Page last updated at 19:04 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Tributes to veteran guitarist Gee


Watch an excerpt of Mickey Gee playing with Dave Edmunds in 1998

Nick Dermody
BBC News website

Shakin' Stevens has joined tributes to one of his former lead guitarists, a stalwart of the Welsh music scene, who has died in hospital.

Cardiff-born Mickey Gee played solos on hits with Stevens and others including Dave Edmunds.

Stevens said: "Mickey Gee will be remembered for his guitar playing by the public and true fellow musicians."

In the 1960s, he played with Tom Jones when the singer was known as Tommy Scott.

Kingsley Ward, of Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth, said: "Mickey Gee never got the recognition he deserved."

Gee, who was in his 60s, passed away at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff this week after a short illness.

Producer and recording studio boss John David, a friend for some 40 years, said: "I worked with him on tons of stuff. I produced Shaky's Christmas album in '91 and he was on that.

"He was in the very first Dave Edmunds band, Rockpile and was the lead guitar on [Edmund's 1970 No. 1] I Hear You Knockin'.

"Then we toured America for about 10 years in the 80s and Mickey was in that."

"He was mainly known throughout the UK music industry as "that guitarist" - whenever there was some blinding lick on something, it was only Mickey Gee.

Mr David said Gee drew his inspiration from the influential American guitarists Merle Travis and Chet Atkins.

He said: "They popularised a very complicated finger-picking guitar style which Mickey and Dave Edmunds became past masters at. He could also emulate James Burton, Elvis's guitar player.

Gee describing playing with Andy Fairweather Lowe and Dave Edmunds

"He was my favourite guitarist. He was really exciting. He was very inventive in the studio.

"I once asked him to play a rock 'n' roll song on a banjo and he was fantastic. It sounded amazing."

Rockfield recording studio boss Kinglsey Ward said: "He was purely a great guitar player, very individual. When I met famous people, they often asked me about Mickey Gee.

"He never received the acknowledgment of his true ability. He was the unsung hero of Welsh guitar playing."

Stevens added: "He played on all my early records and toured with me. The guitar solos, for me, were very important, they weren't just filling. His solos were and are very memorable."

As well as playing with names, including Joe Cocker and Bill Wyman, Gee was also a regular playing live at pubs in Cardiff.

Fellow guitarist Andy Fairweather Lowe said: "Outside of my family, he's as much a part of it. I left school and I started playing in my very early days and I went round to Mickey's house.

"Mickey was there before all of us. He was just a great player, it's just sad.

Shakin' Stevens and Dave Edmunds
Mickey Gee toured and recorded with Shakin' Stevens and Dave Edmunds

"If you know about players, you will know about Mickey Gee. Any player I know and respect knows about Mickey - that's a fact."

Sax player Allan Jones, who was in Amen Corner with Fairweather Lowe, said: "Mickey was probably my favourite guitar player ever.

"He had his own individual style. He wasn't one for self-publicity, he let his guitar do the talking and he was the most amazing guitar player."

BBC Radio Wales presenter Owen Money, who had known Gee since the 1960s, said he was a great guitarist and he would be playing I Hear You Knockin' on his radio programme as a tribute.

"I'm absolutely distraught. He was one of the greatest guitarists Wales has ever produced," he said.

"He did the intro on I Hear You Knockin' but he started at the wrong time. If you listen to it, it's out of sync. He said he couldn't remember how he got back into tempo.

"He turned a mistake into a great track."

Have you any memories - or photos - of Mickey Gee performing? Here are a selection of your responses.

Mickey was a tremendous guitarist - the Welsh Albert Lee! Let's see a BBC Wales documentary about him. He certainly deserves it. My very best wishes to his family.

Nick Jones, Crickhowell, Wales

I heared him a few years ago in the Royal Oak, with my friend the late John Payne, He was pure magic what a player !!! blew my mind, he will be jamming with all the greats' in heaven.
louis fernandez, cardiff wales

Like hundreds of others I played in the 60s. I admired Micky then, and never stopped. His family will have some comfort from knowing that he is so well remembered and respected.
Bob Williams, Pontardawe - Wales

It was a pleasure to play drums for him for the last 9 years of his career. He was an amazing talent that had to be seen to be believed. From Craig and I, Long live The Sneakers.
Justin Watts, Australia

Terribly sad news, a large piece of rock and roll history has gone in wales-nobody had the attack that Mickey Gee had on the guitar, the embodiment of proper rock and roll guitar playing, he blew my mind every time I saw him. No effects or frills just talent and power. RIP
Kevin , Swansea

Very sad news. I greatly admired Mickey. He helped me a lot and opened up my mind to what you can do on a guitar. I was around his house once and play guitar for him for about 2 hours. I don't think he showed me anything. Next time I called in was about 2 months later, And he played almost everything I played from the time before, then in every position on the guitar neck. As I said he blew/opened up my mind. A truly amazing player and man And a great loss to music, friends and family
John Lewis, Penarth

Mickey could also be heard singing on Shakey's early hits.He made a great album with a band called Memphis Bend,playing music based on the Sun records sound.He will be much missed.
mike carne, Northants

I was lucky enough to see Mickey play numerous times over the years in pubs around Cardiff. He was extremely talented and a pleasure to watch/listen to. Such a loss.
Vicky, Cardiff, Wales

Mickey Gee. Photo courtesy of Allan Jones
Mickey Gee - an influence and an inspiration to many fans

My memories of Mickey stem from the 60's when I was just 12 years old. I used to stop off after Scouts at my Fathers business, The Kennard Rooms each Friday night to hear the local bands playing to packed houses. Mickey was always there, sitting in with many bands of the time, such was the respect for his outstanding talent. A great loss not just to Wales but the UK music scene.

