For Epiphone fans who are discovering Gary Clark Jr. for the first time (check out his feature in next month's Premier Guitar) and the wide range of tones he gets from his Casino, you might also check out other great blues artists who have turned to Epiphone archtops on stage and in the studio.
The “Blues Boy” B.B. King cut sides for Sun Records and RPM in the early '50s with a variety of archtops including an Epiphone. B. B. also was very hands-on in creating the Epiphone B. B. King Lucille. Two of King’s greatest recordings were made during live shows and are a must-have for any great record collection. Check out Live at the Regal and Live at Cook County Jail to learn the a.b.c.’s of King’s one-of-a-kind tone.
Otis Rush is another Epiphone fan who used a Riviera in his early days in Chicago. Rush, along with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and Son Seals, brought new life to the southside blues scene in the late '50s and early '60s after Muddy Waters and Wolf hit it big. Check out Rush’s early recordings for Cobra—also a favorite of Duke Robillard.
Magic Sam died tragically young but his seminal LP, West Side Soul, is one of the greatest blues albums ever and the cover features Magic with a Cherry Red Epiphone Riviera.
John Lee Hooker was a life-long fan of Epiphone throughout his life and played Epi acoustics and electrics of all shapes and sizes. Hooker's Sheraton II was his favorite and his excellent all-star albums near the end of his career often featured his Epi front and center. Be sure to check out the Unknown John Lee Hooker, recorded on acoustic guitar at a house party in Detroit in 1949.