Watch the Sugarfooter online guitar lesson by Jason Loughlin from 30 Country Jazz Licks You MUST Know
A true genius of the electric guitar, Hank made a name for himself at a very young age. He was only 18 when "Sugarfoot Rag" became a million selling hit record. Hank quickly became an in demand session player in Nashville. It’s harder to find records that him and Grady Martin didn’t play on then to find ones they did. They even teamed up in The Slewfoot Five for a time. Check out "Pork Chop Stomp" to hear their twin leads on the intro. Really out there for the time. Hank was also a great producer and songwriter, running sessions for Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, and he even wrote "Jingle Bell Rock". Back then the music business was such that you couldn't get credit for multiple jobs, so he never received credit for a lot of his production and co-writes. He can also be heard on a lot of Elvis' music from 1958 to 1961. That’s Hank playing the lead on “Little Sister”, on a Stratocaster no less.
In the late 50’s, he was doing quite a few rockabilly sessions at the height of rockabilly’s popularity, playing guitar on one of my favorite Jimmy Lloyd recordings “I've got a Rocket in Pocket”. He also did sessions with The Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty, and Marty Robbins.
As Hank grew as a musician, he moved further away from country and closer to jazz, playing with George Shearing and the legendary Charlie Parker. His record Jazz Winds from a New Direction was a crazy collection of talent. It featured Gary Burton on vibes, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Joe Morello on drums. George Benson sites this record as a huge influence on his playing.
The Bear Family has released a compilation of all the Hank Garland and His Sugarfooters 78's on CD. Highly recommended! Velvet Guitar and Jazz Winds from a New Direction are both gems, too.
This lick comes from a Hank Garland and His Sugar Footers tune called "Sugarfoot Boogie". It's a descending legato idea over an E chord ending with a sweep through an E major triad.