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Keith Richards Lord of the Riffs

Brian Jones found the Double edge sword when he Founded The Rolling Stones. He was the Most experimental and eclectic but The Jagger/Richards songwriting team soon emerged.Mick and Keith came to the front in short order and have remained there not only in the songs but the Image of The Greatest Rock N Roll Band in the World.

Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan are the Primary two Guitarists I play Guitar. Keith was the first to make me get serious, Later He made me enjoy the art of Rhythm Guitar and informed my Guitar writing style. It would be a mix of the Rhythms and The Riff that I learned after the Lead Guitar had been accomplished. 

It was a backwards evolution for me, but growing older and wiser I found that for one, it’s difficult to write a Riff that is not already written, and two There is a lot of fun to be had in the Rhythm Guitar.

There are 3 million dynamics and ways to play the same chord. Each has its own Character. Sometimes Silence and letting the air breathe between the right hand attack is the most important aspect. The silence in Between, can make all the difference in the song.

I worked Backwards in the inspiration as well. I discovered the Rolling Stones in 1981 and worked my way back to the beginning. It is even now a special time in the Band’s Many chapters. The Film “Let’s spend the Night Together” was new in 1982 and the Live album of the tour “Still Life “ was the very first vinyl I ever bought. Those two things were my college education at the age of 10.

If you are one able to focus on just one specific part of a band playing. Keith’s work here on “Shattered” you will hear what I mean in so many ways to play the same basics with a ton of different Variations. It is part Post Punk and part 1950’s Eddie Cochran.

The Rolling Stones – Shattered – From The Vault – Hampton Coliseum – Live In 1981

The Blues as Opera.

The Best version to my knowledge is still from the 1969 Live album “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out” But this would get my second vote.  The Blues as the foundation for a tale of “Jack The Ripper” could only come from Mick and Keith. The overall Vibe and the time changes here are quite the education. I’ve only ever played this live with one drummer who got the time switches right. It is one of His best Compositional Roller Coaster rides. 

Rolling Stones Ladies and Gentlemen Midnight Rambler

Menacing is the word to describe Keith’s work in “Gimme Shelter” . It’s a tough bet to find 3 chords that convey as much atmosphere and sinister feel. Keef has always made simplicity shine. 

Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter 1975 LA Forum

I think the other Factor with Keith and Ron Wood as well is they made it just look like so much fun. Little communications unspoken with eye contact or a nod and wink to me were a Hallmark of Improvisational Greatness. The set list might not change but the Stones never played a song the exact same way twice. Much Like Our Dear Departed, Charlie Watts had said they are a Rock Band that plays like a Jazz band. You never knew what might happen.

It’s Also a very serious Noteworthy fact that 99% of the time The Stones Follow Keith’s Guitar when most bands follow the set up of the Drummer. 

Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb LIVE HD Tempe, Arizona ’81 (HAMP)

Keith and the Expensive Winos

I have a personal theory. When the Solo album wars between Mick and Keith came around in the later 1980’s and The Stones as a Band was in question Keith found another Great Band. Steve Jordan was with Charlie Drayton switching off drum and Bass duty. Keith had always said he couldn’t see playing with anyone but Charlie Watts, until Jordan. I think Charlie Picked Steve Jordan so The Stones would carry on and I doubt Keith would have stepped on that stage with anyone else but Steve.  Here are a couple examples of Steve Jordan’s talents: First on Bass and then as a Rock steady drummer. 

Take It So Hard / Keith Richards & X-Pensive Winos
 

ROLLING STONES Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos ‘Wicked As It Seems’ TV Boston1993

Keith’s Guitars over 50 years 

Mainly a Telecaster Man, He has also used almost everything that came down the road.

He subscribes to the thought that every guitar has a song in it…He’s made an incredible use in that line of thought.

Keith Richards – History Of His Guitars

Reggae, Rock, Motown, Psychedelic, Rockabilly, Funk or the Blues Keith Richards has absorbed it all and it’s literally on call at his fingertips. There will always be the masses of us he inspired or will inspire in the future. There will never be another Keith Richards.

Hat’s off to the Man who launched a million bands, and has Kept us Rocking for 5 decades.

As The Man , The Myth and The Legend would say.. “Gold Rings on ya!” 

One more for the road. Thanks for visiting we do hope you can share this or make a comment.

Keith Richards Monkey Man

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Jimmy Flemming