It Shore Ain't No Vocoder
:: The Spook ::
:: Sleep Walk ::
:: I'm Just A Guitar (Everybody Picks On Me) ::
Another shining example of someone you've probably heard, but never heard of, Pete Drake left behind an impressive body of work, as not only an individual artist and session man, but also as a producer. He started out in a group called Sons of the South, whose ranks included future country heavies Roger Miller and Doug Kershaw. And it was on Miller's record, "Lock, Stock And Teardrops," that his trademark "talking guitar" first appeared. While no one jumped up and took notice right away, it wasn't long before he had a hit with "Forever," and his unique pedal steel sound was the talk of the town. It was so different.
Inspired by his desire to give people with speech loss the ability to talk and craving a new sound, he developed a system with which he could mouth sounds and mimic words while playing his pedal steel. Listening to it today, you would just think it was a vocoder or a talk box (Frampton Comes Alive, baby!), and it worked much the same, but think about what that crazy shit must have sounded like back in the early 60's.
He played for tons of people, from Ernest Tubb to George Harrison (on All Things Must Pass, no less), and certainly has to be regarded as one of the most inventive players to ever come from the country stables. He died in 1988, just shy of his 56th birthday.