayall Bluesbreakers stuff)
Buddy Guy is real living legend stuff, and a great teacher of blues history, but the real thing today, this minute, is Son Seals--nobody hotter that I know. In my opinion (and I don't delude myself into thinking that its more than an opinion) Clapton is nothing by comparison.
Would recommend everyone check out Jimmy Thackery. (formerly of Nighthawks, now Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers). Currently recording with Blind Pig Records. Did a live album called "Wild Night Out" that has playing that's the best I've heard (ever). ([Web site:]) If you like blues with heavier jazz influence try Robben Ford.
I have been lucky enough to see Buddy Guy, Clapton, and SRV live. For sheer power of show, SRV hands down. Most fun to watch was Albert Collins and the Ice breakers. About 8 or 9 years ago at the Chicago blues fest, I saw a texas guitar night with Albert Collins, Luther Allison, and Otis Rush. Wow what a show. Have a listen to " Can't always get what you want" on the Stone tribute album. Luther Allison really smokes.
Mrmom; You've been lucky to see all those Blues cats. I have CDs of all of them and agree that they're all "right at the top". Yes, Luther Allison "smokes". I really agree with all the above posts, and blues is where it's at. Good thread Cody-- hope it keeps going. In the young "up and coming" category, I like Sue Foley, Shannon Curfman, Susan Tedeschi-- none of these are too polished or jaded to be "uninteresting", ie they are fresh, raw, and enthusiastic-- and of course Johnny Lang. Also glad to see women getting more exposure (bad choice of words?) in blues. Joanna Conner plays a "wicked" slide guitar, IMHO. Cheers. Craig.
Not to bash Clapton or Green, they are both great song writers and guitarists.But they are not the genuine article(Clapton realy wishes he was). Any cubs around to catch live? Even some of the little known acts cook. Saw SRV in a small hall, he was the best rock/blues around since Hendrix. You later entries are on the right track, my all time favorite was the late great Albert King. Check out the blues section at your local stores, even vinyl. I found some great blues vidios, tributes with all-star perfomances.I love all kinds of music, but when it comes to blues nothing beats the real thing.
For you folks looking for a great blues-rock guitar player try Walter Trout(Walter Trout and the free Radicals). His latest CD is Live at the 2000 Tampa Bay Blues Festival. It's a double CD for the price of one. Once you listen to it you can't stop listening!! He is rated as the 6th best guitar player in the world, living or dead!!
A little elaboration on my Melvin Taylor post above. Used to spend a bit of time in Chicago before my kids were born and have been fortunate enough to see live: Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Luther Allison and some other big names. Have heard just about everyone mentioned in this post with the exception of Jimmy Thackery-haven't heard his stuff. What I can tell you is that if you polled 50 blues guitarists in Chicago (no disrespect to Texans, but when it comes to blues guitar, I think Chicago is the spot) about who is the best, Melvin would probably be at the top of the list. He has great diversity in style (something I would not say about Buddy Guy), incredible technique and his playing is truly musical (something that cannot be said about many guys that can just play "fast"). His music also packs a real emotional wallop-all in all he's the total guitar package, although not a great singer. CD does not do him total justice; if you're in Chicago check out a live performance at Rosa's on West Armitage close to the United Centre-he's not flashy on stage or showy the way Buddy is, and most of the crowd are musicians watching his hands in total disbelief. His new release that I mentioned above is quite good with guest appearances by Eric Gales and Sugar Blue-I'd be curious to hear what you guys thought of it. In my opinion, Melvin is simply in another league.
Clapton must get his do for using his popularity to help every other blues musician out there except his riding with the king (and what damn fine musician wrote that song?...) co partner. His latest (not recent) straight blues records got alot of clubs to consider the blues, it has happened big time here in Atlanta. Peter Green was the first blues guitarist I liked (back when I only listened to rock....way back......), He did a solo record called The End of the Game or something close that blew me away before it disappeared (those college days...), I have not seen it since but if anyone knows of it please contact me. Buddy Guy went through a period in the early 90's where he played alot of festivals and people knew the name but not the music and he spent most of the show talking to the crowd and strutting around and of course p*ssing me off because I would bring folks and build him up before the show and he would just never play, even Mustang Sally got shortened. Thankfully that stage is over, and his performance at the Muddy Waters tribute (along with that guy who wrote riding with the king) was hot hot, it was on PBS, from the Kennedy Center in D.C., I made a video copy of it if anyone wants it, though it is not perfect. All Danny Gatton stuff is phenomenal, but live was as usual much better... Bobby Radcliffe, Dresses Too Short (1989) every lick in the book in one song, or should I say every song. Dave Hole from Australia, the guy is just too revved up for me (except Going to Chicago) but you cannot fault his playing... as far as bluesrock goes the early Savoy Brown with Kim Simmonds on lead (early 70's) was my favorite by far, and I am prejudiced because I liked him for years before he caught on, but the last two live shows were the best shows I can remember of Joe Louis Walker, and let us not forget Anson Funderburg and the Rockets and I am only about a fifth (no pun intended) of the way through this ramble bye.
