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The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 20, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Born in the wake of a biographical project that Grammy-winning producer and steel guitarist Steve Fishell and Buddy Emmons worked on together, The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons pays tribute to the most influential pedal steel player of them all. Buddy Emmons, known for endless musical vocabulary, his ultra clean technique, and his constant mechanical experiments on this complex, Rubick's cube-like instrument, is a legend amongst musicians and hardcore music fans alike, but remains largely a background figure to the general public
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B00DJJAXN8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,101 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Steel guitarists are often remembered for their spotlight instrumentals and flashy solos, but the lines they weave around verses and choruses more often define a song's emotional texture. Players like David Keli'i, Leon McAuliffe, Don Helms, Ralph Mooney and others were (quite literally) instrumental in defining the sound of the bands they played in, the singers they backed and the sessions in which they recorded. Among the long list of hall-of-fame steel players, Buddy Emmons stands especially tall. His credentials include the founding of both the Sho-Bud and Emmons lines of steel guitars, innovative designs (including the invention of the revolutionary split-pedal setup), new tunings, instrumentals that quickly became standards, and a lengthy catalog of breathtaking performances that chartered new territory as they stretched from country to jazz to pop and beyond.

Emmons was a pillar of bands fronted by Little Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb, Ray Price and Roger Miller, and the first-call studio player in both Nashville and Los Angeles. His creativity and technical virtuosity sparked innumerable recording sessions and influenced both his peers and subsequent generations of steel players. Thirteen of those players (including legends Norm Hamlet, JayDee Maness and others) have gathered with a stellar list of vocalists to pay tribute through songs from the guitarist's career.
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You need to hear this and read the notes to understand how important this work is. Peggy and Buddy Emmons inspired an exciting record of The big E , his instrument and those he informs.The line up and the diversity are marvelous.This is my favorite CD for 2013.
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I never was a country music fan so when a friend introduced me to ‘The Big E’ I had to admit I’d never heard of Buddy Emmons. The CD is a tribute to Buddy Emmons and a salute to steel guitar music. Each song on the CD features top pedal steel guitar players, and various amazing musical artists.
I originally bought this album to support the Country Music Hall of Fame but I can honestly say that I completely became a fan the first time listening to the songs. I love listening to this CD when I’m driving. I think the song I’m listening to is my favorite until the next song comes on. This is a very special compilation of classic steel guitar music. What a special gift or stocking stuffer this can be for anyone who appreciates brilliant music. A special thanks to Steve Fishell and Kickstarter for making this album come to life.
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Back in the Early 1970's an album came out called Suite Steel which demonstrated the abilities of about five pedal steel phenoms from that period who played on countless records,and did not record in Nashville, but in California.Subsequently there have been plenty of pedal steel guitar compilations but until now, none that was of the quality of Suite Steel.Buddy Emmons is the GOD of pedal steel guitar, while he did not invent it, he refined it,and started not one but two of the most important pedal steel guitar manufacturing companies.His playing is the mark of excellence to strive for.Steve Fishell, no mean steeler himself, has put out an homage to the great Buddy,using a number of the top pedal steel artists.The songs are all associated with Mr Emmons who has either been the studio pedal steel guitarist on the original hits, or has in fact written the songs.The playing is wonderful,these guys make magic on strings.But lest you think it's only for pedal steel lovers, the vocals are just as good,and so are all of the backing player.This is an all around great listening album that happens to focus more on pedal steel.
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This is not your typical "Tribute Album," which makes it all the more interesting and enjoyable. As you can read elsewhere, or know already, Buddy Emmons was not only one of the greatest steel guitar players in the history of country music, but a true innovator (and inventor) who truly pioneered this special sound. This CD "salute" to him only includes 3 songs that he wrote, but the rest of the material on the album are either covers of songs that he originally played on, or feature steel guitar players who were influenced by his unique style. The result is a thrilling album of steel guitar bliss.

Even though Emmons (who retired from playing in 2007) does not play on this album, the steel guitar playing throughout is totally first-rate. The last two tracks on the CD have especially impressive pedal steel performances; Gary Carter performing his own "Shenandoah", and a cover of "Mansion on the Hill" with Dan Dugmore on pedal steel, Duane Eddy on guitar, and Spooner Oldham on piano. Too tasty for words! In addition to the stellar steel guitar sounds, there are some excellent vocal performances from the likes of Raul Malo, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, John Anderson, and Little Jimmy Dickens --- still belting 'em out in his 90s!

The CD includes a very informative booklet that gives details about both the instrument and the career of Buddy Emmons. Fans of the instrument and quality country music, or anyone with "Half a Mind" should get this CD "Someday Soon", It's guaranteed to give you "Rainbows all over your Blues" and then you won't "Feel so Bad."
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