One of the post-60's generation of electric blues guitarists, Calvin Louden is best known as the lead guitarist in the band of supreme female blues belter Koko Taylor. For her he takes on a role that is quite traditional in blues, rhythm and blues and soul bands, that of the sideman who steps forward as honorary bandleader in the introductory part of the show, no doubt while Taylor is still back in the dressing room perfecting her make-up and wardrobe. Some artists choose somewhat flabby players to take care of this part of the show, probably assuming that it will make the headliner appear all the more exciting in comparison. Examples of this type of approach include the late John Lee Hooker, who for a time used his John Lee Hooker Jr., an untalented individual who also may not have even been related to Hooker, to open the show, or Buddy Guy, who lets his rhythm guitarist and brother step forward for the first few numbers, usually resulting in the audience fully understanding why Philip Guy is a rhythm guitarist and not a leader. Taylor's confidence in Louden is on a different level, however, perhaps stemming from the fact that few male blues guitarists could succeed in stealing the show from Koko Taylor. As a result, the Louden portions of the program are on an extremely high level musically, although he sometimes is guilty of overdoing the double-entendre and nasty blues lyrics, as if he was himself insecure in his abilities to keep the audience's attention while they await the arrival of the star. He shouldn't be, if reactions such as the one from this blues critic are any indication: "Lead guitarist Calvin Louden was so slick that each time someone moved during one of his solos they had to be careful not to slip and fall because the notes off his Gibson were just dripping." Perhaps the notes just appeared to be dripping because one of Louden's tricks is playing his guitar with his tongue, a technique that although stimulating to an audience is something that guitarists should be careful about: it can lead to copper poisoning.
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