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'Fast' Eddie Clarke's 5 Essential Guitar Albums

Former Motorhead man "Fast" Eddie Clarke selects five guitar albums that inspired his own playing, from Santana to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and beyond...

'Fast' Eddie Clarke admits to having a problem boiling down his choice here to just five albums.

“There are just so many albums I could have chosen,” he admits. “Ask anyone this question, and they'd have a tough time like me. But one thing it did make me is think seriously about my reasons for this selection.”

So, how did Clarke, who first made his name of course with Motörhead, decided which albums to choose?

“I the end I went for the albums which have had most impact on me. These are records which I still love playing. And the ones that have proven they are entitled to my admiration.”


John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (1966)

“When I first started going to gigs, I was lucky enough to see The Yardbirds at the Crawdaddy club in Richmond. And Eric Clapton just enthralled me. Everybody was saying at the time how great he was, and so when this album came out I bought it on the day of its release. And it was fucking wonderful. When I started my first garage band, we played virtually the whole of this album live.

“I recall seeing John Mayall live at this time on Eel Pie Island, and when the band went into the song All Your Love, the Otis Rush song that started the album, I just froze with admiration.”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced (1967)

“I have never tried to play like Hendrix. Because what he did was completely different to anyone else. I can never play like he did, and couldn't even come close to copying his solos. But that worked to my advantage, because it forced me to come up with something of my own. So, his influence on me was clear from that point of view.

“I still listen to this album all the time, and love its energy. I was also lucky enough to see Hendrix play live, and he was just killer.”

Santana – Caravanserai (1972)

“If I ever have to go on Desert Island Discs, I think this would be my first choice. Carlos Santana is a wonderful guitarist, and you can hear it all over this album. I recall when Phil Taylor came over to my house to discuss the possibility of me joining Motörhead in 1976, he bought with him three albums. People did that sort of thing in those days. The albums were one from Nils Lofgren, Blow By Blow by Jeff Beck and this one. It was amazing listening to this one with Phil.

“The other thing about Caravanserai is that Neal Schon was on it. In fact, you can hear the template here for what he went on to do on the first Journey album.”

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Humble Pie – Performance: Rockin' The Fillmore (1971)

“What an incredible album. I was living in Cornwall with a bird at the time, but I had my guitar with me, and was planning to get together a new band. Now I had liked Humble Pie's Rock On album put out earlier the same year, so got this one when it was released. But I was just so disappointed. Not because it was bad – far from it. But due to the fact that they were already doing exactly what I wanted to do musically! They got to the style first. That devastated me. This live recording had so much energy and kicked arse.

“Peter Frampton was such a great guitarist. I know everybody thinks of him as a pretty boy. But when you listen to what he did here, then you appreciate how much ability the man had. When he left, the band were never the sane again. I saw them live with The Who at Charlton Athletic Football Club in 1974, and the guy they brought in to replace him (Clem Clempson) wasn't a guitarist I liked. On this album, though, you can hear Frampton in top form!”

Joe Walsh – So What (1974)

“I had got his previous album, The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get (1973), and liked it. So when this was put out I decided to buy a copy. In those days, records were expensive, and as nobody had a pot to piss in, so you didn't want to waste money on a dud purchase. However, when I put the album, my reaction was 'Fucking hell!'. It was amazing. I played both sides of the album right through, and then put it back on again and again. I never got tired of listening to it. So What made that sort of impression on me. It was remarkable.”

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