Can you talk about Country Music without mentioning Joe Maphis ???
For years, he's been dubbed 'King Of The Strings' and although quite
a few others would deserve the same distinction, there's no arguing
that Joe was - and forever remains - one of the most talented guitar
players ever and one whose style can be identified at all times,
that may be the quintessential quality of a great musician.
Joe Maphis was one of country's first flash guitarists, able to fire notes
machine-gun style from his custom-built doubleneck electric guitar. His twangy
tone and dazzling cascades of notes had far-reaching implications, and surf
guitarists including Dick Dale considered him as a major influence. Rockabilly
revivalists like Deke Dickerson and others have used Joe's playing as
a beacon of inspiration, and with good reason. Rockabilly guitar legend
Larry Collins of the Collins Kids, another influential guitarist, was
one of Joe's musical proteges.
As a Virginia teenager, Joe drank in Maybelle
Carter's guitar work, learned mandolin, bass fiddleand banjo as well and
became one of the first guitarists anywhere to flatpick fiddle tunes on
guitar. In addition he recorded both vocals (with his wife Rose Lee Maphis)
and instrumentals for Columbia from 1953 through 1960. Hollywood producers
who saw him perform as a member of the cast of the Southern California
country TV show Town Hall Party in the 1950s hired him to play all types
of recording sessions. Joe played on Ricky Nelson's first Imperial album
with James Burton and on hits like Be Bop Baby and Waitin' In School.
His guitar graced the soundtracks to the classic Robert Mitchum moonshine
movie Thunder Road, as well as God's Little Acre and others. His Columbia
instrumentals were never hits, most were only available on the rare 1957
Fire On The Strings LP.
Bear Family Records
If you like this site you may support it with a small donation using Paypal: