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Dale

Memphis home of greatest guitarist ever ?

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He was a Memphian. He died in 2003 at the age of forty. Anyone heard of him ?

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Never heard of him, but I'd like to hear more. I always was impressed with SRV.

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That guy is damn good... why haven't I heard of him? Did he get recognition outside of Memphis?

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His lack of noteriety is a bit of a mystery. He was a child prodigy and debuted as lead guitarist for Black Oak Arkansas at the tender age of 14. He burned out a bit after a four-year stint with BOA and basically went into hiding for eight years, at which time he engaged in a furious study of classical, jazz and other genres. He finally produced two albums through Warner Bros entitled Power of Ten and Tri-Tone fascination which are basically out of print and have to be gotten off of ebay or amazon used.

In the late '90's he formed a trio with a Swedish bass guitarist and a British drummer and probably became more popular outside the US than in the US. He increasingly dabbled in unusual genres and, at the same time his health worsened until he died in 2003 of lung disease which was apparently a complication of a very long battle with a severe form of arthritis.

You can find a 20-minute tribute to him, on youtube, which is very touching, and also very impressive for the number of very well-respected guitarists who pay homage to him and acknowledge his influence.

I'll go out on a limb and call him the greatest guitarist who ever lived. And a lot of famous guitarists who would probably agree with me.

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Here's Shawn playing his signature 'Get You Back' at Murphy's, which I assume is a Memphis bar. Notice the idiots playing pool behind, unfazed, not realizing that they are in the presence of uncommon genius:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmRQRhLrd0M

And this one is pure pyrotechnics. But if you have any appreciation for technical facility, this will make your teeth chattter involuntarily. I'm a guitarist myself. And trust me, no one as ever played guitar at these speeds. Ever. At least not with any clarity. He wasn't a human being. He was a human sequencer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhTHxkIlvU

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If you can't get that last one, just go to youtube and enter:

Shawn Lane Guitar and Drum Solo

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I believe he was ranked as the 5th best guitar player of all time by Guitar magazine.

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Which is pretty astonishing, considering that he lived such a short life, only released two albums domestically (which quickly went out of print), and was not well known before he died.

And whichever four guitarists finished ahead of him, they know full well that they couldn't play the stuff Shawn Lane played.

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