Your favorite PPL guitarist

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Your favorite PPL guitarist

Postby LIDog » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:28 pm

I know that this is dangerous territory, with folks having their preferred PPL lineups... But if we can keep it friendly, who's your favorite PPL guitarist, and why?

I'd like to start with a tip of the hat to ol' George Ed Powell (and God bless anyone who chooses George Ed as their favorite!) He played some great guitar for PPL, but alas, the rhythm guitarist always remains the unsung hero.

They've had some excellent guitarists, Curtis Wright, Tim Goshorn... and you gotta be amazed by Vince Gill, a real monster musician... and of course, Craig Fuller, whose lead guitar work has been as unique and expressive as his vocals, (and not just on his own songs... check out his great guitar work on "Leave My Heart Alone").

But for me in the end, with Craig a very close second... I gotta go with Larry Goshorn. The lizard did it all, and very convincingly. Country, blues, rock, pop, and he had one of my favorite skills of all, humor. Just listen to the third verse in "Merle". His closing notes are priceless. A great team player, a great writer, Larry the lizard gets an A+!

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Are you kidding?

Postby Rip Lee » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:32 pm

Hands down, Craig is the best. Having heard them live many times years ago jamming with Your Between Me, Angel #9, Country Song etc. I was privileged to hear not just the studio licks - in fact, when the first album came out we were all disappointed to hear the "cleaned up" versions - but the "from the heart", 1 a.m., third set jams that leave you grinning and high on music. Goshorn is good but we are not in the same ballpark here - two different kinds of song writers and styles. John Call, although not strictly a guitar player - is definitely up there too.
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me kidding? never!

Postby LIDog » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:57 pm

Guilty as charged Rip. At 41, I definitely am working from the disadvantage of not getting to experience those great days. That's one of the reasons why I chose "favorite" guitarist, not daring to say who's best. Without knowing them personally, I'll never know the true extent of their abilities.

Your response was great though. No doubt about it, Craig could make the guitar scream. That's even evident on the studio recordings. And you're right to add John Call into the mix. The interplay between Fuller/Call and Goshorn/Call was very different, yet very cool in both cases, in my opinion.

By the way, thanks for sharing that tidbit about George Ed's daughter grabbing up that live cd to hear her dad. There's nothing better than a kid who's proud of her dad.
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Who's my favorite?

Postby Blairsboy » Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:16 am

Guys,
It's like this: who can pick between mom and dad? beer and whiskey?
propane and natural gas?

OK, it's like this:Larry Goshorn was the nuts and bolts guitar picker for a lot of years, a lot of albums, and a lot of songs!
Signature licks, pristine and majestic solos, seasoning-just the right thing right where it needed it and no where else; he certainly is in the top three.
And when it comes to great acoustic work from the great unknown, Nobody tops George Ed. Tryin' to learn some of his stuff still keeps me up nights. Who's my favorite?

I think it's a three-way tie. Face it. Without "da-d-dant-da, da-d-da da-d-da-da-da-da", we wouldn't even be talkin' like this. And don't forget, John knew just where to play between the cracks with all three of 'em.

And none of them are replaceable-except maybe that new guy.

Have 'thoat will travel !!
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Whew!

Postby LIDog » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:33 am

That new guy is a mighty nice guy! Thanks for really putting it in perspective. I think maybe I chose the wrong way to try and pay Larry a compliment...

But it sure was great to hear about those late night jams, and to have your terrific perspective on it all.

After I saw the band last summer I had made a post about it, and I definitely want to repeat something that I had said, that when Craig put down his acoustic and grabbed the electric to play the solo on "Early Morning Riser" it completely made my night. I can't sum it up any better than that. I'd never had the chance to see Craig or PPL in concert, and it was just great. I'm so appreciative for having the opportunity to be there and enjoy it.

All the best for PPL in 2006!

