Born: January 27, 1918
Died: May 24, 1963
The King of the Slide Guitar, Elmore James began strumming at the age of 12, using a ‘diddley bow’ strung onto a shack wall. Influenced by Robert Johnson and Tampa Red, James worked in Canton, Mississippi at his adopted brother’s electrical shop where he devised a his unique sound using unusual pickups placement. His “Dust My Broom” song’s opening slide guitar riff is one of the best known blues sounds. James died of a heart attack.
What is Blues Music About According to Elmore James: Elmore James sang with emotion and depth, reinforced by his guitar playing which was as rough, violent and as expressive as his voice. His sound was unmistakably “down and out” blues, filled with climax and tension.
How to Gear Up Like Elmore James: If you want to play like Elmore James, use a hollow body traditional acoustic guitar or a 5140 Hawaiian Standard lap steel guitar.
Essential Blues Music Tracks from Elmore James:
Dust My Broom
Shake Your Moneymaker
The Sky is Crying
One Way Out
Well Known Covers:
Bleeding Heart – Jimi Hendrix
It Hurts Me Too – Grateful Dead
One Way Out – Allman Brothers
The Sky is Crying – Stevie Ray Vaughn
Dust My Broom – ZZ Top
Famous for Playing With: Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Love, Homesick James, Boyd Atkins, Sam Cassell