Garfish indeed I have been lucky. I lived in Oak Park and spent a lot of time at the blues clubs in Chicago. Nothing beats hearing a good band in a club. Back in the 70's ( man I'm feeling old) I saw Muddy Waters and still think his band was the best. Blkadar- I have lots of A. King. He was a master. Its too bad so many of the greats are gone.
I just picked up a CD I've been half looking for - it's Stephen Stills from 1970 entitled "SS", it's also remastered. I believe it is his first solo effort with some great guest appearances - Jimi Hendrix and Clapton to name two. The cut "go back home" with Clapton is one of his best efforts ever, this was his early days as God. Check it out!
I've seen Hendrix, Page (four times), Clapton (three times, including his show at Alpine Valley, which was SRV's final performance, when those two and Buddy Guy and Robert Cray jammed a couple tunes at the end!), and lots of other blues bands famous and unknown. Clapton's later stuff is regretably middle of the road, very commercial, and completely soulless. Hendrix remains THE figurehead of all electric guitarists, and Clapton's stuff through early 70's is unmatched for sheer innovation within the blues idiom. Any Cream song totally blows away most conventional blues music. I know they were derivative of actual black blues artists, but what they did was interpret the basic music and make it better, and Clapton was at the center of that music. He was truly inspired back then, now he just sounds tired, even contrived. SRV was never much of an innovator, and not even very technicaly adept, but he could boogie. And yes, you should check out Steve Still's first solo effort--the remastering has made it sound like a modern recording, and the music is superb, with Hendrix, Clapton, and Booker T! The top 40 song, Love the One You're With, is the worst on the whole album.
Yeah, nice take Madisonears. I'm a huge Clapton fan, always have been but I must admit I lose patience with the pop stuff, I mean Babyface-come on!!! With the work he's done in the past who would've thunk It! I think the last really good album he did IMO is Journeyman. I caught that tour twice and it was good. Behind the Cradle is pretty good too but it sucks sonically. At the same time, being an artist means creativity and a lot of times that means new - so I respect some of the stuff he's doing but I can't listen to most of it. I can't listen to more than 10 seconds of Tears in Heaven despite his message. But look at the Stones - after Exile and arguably the greatest 4 albums in rock and roll history and back to back no less, it's been hit and miss ever since. How many great songs can you write - compare Sympathy for the Devil, Jumpin Jack Flash, and Gimme Shelter just to name 3 out of a possible what, 30 classics, to the current closer "Out of control" not bad but......
You all mention great blues guitarist, buuuuut I heard that in heaven God's choice is Roy Buchanan.
Neither. Johnny Winter, hands down. Now I love Clapton and SRV and all of the other that have been mentioned, but they can't match Johnny when it comes to playing from the gut. If you want your blues to sound like it's being performed in an inner city bar at 3 in the morning by someone who is ready to dig down and get dirty, then Johnny's your man. I've seen Buddy in concert and he was an incredible showman. Clapton probably is God, and SRV was brilliant in his constantly changing variations. But Johnny at his best is better than anyone I've ever heard. Listen to the title track (Hell, listen to the whole damn CD) of "Third Degree". Johnny is not polished or practiced or precise like all of the others. His style is raw, powerful, fluid and genuine. To my mind, this is what blues is supposed to be. He has had a very up and down career. A lot of his recordings sound awful. But, IMHO, no modern blues guitarist has ever immersed himself so throughly into the blues as has Johnny Winter. And on a good day, I doubt if even "Slow Hand" could keep up with him.
