Randy 'Rare' Resnick

tapping pioneer

Randy Resnick has played guitar with many blues greats, such as Don 'Sugarcane' Harris and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

John Lee Hooker: The Art of Being

In the 1970's in Los Angeles, our agent connected the Pure Food & Drug Act  to open for John Lee Hooker on a short Canadian tour. One night, our bass player, Victor Conte subbed for John's regular guy, I don't recall why. We got to watch him up close, though, and I can tell you, it was a revelation. John Lee would have been in his mid 50's then, so observing the two young ladies he had on either side of him on an airplane left little doubt as to what they were doing under the blanket he had spread over his lap. The man knew how to travel!

"John Lee Hooker 1997" by I, Sumori

"John Lee Hooker 1997" by I, Sumori

One night at the Golden Bear, in Orange County, John Lee needed a band, and again, our agent called and we had to throw together musicians we knew to do both the opening set and then to accompany the Man. I remember some of our opening set was pretty cool, with Coleman Head's originals and singing, and the crowd liked us. Since John Lee plays guitar and Coleman also plays guitar, I played piano. Although I play very little piano, I could find the blues chords in E, which is the key most of his tunes are written in. It was then that we discovered that John Lee changed chords when he felt like it, not in even numbers of bars, as you'd expect after years of listening to and playing blues. You had to watch him and listen.

Here was a man who did what he did so naturally, so effortlessly, it was as if he was born into it. Imagine the changes he witnessed during his lifetime, from playing "race music" in Mississippi to hanging out with hip young women who found him irresistible. I know nothing of his personal life, but professionally, he always seemed to be able to just do what he did. Playing, to him, was as natural as breathing.

Here's a one-hour sampler of  that natural playing.