There’s no one alive like the great Les Paul, and he is one feisty, musical and wonderful man to be around! I once had the honor of playing at his birthday in New York about 12 years ago, but the real thrill was when he took the stage with me and Albert Lee and James Burton at the Danny Gatton tribute concerts back in 1996 at Tramps, a now-defunct club in NYC.
This tribute was to go on for three days, and it was fairly well-organized, but there was a lot of spontaneity with this show, as would be expected at a tribute for someone like Danny, with so many guitarist on hand! Well, as it turned out, one night I had hit the stage, and was really playing my heart out to the crowd, and I was joined by my great buddy, Albert Lee. We did a few numbers together, and I had heard earlier that night that there was a “rumor” that Les Paul was going to show up. But at that point that is all it remained, was a “rumor”.
Well, sure enough, as Albert and I were playing a blistering rendition of my tune “Rollin’ Home”, a song we did as a duet on my cd, “Toolin’ Around”, I started to notice that the audience was literally parting, as if to make way for the “King”. Well, sure enough, the King was there, Mr. Les Paul himself, and he said the playing onstage was so great, he couldn’t help himself, and had to make his way up there!
So, then after all the hot and fast Country twangin’ was done, Les sat down and started to rip into a very quiet and subtle slow Blues that just had everyone spellbound. James Burton joined us onstage, and it was truly magic! Les was a true gentleman, and you could see that he was really happy to be there doing this. He then said a few wonderful words to the audience about Danny, and then proceeded to compliment all the players as well. It truly was like being in the presence of royalty, and it was an amzing jam session and evening I will never forget!