Byron Gregory

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Not that fans of psycho-rockers The Cramps would ever approach an album cover with blurry eyes, but they should not confuse that band's original guitarist Bryan Gregory with Byron Gregory, a Chicago guitarist…
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Not that fans of psycho-rockers The Cramps would ever approach an album cover with blurry eyes, but they should not confuse that band's original guitarist Bryan Gregory with Byron Gregory, a Chicago guitarist who plays on many soul, rhythm and blues and fusion records. The latter Gregory is associated with the Windy City's "Record Row", a section of South Michigan Avenue that happened to be real estate central for famous labels such as Chess, Vee-Jay, Brunswick and the largely forgotten but still wonderful One-derful records. Something other than hot dogs swamped with fixings that these hot Chicago recording companies had easy access to were hot session-men who could produce hot licks when pointed at.

Gregory is often mentioned in the stellar company of bassist Phil Upchurch and guitarist Pete Cosey; like them, he has survived to enjoy a developing interest in session players that in some cases has out-lived the stars of the show. All three of these players took part in a large group called Original Guitarslingers and Session Men of Record Row which performed at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2000. Gregory's presence on records begins in the late '60s; he soon developed a subtle style that was supremely effective in the ensemble of pianist Ramsey Lewis. Lewis recorded some of the guitarist's compositions including "Love Bandit and "The Messsenger".