Every time you hear Jose Feliciano‘s name mentioned what is the first song that comes to mind? Chico and the Man. This man, who is probably one of the greatest ambassador of flamenco guitar, likely has a love hate relationship with this song that has made him a household name.
The Flamenco guitar sound in this song, to a young impressionable guitarist like me in the 70’s when it first came out, was extremely exotic. At the time I was exposed to pop 70’s tunes that were not all that multicultural in essence. From Arlo Guthrie to Led Zeppelin there was nothing that came close to the distinctive approach to playing guitar that it had on me.
Another thing that made the theme song Chico and the Man strike a chord with me was the words. It was the first time that I paid any attention to the words of a song. It fit in perfectly with the overall idea behind this 1970’s hit TV show. The subjects playing on the screen when it was playing helped the song make such an impression on any viewer.
I remember having my guitar in my lap, always in tune, when the show was about to begin. I tried my best to figure it out when it was playing on TV. This was before a VHS machine was commonplace in most homes. I had to start figuring out the bass line or basic chords of the song first. I wrote them down in a book very quickly and then added to the chords later on to fill out the sound of the song. Man those were the days!
If you don’t know how to play Chico and the Man on guitar then check out this link! The guy in this video, Chuck Davis AKA Harvey Clinger, is utterly hilarious. At first take, I thought that it was a joke but he does a fantastic rendition of the song at the end. After he start playing the song, I realized that the man knew exactly how to interpret this one!
So if you’re a guitar player, have you ever tried figuring Jose Feliciano’s Chico and the Man OR do you think you might give this one a go?
Keep on Jammin’