Dennisn, I had a most of Johnny's Album and have replaced them with cds. I love his work with Muddy. I have a Johnny solo album "nothing but the Blue" with a great track I think its called "the sun is shining". James Cotton intros the song with some great harmonica. Guess I'll buy the CD. PS- On Guitar Slinger- the bass player and drummer are the Ice Breakers ffrom Albert Collins. They are great.
Nothing personal guys, but most of you need to do a WHOLE lot more listening to blues guitarists. Eric Clapton is a great guitarist, but I think it's a stretch to call him a BLUES guitarist. Infact, IMHO, there is only one great, WHITE blues guitarist: Stevie Ray Vaughn. First, we need to distinguish between acoustic blues guitarists, and those playing electric guitar. Among the great electric blues guitarists I would include: B.B. King; Buddy Guy; Luther Allison (one of my personal favorites); Albert Collins; Son Seals; Muddy Waters; Albert King; Acoustic greats (many of them were old Delta blues players): Mississippi John Hurt; Son House; Big Bill Broonzy; Bukka White; and Browny McGhee. In closing, I suggest you check out the new CD by Eric Clapton and B.B. King, titled "Riding With The King" - it's got some great playing by both guys.
Sdcampbell. Who was the first white guitarist elected to the Blues Hall of fame?
An interesting comparison between the styles of SRV and Johnny might the the song "Boot Hill". Each did their own version, Johnny's is on "Guitar Slinger". I can't remember which CD SRV'S is on. Johnny's is good, hard, gutteral blues and he sounds like he may well be ready to carry out the threats outlined in the song. By comparison, SRV's "Boot" sounds like it was done in church. He even apologizes for the content of the song in the liner notes. Guess which version I like better?
Sd...; I enjoyed your post above, but I've got to say that the Blues is an evolving form of music and as Dennis (above) noted, Johnny Winters is great too-- even though his forte is more blues rock. I have some of his music that really smokes, and I consider it pure Chicago (electric) blues. He played some with Lonnie Brooks, and the combo was great. Although Lonnie Brooks does not have the guitar skills of others noted here (he's still pretty good), his music is some of my favorite, and he's played with some of Chicago's great blues artists to include Koko Taylor, and Buddy Guy, and as noted J. Winters. And I sure do agree with you about the acoustic Delta greats-- one I especially liked was Josh White-- not a guitarist, but Delta, and he did sing folk blues with the best. Certainly Clapton is a great guitarist, and can play a mean blues guitar, but I think he mainly went the Rock route for the money, ie I don't think there's ever been much money in pure blues music. Glad to see all the interest in the BLUES. Cheers. Craig.
You Know I have kept up with this thread. I find it hard to believe that when talking about great blues guitarist that no one mentions Roy Buchanan? While I admit his vocals wasn't the greatist, his guitar work is truly great. He lived the life of a bluesman right to the end. (died in the drunk tank either suicide or killed according to whos story you believe) and his blues seem to really be from the heart. Many other blues artist say Buchanan could do things on the guitar that others just couldn't do. While I think sometimes his playing is a little too fast, it is still increadble.Listning to Roy Buchanan do hey Joe live, or Messiah can bring tears to the eyes. Well thanks for letting me rant, Off to listen to some Roy.....
Buzzard's right, Roy Buchanan was one of the greats. I really liked his earlier music, but his later stuff was pretty far out for me, but I certainly recognized his talent. Cheers. Craig.
Tab Benoit. Learned his chops with the late great Albert Collins. Cajun flavor but grounded in the blues. He is a purist, in all respects and his band is oh soo tight (just bass and drums). He produces his own music and the recording quality is first rate. Check out Live: Swampland Jam (check the song "Too many dirty dishes")or These Blues Are All Mine. Great blues voice, technical skills and most importantly, passion. He is ALWAYS on the road. Check his web site at
In this order..Duane Allman,S.R.V, Peter Green, Buddy Guy, Dickey Betts, Eric Clapton, some of My favorite tunes of these guys, Duane/A.B.B. Dreams, SRV>Little Wing, Peter Green>Rattlesnake Shake, Dickey Betts/A.B.B. Back to where it all begins. Clapton>Forever Man, Buddy Guy> I do not have any recordings by Buddy Guy, but seen Him Live, And He is Very Good. Just My oppinions of course.
