Steel Guitar Forum: Julian Tharpe

Discussion in 'Music' started by badger2, Oct 9, 2018.

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    Steel Guitar Forum: Julian Tharpe
    Julian Tharpe - The Steel Guitar Forum

    It was during a set-down gig along the Chattahoochee River at Phenix City, Alabama, that the writer first met Julian Tharpe. We had had Johnny Rodriquez (and his friend, Terry Bradshaw) and Jerry Lee Lewis come through the club as guests. Tharpe's visit was especially interesting because it showed that his expertise at jazz was mostly never recorded. It was an unforgettable set, as Tharpe not only effortlessly managed his double-neck (14 strings each), nine-foot-pedal and four knee-lever instrument through a range of country classics, but also stunned the crowd with lightning-fast jazz riffs interspersed with smooth back-up scenarios on more top-40 material.
     
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    The March
     
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    Zocher, Giant Steps

     
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    Born at Skipperville, Dale County, Alabama,

    Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
    Julian Tharpe
    Solo artist, record producer, songwriter, band leader, and a master of the fourteen string steel guitar covering a full three octaves in the open position. He was one of the first players to perfect the "speed picking" style with extreme dexterity and executing the most difficult of passages with ease -- which still remains unequaled to this day.

    Julian Tharpe 14 String Video #1
     
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    C6th Jazz Steel
     
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    Jazz Steel
     
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    Pedal steel and alto sax in synch at time-point 2:53:

    Heinrich, A Night in Tunisia
     
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    'Jazz improvisation constitutes "work in progress"; and it ought to give the jazz historian pause for thought that certain artists never played their best performance of a given piece in the recording studio.'
    (Schuller G, Early Jazz, p. x)
     
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    Julian Tharpe's jaw-dropping performance at Phenix City, Alabama, sporting the largest dance-floor in southeastern America, included on stage that night, Rick Woodham on drums and Lucky Ward, Roger Williams's guitar player. Ward was constantly experimenting with jazz riffs, even incorporating them into the country music loved by the cotton mill people across the river. This unrecorded performance was likely influenced by the drummer, whose family also hails from Skipperville, even marrying into the Skipper family line. It was as if Tharpe, growing up as a boy attempting to capture the skipper butterflies that abound at Skipperville, was recalling such a sport and translating it to his hands and foot pedals.

    Julian "Earl" Tharpe
    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9901349/julian-"earl"-tharpe
     

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