Steve Cropper says that his favourite living guitarist isn’t Clapton, Beck, or Page–it’s Feliciano

By Steve Newton

I interviewed guitar legend Steve Cropper last week, in advance of his gig with Dave Mason in Vancouver this Wednesday, and man was I psyched about that.

You just can’t find musicians with more cred than Crop.

So of course I had to ask the 77-year-old fretmaster my standard question for players of his stature: if he had to pick just one, who would be his favourite guitarist?

“Well I don’t have one,” he replied. “I have a kind of a trick answer, but it’s true. People say, ‘You know everybody, who’s your favourite guitar player?’, and I say ‘Jose Feliciano’. And they’ll always go, ‘Well he’s a flamenco guitar player’, and I’ll go ‘Hey, I’ve produced three albums of his, I’ve heard him play, and he is something else.’

“He could have been up there with all the greats, but he chose to live off that ‘Light My Fire’ sound. And they had blackballed him here in the States–not in Canada, but here in the States–because of his version of the national anthem one time at a ball game. And all he was doin’ was being himself. He wasn’t tryin’ to chop it up or make it silly or nuthin’ like that. But they wouldn’t play his records; they just ended his career.

“But his career is not ended,” added Cropper. “He plays as good today as he did then. And sings great.”

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