Jorma Kaukonen - Acoustic Finger Picking Delta Style
by David Schneider
It is impossible to say "greatest" since all the greats have their own style. What is the best fruit, for example? Apple, orange, strawberry? They can't be compared. However, a list of "Great" guitar players does make sense, and this is where Jorma belongs.
In about 1965, the year I graduated from high school, I took my only 4 guitar lessons from Jerry, as we knew him then. When I had enough money for another 4 lessons, they told me at the music store in San Jose, CA, that he had gone to SF to start a band.
To set the record straight, Jorma began playing and developed his style on acoustic guitar. This style was his best and he did not shine on electric as he did on acoustic. His style was in the line of the famous Delta Blues finger-picking musicians.
Probably his most classic song of his evolving style back then was "Embryonic Journey" (I heard it recently on a soundtrack for a movie but don't remember which). He also did great renditions of other classic songs that others have made popular recently, such as "San Francisco Bay Blues," written by Lone Cat Jesse Fuller. who performed it during his visits to San Jose area coffee houses.
Unfortunately, Jorma did not develop a good electric style. His genius was and is with the acoustic guitar. I believe he still is offering workshops and would highly recommend attending one if you get the chance. His acoustic finger picking is some of the best ever, in my opinion!
David Schneider - hear my soundtrack on my site http://www.odysseyseaglass.com/sea-glass-videos.html
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