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Postby Dan Williams III » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:28 am

My favorite PPL picker is unequivocally Craig Lee Fuller...he was the first, the last, and the very best, bar none!
Clutch Cargo prefers spinners.
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just kidding

Postby Rip Lee » Wed Feb 22, 2006 10:53 am

Keep forgetting the morphs this band has gone thru and miraculously has come around again. I don't mean to put down Larry - my memories of him are from the Sacred Mushroom days (which has been re-released, by the way - check it out) and I admit I didn't follow the band in their later years. Guess I'm dating myself being 56 (so's Craig, yikes!) but I figure your first impression of the band is the one that sticks with you. If I can get my camera hooked up to the computer I have some photos from 1970 to post. Thanks for the interesting topic - sure stirred up a hornets nest....
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Postby Tom » Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:05 pm

Certainly it's a fruitless and somewhat ludicrous notion to even get involved in who was the best ! There will never be a definitive answer to that one, although it's fun to talk about.

The fact is PPL was blessed with some of the most gifted guitarists since it's inception right through today's lineup.

All of us have fond memories. Many of us came on board when it all started. Others came on when PPL blasted off into orbit on the national scene in '75 with the TLH lineup. Still more came on board when Vince Gill arrived. And today it's all going on again with still more fans coming on, seeking out the music which got us here. All I'll say is that those who didn't get to see the various lineups at some point missed some of the finest shows, and talent, you could want to see.

Generally , people always tend to lean toward the lead guitarist when discussing this type of thing, I suppose it's always been the more "glamorous" position. We've all spent time playing that wild "air" guitar".

The fact is these guys mentioned were all extremely gifted and professional, fitting their talents into what the band was doing at the time. Of course Craig's work may have been "cleaned" up, by the time the studio versions came out, but that can be said of all of them. What's important, and treasured forever, is the fact that you got to see it. More important are the fans sharing these memories. I saw all of them live, and I can't , and never will, be able to come close to picking a favorite. These guys were unreal-on studio versions and live. Their abilities to mold their talents into PPL's directions are the reason's we are talking about it now.And every one of them were singled out in major publications for their skills. I really don't think there is a definitive "best", when you consider the levels these guys played at, the creativity they brought to PPL. Even picking a favorite can be tough, but it's nice to see so many different thoughts. Choosing one favorite over another certainly does nothing to diminish the talents and contributions of the others. PPL not only survived, but flourished on a national level for decades because of what each of these guys brought to the table.

Just as Craig wowed them in the early years and still does today, so did Larry, Vince, etc. Larry wasn't picked by accident, his rep was far reaching by the time PPL grabbed him. His work on The Sacred Mushroom is incredible, yet he brought a different style to PPL. He, like Craig, also did things in concert that couldn't be captured in the studio. One great example is 'Bad Dream " from the Just Fly LP. It was good on the LP, but in concert it was a different animal as Larry and Tim put on a wild dual lead, as good as it gets, great stuff. The same with Gill. " I Can't Believe" from the Can't Hold Back LP was turned into a scorching tune in concert as Gill let loose. Not to mention his versions of Freeborn Man and Ain't Living Long Like This. There's a reason he was recruited for Dire Straits and the only country guy picked by Clapton for his Guitar Festival a few years ago, which featured some of the top pickers in music. These guys all get well deserved accolades as each one experienced huge success, and were vital parts in gettting PPL's legacy to the point it's at today.

Of course the tradition continues with Curtis Wright. Like the others, he too is immensely gifted and comes to PPL with a very enviable resume as a guitarist, singer/songwriter. And he too is a pro, taking his skills and , like those before him, blending them in perfectly into the current vision of PPL. Again, no accident. It's been happening since ' 69. And something should be mentioned along those lines: Someday Mike Reilly should open up an agency because he's been absolutley flawless for decades in putting together PPL's lineups.That is a story in itself.


George and John need no introduction as their talents have been noted many times on this board, they do not make them any better. They too could play with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just ask Curtis Wright and Rick Schell ! Gary Burr in his tenure was yet another who you knew immediately was special. And history has proven that.

