The great David Lindley passed away today at the age of 78, leaving a massive hole in the hearts of those who loved him – and not to love this cracked-voice raconteur seemed to be impossible. Many know David from his collaborations with Ry Cooder and Henry Kaiser, but there was much more to the American guitarist than playing with his peers – as diverse as Jackson Browne, Curtis Mayfield and Warren Zevon – that even calling Lindley a guitarist would mean to underestimate his instrumental skills.
His fiddle is heard on Graham Nash’s “Songs For Beginners” and “Heart Like A Wheel” by Linda Ronstadt, his flute on “Songs Of Leonard Cohen” and his mandolin on “Atlantic Crossing” by Rod Stewart, his bouzouki on Bob Dylan’s “Under The Red Sky” to name just a few of his credits – and, of course, Terry Reid’s overseas career would have never taken off without David’s slide guitar. That, and banjo, was Lindley’s true forte from his time with KALEIDOSCOPE onwards; and that’s what was driving his solo career which started with “El Rayo-X” – this platter gave the name to Mr. Dave’s band, brought forth such classics as the title track and the most memorable renditions of “Mercury Blues” and “She Took off My Romeos” and began a string of brilliant records – an incendiary mix of folk, blues, rock and Caribbean rhythms – only to end in 2010 when a live album documenting David’s tour with Browne. Luckily, Lindley carried on performing before the audience, and I was privileged to see him on stage in Toronto, the concert becoming an immense experience for me.
One of a kind, unique artist, he will be sorely, sorely missed.