James Burton

Listen to James Burton with Dale Hawkins on Suzie Q

Update: For the Stomp expect a set from Mr Burton including songs from his days with Bob Luman, Ricky Nelson, Merle Haggard and ELVIS!!

Master of the pink paisley Telecaster, veteran of sessions that number in the thousands, capable of playing anything with strings, creator of the "Suzie-Q" guitar riff, Ricky Nelson`s main man, leader of Elvis's and Jerry Lee's bands. James Burton has been at it for fifty years.

Starting out in Shreveport as a member of the Louisiana Hayride at the tender age of fifteen, Burton was force-fed the blues by Dale Hawkins; the result being that unforgettable intro to "Suzie-Q" that rockers the world over just can't seem to wring out of their heads. He soon hooked up with fellow Shreveport teenager Bob Luman, cutting "Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache" and "Red Hot" for Imperial, as well as playing on many of that label's legendary rockabilly sides, including those of Ricky Nelson, whose band he soon joined--but not before making a stellar appearance with Luman in the rock 'n' roll movie "Carnival Rock" where the pair blew the roof off theaters nationwide with their incredible "This Is The Night." It would be the first opportunity many aspiring young pickers would have to study Mr. Burton's way with a six-string, but it would certainly not be the last.

Appearing alongside Ricky on Ozzie and Harriet, the Nelson family's popular T.V. show, James threw his trademark chickin'-pickin' licks all over such hits as "Travelin' Man," "Hello Mary Lou," and "Believe What You Say," practically inventing the rockabilly guitar style in the process. Upon leaving Ricky, James plunged into session work backing everyone from the Everly Brothers to Merle Haggard to the Beach Boys to Buffalo Springfield, gaining further notoriety as the guitarist with the "Shindig" house band, the Shindogs.

When the King reclaimed his throne in '68, he called on none other than James to put together and lead the TCB band and when not busy with Elvis, James toured with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. After Presley's death, Burton-perhaps feeling a bit on the introspective side--worked with John Denver for years until eventually the devil came calling again and he commenced to peeling the paint off the walls with Jerry Lee Lewis. Residing in the house where "The Creature From the Black Lagoon" was filmed, James is still the consummate guitar player's guitar player that he's always been.

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