Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Doug Jerebine

I would probably love Drag City's re-release of New Zealand cult guitarist Doug Jerebine's Jess Harper a whole lot if it did not sound EXACTLY like Jimi Hendrix. I mean it's great that we have record companies scouring the earth for rare stuff that no one would hear otherwise...but, wow, everything, the voice, the guitar style, even the songs themselves are so close to Jimi that I'm having trouble taking it at face value as its own thing.

Though, if you'd never heard of Jimi, it would probably sound pretty sweet.

Here's a little background on the guy, courtesy of Drag City:

Who is Jesse Harper? Doug Jerebine is Jesse Harper. And who is Doug Jerebine? Born in rural Tangowahine, of New Zealand's North Island, Doug became one of New Zealand's finest guitarists thate cut his teeth on guitar from the age of 12, learning first from a half-Maori, half-Greek instructor who introduced him to everything from George Van Eps to Hank Marvin. And one day, he found Doug teaching him. Even though he was only a high schooler, Jerebine was ready to play out. By the early 1960s, Jerebine was hopping around in Auckland bands, including The Embers and The Brew. After hearing the overdriven sounds of Steve Winwood and Jimi Hendrix in 1966, Doug refined his own approach to a similar effect. At the same time, dove deeply into the virtuosic sitar sounds of Vilayat Kahn and Ravi Shankar, and learned to play that instrument as well. His interest helped form his spiritual beliefs, and Doug eventually decided his true path was Hare Krishna. Before landing in India, however, he stopped in England for a chance at making something big happen musically. In 1969 he recorded the Jesse Harper record, playing everything but drums, with the encouragement and assistance of Dave Hartstone, another London-based Kiwi-transplant from the scene.

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