I'll mention a couple of unsung hero's who get overlooked all too often: Pat Bolen and Jeff Wilson. These two guys were major players and seem to get lost in the Vince Gill shuffle. Bolen put on some great peformances live, including some terrific pedal steel licks, licks that RCA would not let happen on the Can't Hold Back LP. Rhythm, lead, steel, Bolen could do it all. And he also had a fine voice, on lead or harmony. He was a major spoke in the wheel during the transition period immediately after the departure of The Goshorns and George. He surely deserves some recognition. A great talent. Wilson also was much the same. He was right there trading some some wild leads with Gill in some of the hottest shows PPL ever performed. He too, was a gifted singer and songwriter and was a huge factor in the success of the Firin' Up LP which, again, had PPL at the top of the genre and highly visible in the national music mainstream.

The talents these guys all brought to the party over the years can't be understated. A quick glance tells you it's obvious a band doesn't reach the plateaus PPL did, doesn't have a strong following over 30 years later without enormous contributions from quite a few people. But for today, my favorite will be Jeff Redefer !

All the best,
Tom
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Postby LIDog » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:27 pm

Hi Tom,

Yes, shortly after I started this post I began to get nervous about it, but how else are we to learn new things about all these guys? If we avoid talking about who we like for fear of insulting people, we'll have nothing to talk about!

I'm really glad for everyone's input here, and (as usual!) you've added a great deal by offering more on some unheralded heros like Pat Bolan and Jeff Wilson.

I say more Pure Prairie League! Not less! MORE MORE MORE!!!!!!

Best,
Dog

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Postby Tom » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:43 pm

Hi Tom

I wholeheartedly agree that there's always more to learn by talking about various musicians and lineups etc. I posted the favorite lyrics thread, favorite Craig tunes etc, just for that reason.There's no need to fear or avoid threads like you started, a good one, as long as people are cordial, which they are, and people remember that while praising their favorite guitarist or lineup or songwriter or whatever the subject is they do so without minimizing or digging at the accomplishments of others. That isn't a problem here either, which is great.

All the best Dog,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:59 pm

By the way Rip, it's great to hear from a new member. I'm glad you found your way here and jumped right in. Check out the site there may be a few other topics that catch your eye.

And Blairsboy, why must a choice be made between beer or whiskey ? Cannot we not just have ample supplies of both ?

All the best,
Tom
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Postby Tom » Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:25 pm

It's rather odd, and it's been mentioned awhile back, I think with Dan, but incredibly sometimes it seems that Craig's guitar work sometimes doesn't get the accolades it deserves ! I guess it's due to the fact that his singing and songwriting gets such respect and attention. But almost always, wherever you read something about Craig's work, it more often than not fails to mention his extraordinary muiscianship. I guess that's the price you pay when you are loaded with talent.

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Postby Blairsboy » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:28 pm



DITTO! TOM. [/b]
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Postby MartinD28 » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:22 am

Good thread LIDog

Your thoughts were right on.

This is not an easy choice. My initial response would be Craig - probably due to the fact that I learned a lot about playing guitar by picking out his tunes and playing along from the early years forward. He writes with really nice chord structures, and the songs are so dam good.

With that said, it's hard to not give credit to Vince, as others have also stated. Man, can he play!

One of my favorites was Tim Goshorn. I like the songs he writes, and his guitar playing is pretty tight.

I guess the bottom line is...PPL has always been loaded with great guitar players...it's been consistent.
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Postby LIDog » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:43 am

This is all really great stuff. I hope that all the guitarists mentioned log onto the site once in a while to see how they're not forgotten! Tim certainly did come along with some nice songs and styles for them. No wonder they brought him in eventually.

This is also a good time to bring up Spike and Conway. Good bass and keyboards go a long way toward helping guitarists sound their best. And talking about keys, what a thankless job it is to be the keyboardist for a guitar band. You've got to have a real instinct for when to stay the heck out of the way, and yet be ready with the goods when they turn to you and say, "Take it!"

God bless Mike Connor, a true master at being able to give exactly what was needed.

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