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LETTERS

Plenty of chicks with guitar licks

September 04, 2004

I had to shake my head as I read David Segal's article about where all the great guitar goddesses were ("Lead Guitar: Boys Rule," Aug. 28). His statement that Bonnie Raitt "didn't pioneer a style or push the instrument to places it hadn't been" was laughable. You mean to tell me a searing blast of Raitt-driven slide guitar isn't instantly recognizable?

It's just ludicrous to say there have been no other female guitarists of merit in the last 3 1/2 decades. Besides Raitt and Nancy Wilson of Heart (who was also sort of smugly dismissed in the article), off the top of my head I can think of Lita Ford (a perfect blend of pop and metal), Joan Armatrading (beautifully straddling both the acoustic and electric elements of rock) and the GoGo's Charlotte Caffey, with her brilliant brand of surf-edged California rock.

Then there's June Millington of Fanny, probably the greatest female guitarist of all time.

Jef Fazekas

Newport Beach

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Segal obviously has no knowledge of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who began recording in 1938. The title of her first record: "Rock Me." Though she was technically labeled either a gospel, blues or jazz performer, she was an electrifying guitarist whose stinging leads, combining country and blues licks, influenced Chuck Berry, among many others. And talk about "pioneering a style."

It's a shame more people don't know about her place in rock history -- but then, it is called "his-story," isn't it?

David Jacks

Highland Park

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