This has been a very interesting thread for me because I spent the late 60's and all of the 70's living in Austin, most of the time working as a photographer covering music, so that I got to see most of the great blues guitarists performing during that time, many of them repeatedly. (Austin has always been more of a blues town than a country town, despite its association with Willie Nelson.) I wouldn't presume to judge who was best among them, I loved them all. The one thing that stands out for me, though, is the wonder of listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn dozens of times when he was playing lead for Paul Ray and the Cobras. He never played the same thing twice and every time he played a tune in a new way it was extraordinary. With all the other great players you knew pretty much what you were going to get when you heard a song begin, within a certain range, but with SRV you were always surprised, and amazed. It's too bad that as extraordinary as recorded music can be it's really just a snapshot of the landscape a great musician can create.
It is an awe inspiring album. Clapton was and is not capable of doing the things Hendrix does on this album. If you haven't heard it yet, you should order it right now. Simply stunning.
Between Peter Green and Clapton my vote would be for Clapton. I have seen them both many times. I was at an original FM concert where they played with Savoy Brown, both bands grouped together for a 90 minute encore of straight blues. I lost count of the number of guitarists on the stage. Also saw Dickey Betts at the first concert they played following the death of Duane Allman. Some of the best playing I have ever seen. Dickie has never played like that before or after. That's why they call it the blues.
Surprised to see no mention of Lightnin' Hopkins amongst all the rest. His playing on his Smithsonian Institute CD is fabulous. Following are a few random comments on my reaction to the names mentioned here. Clapton is a wonderful guitarist in terms of his exquisite timing and accomplishment of technique, but as a blues man he is merely average - hence difficult to comment on him as a blues guitarist. Buddy Guy is a definite contender, but I far prefer his work behind Junior Wells and Muddy Waters than when he leads himself. Stylistically speaking I don't like Green, so will refrain from further comment on that score. Anything Green or Clapton offer was bettered by Roy Buchanon. But if there has to be a best - it would have to be Hendrix when he played the Blues.
My vote goes to the last of the real country blues players,the "deep blues," and that's Otis Rush. Clapton got at least a third of his licks from this guy. Another third from B. B. and the other third might even be his own. But Otis Rush, that's the real deal. And not only that, but this cat can out-sing all theese other dudes, too.thee's a lot of great names on this list, although I think that the number of SRV mentions points to a mainstream type of thinking. It'ss not that far from SRB to Robin Trower, if you ask me. i like them both but I'm not going to put them in the front rank. IMO.
Well, I've got throw in my 2 cents. Neither Clapton or Green are "THE BEST". So many of the names above have touched me at one time or another. SRV, Clapton, Green, Guy, Winter, Betts, Albert King, BB King, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks, Buchanan, Benoit, Joe Louis Walker, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Boz Scaggs, Gatton, Ledbelly...Man it goes on and on. I've heard them all. I've also been lucky enough to see alot of these players. One guy no one has mentioned, who is one of my faves is..Freddy KING! He'll talk to ya. Great singer too. 'describing music is like dancing to architecture' Forgot who said that, but I agree. Too bad there's so much to enjoy.......Hey, Hey the blues is alright!
So many of you guys are so lucky to have seen so many great performers. I wish I could say the same. I didn't really get into blues until the past 5 years or so and I'll always kick myself for not going to see SRV when he was here in Cedar Rapids, IA in 88 or 89 when I was a senior in H.S. My dad has always liked good guitar music(Roy Clark,Carl Perkins,Buchanan,Gatton, etc.) so I got to thank him for opening my eyes. My favorites are SRV, Buchanan(The Messiah Will Come Again makes my hair stand on end and gives me goosebumps thinking about it), Danny Gatton, Ronnie Earl, BB, Kenny Wayne,and Clapton. I saw Clapton a couple of years ago when he toured with the orchestra and it was incredible! Saw K.W.S a month ago and he was also amazing. Going to see him in 2 weeks and can't wait. Keep on posting more names so I have more to check out. Brent
Eric Clapton was definitely God of Guitar in his early days. By far the best guitarist in this group as far as ROCK (which is influenced by the Blues)- I do not think he ever called himself a Blues guitarist. Which is the better Blues, will leave that up to you guys who know more about blues than I do. New here & just thought would add some comments to your great topic. Clapton was in for the music from the beginning & walked out of the Yardbirds just before they became big as he thought they were in for money & going commercial. Eric went for the music & did become rich w/ CREAM. He was friends w/ Jimi Hendrix & jammed w/ Hendrix. Have not heard any of that myself- would be interested. After his recovery from cocaine & heroin addiction (they had to buy some heroin to get cocaine from their dealer), it seems to me that he never played as well as he did w/ CREAM. Listen to CREAM - WHEELS Of FIRE & you will know why he is God of Guitar ! Great is an overused word- does apply to CREAM- I never tire of CREAM ! PS Agree w/ Madisonears comments about Eric & Cream. Johnny Winter was another great.
