"Too many dirty dishes in the sink just for us two. Well you got me wonderin' baby, who's makin' dirty dishes with you?"
- Albert Collins from 'Too Many Dirty Dishes'
Albert Collins (1932-1993) “The Master of the Telecaster” was a Texas bluesman with a ferocious guitar style and a knack for entertaining his audiences with often quite amusing lyrics. For most of his career, he played a single guitar; a 1966 Fender Telecaster “Custom” modified with Gibson humbucking pickups which he plugged into an extremely powerful Fender Quad Reverb amplifier. He used a unique minor tuning which he capoed high up the neck anywhere from the 5th fret to the 8th fret and played with his bare fingers effortlessly plucking & snapping the strings to produce a stinging icy tone for his solos.
Albert was a superb entertainer and thrilled his audiences when walking off the stage mid-song while playing a blistering solo and into the crowd with his guitar tethered to a 100+ foot long guitar cord. One time while taking an extended solo he actually left the building to order a pizza next door which was delivered to him shortly after he returned to the stage.
Albert always kept an amazingly talented and tight band, especially long-time member Johnny B. Gayden known for his thunderous walking bass lines. Not only was Albert a great soloist, vocalist, and songwriter, but he also even drove the band’s bus. Sadly, Albert passed away at the peak of his career in 1993 from lung cancer.
- Frosty, from The Cool Sounds of Albert Collins, 1965
- Don’t Lose Your Cool, from Don’t Lose your Cool, 1983
My 1968 Fender Telecaster – There’s nothing cooler than an old well-worn Tele, except for maybe an old well-worn Martin D-18. As with many Telecasters from this era, this one has the typical ash body with a semi-transparent blonde finish showing the wood’s grain. It has a maple neck with a “maple-cap” on the fingerboard which has much of its lacquer finish worn off from years of playing. Even though Albert Collins made his Telecaster howl when he played the blues, Telecasters are actually better suited for country chicken pickers like Brad Paisley. Like many of my guitars, this guitar is well-worn but completely original.