News createt: 21-07-2012 11:00:00
James Burton about Elvis
James Burton has played on more number ones than he can remember. As Elvis Presley’s guitarist, he created some of the most influential guitar riffs in popular music.
Elvis Costello says that he is one of a few players who musicians almost always call ‘legendary’ – Pete Townsend says that James is probably the most important guitar player in American music.
But James himself is much more humble.
“It’s an honour to be back in Merseyside,” he smiles. “I’ve been coming here for years, well decades, and I’ve always had a wonderful time.”
He’s here to play the James Burton weekend at Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton.
Tonight is Elvis night – when he’ll play alongside Vince Eager, Paul Hayes, The Collection and the Passionates. Tomorrow is the grand double header, with James and Albert Lee, supported by The Shakers and Don Woods. On Sunday it’s Los Pacaminos featuring Paul Young and James, with support from Emma Ronchetti.
“I’m looking forward to playing a bit of everything,” he says.
“I always play the Elvis songs – Suspicious Minds is a great one, and I love to play Trilogy. Everyone wants to hear those. Elvis was the ultimate performer, and such a good friend. He’d do anything for anyone.”
On his finger is a ring that Elvis gave him.
“He was such a generous man,” says James. “He’d take the rings off his fingers and the watch off his wrist if he thought you’d like it. I tell you I have so many rings, so many watches. He wanted to make people happy and he loved the pleasure of giving.”
As well as Elvis Presley, James has played with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Elvis Costello, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, John Denver, The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Gram Parson, Ray Charles, Sonny and Cher, Simon and Garfunkel, The Righteous Brothers, The Mamas and The Papas, Andy Williams and The Monkees – to name a few.
He’s in every music hall of fame, but he says the real reward comes from his audience.
“It’s all about making people happy,” he explains. “That’s what life is all about. I’ll keep playing as long as they keep coming. I just love to perform.