‘He literally blew me away’: Steve Cropper’s surprising choice for favorite electric guitarist

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Steve Cropper has claimed his share of accolades as a guitarist, finishing at No. 35 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest and while ending up at No. 2 on the Mojo list. But who’s his favorite?

“Well, you know — it varies,” the Rock and Roll hall of Famer tells Down Home Radio. “I can’t really answer the question, because I don’t think there is ‘the best.’ It just depends on what style of music you’re talking about, and what genre they’re in — and what they’re doing. I mean, there are so many great ones.”

Pressed for an answer on his top choice in the smaller electric-guitar category, Cropper eventually narrows it down — and the answer might surprise even Cropper’s most ardent fans. It’s not an early pioneer like Les Paul or Scotty Moore. Not Skunk Baxter or Steve Lukather, who were recognized a few years ago by Gibson with Cropper as some of the best-ever sessions guys. Not next-gen legends of the electric like Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, either.

Instead, it’s someone most famous this time of year for his rendition of “Feliz Navidad.”

“I’m probably one of the few people who have an answer for that question,” Cropper says, “and his name would be Jose Feliciano. People say: ‘Well, he doesn’t play electric guitar.’ And I say: He did in the studio. He literally blew me away. Fantastic.”

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