Letter of the Month(4)

April 19, 2005

Shame on Eric Clapton! Though I enjoyed watching the Crossroads Guitar Festival recently aired on PBS, and I do plan to purchase the DVD, I am quite disgruntled—no, I am angry—that no female guitarists were represented. The obvious choice would’ve been Bonnie Raitt. Her career spans more than 30 years, and she continues to champion the blues, rhythm & blues, and roots music. She honed her craft spending hours in the presence of Son House, John Lee Hooker, and numerous other blues artists of that generation, so her credibility in the blues world is undisputed. As a guitar player, she has graced the covers of magazines throughout those 30 years, and has often been listed among the top guitarists in the world.

And what of Bonnie’s acoustic contemporary, Rory Block? With a career of equal duration and similar roots, if Bonnie wasn’t available, I’m sure Rory could’ve been located. Or why not have both women representing their gender at the show? Then there is Sue Foley, who spends time in Texas sharing the bill with Jimmie Vaughan. She would have been a natural for this event. Then we have Debbie Davies, who toured and recorded with Albert Collins, and has ten of her own albums under her belt.

The list of credible female guitar slingers hardly stops there. Clapton’s disclaimer about not trying to be “politically correct,” is one thing, but by not including any female players whatsoever, he is making a far greater statement than he probably even realizes. And thus he adds another thick layer to the “boy’s club” glass ceiling.

Rene Salvadore
New York, NY

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