June 27th, 2015

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I first got the chance to play with guitarist James Burton at the Playhouse Theater in Cleveland when I played with Les Paul. Some of the guest guitarists on the show were James Burton (Ricky Nelson, Elvis), Duane Eddy, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Steve Lukather (Toto), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie Brothers), Lonnie Mack, The Ventures, Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith), Slash (Guns and Roses), and Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi).
I first heard James when he was playing guitar with Ricky Nelson on the “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” TV show and on his records. I liked his guitar playing back then. He was one of the Rock and Roll pioneers in the 50s. James has played with Ricky Nelson, and Elvis Presley (1969-77). He told me that Elvis had him on a salary when I first met him in LA on a country session I was co-producing with Mike Theodore on Detroit artist Jack Rainwater. James also played with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Judy, Collins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello, and Vince Gill.

Guitarists Dennis Coffey and James Burton

Dennis Coffey, James Burton and Friends





I also played with James at the Meltdown Festival hosted by guitarist Richard Thompson in London, England. “Thompson is celebrated as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists. His personal highlight of his Meltdown Festival was Six Strings/Six Guitars, in which he shared a stage with such virtuosos as Elvis Presley’s guitarist James Burton and Motown legend Dennis Coffey” – Wikipedia.
After the Meltdown Festival James complimented me on my guitar skills and I told him he was the best at playing country/rock and roll. I also saw him when I played at the Gibson Guitar Factory in Memphis for a Katrina Benefit.


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Dennis Coffey