Green and Clapton were the first white Blues guitarists who broke into the scene and made a big contribution to the music of Blues in terms of popularizing it-- especially Clapton. But, although they are technically great, their phrasing and conveying raw emotions may not be up to par with the old legends. I think, beside the scale (pentatonic) and beat, Blues is all about raw emotions. I have not heard any white guitarists, including SRV, who can pour them out like black counterparts. Dynamics, vibrato, and delicate timing are critically different between them -- what a generalization. If you don't want to go back to Muddy Waters or T-Bone, you may want to try Red House by Hendrix. It differs greatly from Clapton's or SRV's.
Great question! Haven't thought of Blues guitarists in a "best of" sense, but Clapton isn't really a "blues" guitarist in the truest sense. Hendrix was the best rock guitar player, bar none, but also wasn't strictly a blues player (though his blues was excellent -- his Blues CD is outstanding). SRV was a tremendous player and was true to the blues, and sounded like he could do anything on the guitar. I don't know if any other guitarist has ever done as much as SRV in the past 20 years in terms of revolutionizing guitar "tone". Two guitarists who, if I were "cuttin' heads" and did NOT want to go up against: (1) Albert King; and (2) Ry Cooder.
Such a Tough question, Green, has had some great moments, listen to the early Fleetwood Mac. And no one can deny The Yardbirds and Mayhall with Clapton. I'm a long time Guitarist, Vintage Collector and Blues enthusiast, both are both great in different ways. Don't forget Mike Bloomfield. We can debate all day on who is the best, and I see others involving SRV, and newer players. First look at the Black original Blues players, then the White English players in the 60's that revived the Blues and made it mainstream acceptable, then Hendrix took it to extremes. When rock, Jazz and Fusion took over, SRV brought blues into the mainstream once again in the 80's as the English players did in the 60's. We would have to start a page alone for this topic.
B.B. King is THE MAN. Even in his later years, the music is still there. Otis Rush and Duke Robillard, for different reasons, are up there too. I don't necessarily agree that Clapton is God. SRV and Roy Buchanan are, unfortunately, no longer with us (such a polite expression...), but are certainly in the list of gone but not forgotten. No women in the list, to rectify that I would have to add Joanna Connor, nice to see and hear a Les Paul well played, it's a change from all the Strats.
It's good to see that as this thread progressed some real players got mentioned. At first the SRV, Buddy Guy thing (and all the vaunabees out i'm sick of the texas shuffle), had me agreeing with sdcambell that ya'll need to get out more. I'll admit though I did see buddy with james cotton at Antones in about 1989 where he just killed but them days seem to be gone. Green gets hyped all the time in guitar player mag and elsewhere but while i agree he can play i just don't get where he is so great..maybe its that early influence thing. Clapton i never got. HDM mentioned thackery but never seen him live...been there about 4 or 5 times and i've seen him morph into hendrix, not just a lick copier but pour'n it out with the same feel and heart that Jimi had and what a killer tone. Coco Montoya, taught buitar by albert collins and nurtured by John Mayhall, is another killer player though his later discs are weak song wise. Another guy you must check out is Gatemouth Brown, he swings his a** off. Little Charlie from the Nightcats nails the west coast jump blues thing. John Mooney whips up a Delta/New Orleans tinged slide brew that will knock you socks off. Already mentioned guys who can smoke clapton or green: Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl (though the live show i saw was pretty weak), and Robben Ford (the one true guitar god IMO, who cites Bloomfield as a big influence). Then there is BB. I've seen a lot of the famous blues players over the last 15 years and while others may out play the King Ive never felt more of a presence come off of a stage than seeing BB from about 10 ft away at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in the late 80's. WOW! The truely best player? The one that gets YOU in that happy place with the ole feet jus tappin away. If you can't dig the blues you got a hole in your soul! peace.