Monday, October 19, 2009

Eric Johnson's Sideman Gig With Carole King



Reading Stratoblogster's recent post about Eric Johnson using a Les Paul reminded of this Carole King vid from the early '80s.

Eric Johnson appeared on Carole's One To One album in 1982 where he was featured on both piano and guitar. He also toured with her in Europe in April that same year.

A Les Paul player in his early days, Eric had this to say in an interview from 1986:

"I played a Les Paul a lot when I was in the Electromagnets, and after that band, I started playing more rhythm and lead at the same time. I just found that the single-coil pickups lent themselves more for doing rhythm and lead tones, whereas a Les Paul actually had a better lead tone, but the rhythm tone was a bit dark and muffled. I sold that Les Paul. I wish I still had it."

In the first clip above, Eric plays an extended jazz-tinged solo beginning at 2:48. Note the Wes Montgomery-style octaves and the fat-bodied tone he gets out of his Les Paul.

Embedding for the second YouTube vid has been disabled but you can follow the link here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY3PpXihZkI

Check out Eric's solo spots at 1:26, 4:05 and 6:21.

We get a good glimpse at Eric's stage of stylistic development as it was in 1982 -- he's not as polished a player as he is now, but the tone and the technical hallmarks of his playing are nearly fully formed.

And you gotta love that vibrato!




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