Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Category: Guitar innovations

Autoharp +/- harp
Zeroto180

Cecil Null & His “Gun-tar” Of 1968

I recently stumbled upon Ray Brack‘s “lost” piece of reporting — “New Gun-Tar Takes Aim At Non-Shooting Market” — about Cecil Null‘s handcrafted musical long gun (i.e., gun guitar – or is it guitar gun?) for Billboard ‘s June 22, 1968 edition: MADISON, Tenn. — An explosive new concept in

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"Spooky"
Zeroto180

George Barnes’ Halloween Guitar

George Barnes recorded a boss guitar instrumental – “Spooky” – that should be part of everyone’s Halloween soundtrack: “Spooky” by George Barnes (1962) Billboard conferred three stars (“moderate sales potential) upon this B-side, as well as its A-side “Trainsville,” in their June 23, 1962 edition.  Exactly fifty years later, in 2012, someone would

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"Cycle Annie"
Zeroto180

“Foreman”: Sanitation Engineer

Scooter “The Music Computer” Magruder – WPFW radio host and general manager of Silver Spring’s Roadhouse Oldies – has work tirelessly to fan the flames of appreciation for our shared musical heritage over the years.  My recent album purchases at Roadhouse Oldies affirmed yet again that plenty of interesting songs remain

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"Now We're Thru'"
Zeroto180

The Poets: Not Actual 12-Strings

The ringing, echo-drenched electric 12-string guitars on the debut single by Scottish rockers, The Poets, are such a striking sound for 1964 and yet a strangely familiar one:  might it be possible that the band later reincarnated as Brian Jonestown Massacre? “Now We’re Thru’” by The Poets (1964) play at

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"Baja"
Zeroto180

Rare 1965 Jimmy Page B-Side

No doubt about it:  Jimmy Page, given his role as composer, arranger, and producer, dominates this B-side by a group you’ve never heard of (i.e., recording career = exactly one 45).  This song, I am now discovering, is virtually unknown to American fans of Page’s work, as it has mainly

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"Cornflower Suite"
Zeroto180

Gene Rosenthal & Adelphi Records: Ahead of the Curve

I suspect Gene Rosenthal will roll his eyes at the obviousness and artlessness of this observation, but let history officially note:   In 1966, when Eric Clapton and company were reviving Skip James‘ “I’m So Glad” for Cream’s debut album (which enjoyed worldwide distribution – even Saudi Arabia, unofficially), Rosenthal

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"Boppin' to Grandfather's Clock"
Zeroto180

Hardrock Gunter on (indie) Island Records

This recording of Hardrock Gunter‘s mesmerizing voice, with its offbeat hiccup-y rhythms bathed in slapback echo, never fails to enchant: “Boppin’ to Grandfather’s Clock“ Hardrock (“Sidney Jo Lewis”) Gunter (1958) Birmingham, Alabama’s Sidney Louis Gunter, Jr.  would record under two other names:  Buddy Durham (as noted in the previous piece

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"Mama Was a Honky Tonk Woman"
Zeroto180

Mama = A Honky Tonk Woman

Just when you thought the “Honky Tonk Woman” carcass had been picked completely clean, one more interesting thing would somehow turn up — this moving and quaintly rocking tale of a British working-class family: “Mama Was a Honky Tonk Woman“ Hurricane (1973) One-time Rolling Stone percussionist, Carlo Little, would document

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"Tulsa Trot"
Zeroto180

(Son of) Plays Guitar Like a Piano

I finally got around to learning how to convert VHS into DVD so that I could preserve a rare piece of Ameri-music-ana:  a live performance of “Tulsa Trot” by noted western swing outfit, Tex Williams and His Western Caravan, that offers a second startling peek at the unorthodox technique of

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"The Fuzz"
Zeroto180

“The Fuzz”: Strictly B-Side

I’m guessing that Grady Martin‘s 1961 B-side “The Fuzz” influenced Les Paul to soup up his 1963 album track “Ham ‘N Grits” with a little “fuzz bass”: “The Fuzz” Grady Martin (1961) The historical consensus is that Grady Martin himself accidentally invented “fuzz bass” during a 1960 recording session for

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