A Resophonic Primer
by Catfish Keith
Back in the early days when I started playing guitar and my interest was being sparked by the wonderful world of fingerstyle acoustic blues and slide guitar, the dynamic sound of the National made a mighty deep impression. Pivotal experiences included listening and soaking up with every pore the excitement and depth of sound displayed by so many National-twanging artists:
Robert Petway singing Catfish Blues.
Son House and his Death Letter.
Booker White Fixin’ to Die on his way to Aberdeen.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe‘s God Don’t Like It.
Bo Carter with his Banana in Your Fruit Basket.
Tampa Red and his Duck’s Yas Yas Yas.
Sol Hoopii like a jazzbo Hawaiian God Himself.
I Am the Black Ace, I Am the Boss Card in Your Hand.
Oscar Buddy Woods pleads Mama Don’t You Sell It, Papa Don’t You Give it Away.
Oscar Aleman, every bit as hot and sweet as Django Reinhardt himself, and many others…
Then there are the modern touring resophonic heroes, people that have become like an extended musical family of fathers, brothers and sisters:
North American artists Johnny Shines, Henry Townsend, John Jackson, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Steve James, Doug MacLeod, Robert B. Jones, Geoff Bartley, Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, Roy Book Binder, Robert Armstrong, Del Rey, Honeyboy Edwards, Rich Delgrosso, Paul Geremia, Rory Block, Stefan Grossman, Woody Mann, Frank Fotusky, Paul Asbell, Arlen Roth, Cindi Cashdollar, Rich Jones, John Cephas, Tom Hall, Leroy Pearson, Terry Garland, Michael Roach, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Corey Harris, Spencer Bohren, John Mooney, Sonny Landreth, Diamond Jim Greene, Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan, Harlem Slim, John-Alex Mason, Dave MacKenzie, Bob McCarthy, Mike Dowling, Kent DuCheine, Toby Walker, Dave Moore, Greg Brown, Joe Price, Bo Ramsey, Dustin Busch, Junior Barber, Pete Grant, Steve Creter, Fruteland Jackson, Mary Flower, Frank Corso, Hawkeye Herman, The Original Snakeboy, Jeremy Lyons, Scott Perry, Colin John, Steve Arvey, John Hasbrouck, Dakota Dave Hull, Kari Larsen, Cam Waters, David Evans (former musical partner with Jessie Mae Hemphill), Robert Lucas, Tom Feldmann, Robert “One Man” Johnson, Wes Lee, Libby Rae Watson, Jack White, Bill Steber, Ramblin’ Steve Gardener, Dan Phelps, David Jacobs-Strain, Pat Donohue, Mike Dowling, John Maxwell, Shari Kane, Roy Rogers (Chops not Chaps), Johnny Winter, Paul Olsen of Scrapomatic, Guy Forsyth, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Matt Woods, Luther Dickinson, Ben Powell, Rick Franklin, Nathan Rivera, Shine Delphi, Jessie Andra Smith, Micah Kesselring, Jerron Paxton, Steve Dawson, Tim Williams, Kelly Joe Phelps, Kenny Pauze, Guy Drollinger, Rob Lumbard, Zak Izbinsky, Derek Trucks, Peter Keane, Johnny Depp and many many others.
UK artists Kevin Brown, Sam Mitchell, The Hokum Hotshots, Lee Bates, John Crampton, Gwyn Ashton, Eddie Martin, Chris Watkins, Dave Arcari, The Blues Band’s Dave Kelly (and his sister the late great Jo Ann Kelly), Michael Messer, Mark Makin, The Notting Hillbillies’ Steve Phillips and Mark Knopfler (also of Dire Straits), Jim Murray, The Hokum Hotshots, Ian Siegal, Adam Franklin, Roger Hubbard, Chris Martin, Dave Foster, Martin Simpson, Mr. Downchild, Perry Foster, Rag Mama Rag, John Pearson, Dave Peabody, Round Eyes Ray of the Hot Licks Cookies, Gypsy Dave, Paul Cuddeford, Aussie artists Jeff Lang and C.W. Stoneking and the late Irish legend Rory Gallager and many more all have had their lives altered irrevocably by this unique instrument.