Lawrence Parkes, Cardiff

I saw him play on my father's recommendation. We have very different tastes in music but we both loved Micky Gee's playing. We saw him in a pub in the early 90s in Cardiff, and he played a solo set that was amazingly solid and dynamic. He had to keep beating his vintage old Fender amp as it kept cutting out, but that didn't diminish the entertainment value. A truly unique guitarist, and a genuine loss for music in Wales and the wider world.
David, Saundersfoot, Wales

Went to a gig last night at the Heathcock in Llandaff the night was dedicated to Mickey,many of his old friends were there including Craig who played bass in his last band.He was a talent who will be sorely missed by all who new and played with him throughout his career. All the best to his family.

Geraint, Aberdare Wales

Very Sad, he was an inspiration to any anyone interested in playing the guitar and a whole host of semi pro musicians, such an individual sound and technique. BBC should rerun the Still Rockin'concert of a few years back.
Francois Samuel, Cardiff, Wales

I last saw Mickey at the Mountain Ash Rugby Club more than 10 years ago. He was playing with Martin Ace on bass and Terry Williams on drums. Three vetran musicians with nothing to prove because they had already been there and done that. It was a great night but what else would you expect from these unsung heroes? Truly a sad loss to the South Wales music scene.
Allyn, Mountain Ash, Wales

Sad to hear of the passing of the finest guitarist to come from Wales,from Tom Jones,Dave Edmunds,Memphis Bend,The Sunsets, Shaky,Willie & the Poor Boys etc,his distinctive and innovative stylings were always the key element,Mickey is right up there with the likes of Albert Lee,James Burton and of course Carl Perkins - on whose tv special Mickey shared guitar duties with Edmunds,Clapton and George Harrison Off to dig out the great mid 70s UA lp Memphis Bend cut in Rockfield with Lincoln Carr and Tom Riley, sadly not available on cd
Phil, Castell Nedd, Cymru

Its very sad news.I met Mickey a lot on Shaky's tours and saw him play many times,of course on record too.His Finger pickin and Twangy telecaster sound was amazing.You could see him on the Carl perkins rockabilly special amongst many other things he did.Thoughts to his family and many respects from myself and my family, Shawn Harvey
Shawn Harvey, Amsterdam/Monchengladbach Germany

Mickey Gee was a great guitarist in the ranks from Hank Marvin and all the rest of them.I will truly miss him.May he rest in Peace with Elvis and all the greats up there in Heaven.
Martyn Smythe, Dortmund Germany

Very sad news indeed. As a guitarist for 35 years Mickey's always been an influence and inspiration, but impossible to emulate. Lightening fast, silky smooth with ferocious attack. Along with Tich Gwylim, that's two unique guitarists we've lost recently. We won't see their like again.
Alun , Monmouth, Wales

Mickey was an exeptional talent who never reached the heights in terms of fame and fortune that he deserved. However this meant that I was able to watch him for many years play around the Cardiff Pub scene with bands like All the Notes, the Racketeers and latterly the Sneakers - a real privilege and a huge pleasure.
Steve Long, Cardiff, Wales

I feel very sad about the news as his guitar work is so infulential on the band I'm in, and particularly our guitarist. He was also a very nice guy too having had the privilage of meeting him several times, working the sound for his trios in Cardiff on a few occasions and going to see Scotty Moore in concert together! Mickey's a legend because his guitar playing was awesome with such a unique style and sound.
Kevin Davidge, Tredegar, South Wales UK

Mickey was one of the greatest guitar pickers of all time. Stunning player. I have a special tribute to him on my rock n roll show this Saturday night. `The Saturday Night Rock n Roll Party`. 6.0.5-8. All BBC stations in the West & Southwest.
geoff barker, BBC West & South West

One of my greatest gigs ever was the Racketeers at the Claude one thursday night in 95 , Mickey on his Tele , Martin Ace on bass and Terry Williams on drums under the dart board! Tight wasn't the word for it and Mickey did 'Baby Please dont Go' at 100 miles an hour .Brilliant he will be missed by all who saw him.
Andy, Cardiff

A tragic loss. I saw him performing in a local hall in Rhiwbina with AFL years ago; brilliant. And he could often be seen strolling down to the Spar in Rhiwbina - a legend!
Richard, Rhiwbina, Cardiff

A legend and a gentleman. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.
Cranes Music, Cardiff

It's only recently I knew of Mickey Gee's musicial career. Through his work with Shakey and Edmunds.His music will live on. It's a pity he was a shy person compared to his American peers. His playing and style has not been "out there" in the press. I'm a music fan who has become a music librarian - I quest to collect lesser known artists as well as the well known. I have a mission, to collect Mickey Gee's work. Wales recently have lost two great guitarists - Mickey and Tich! Long live the guitar.
Dan "bach" Griffiths, Aberystwyth

an outstanding guitarist,mickey could play anything and make it look so easy!he was a pleasure to watch and listen sad to hear he has gone.
robert ovens, tredegar gwent

Mickey's playing was an inspiration to many and I for one would never have picked up a guitar had it not been for his infectious and slick playing. I was fortunate enough to thank him in person for that and for the pleasure he has given the many who have watched and admired his playing.
Steve Oz of Red Alert, Tredegar, Wales

I saw Mickey play a couple of times, at the notorious Victoria Hotel, (or The Vic, as it was known) in Barry. He was jaw droppingly good both times, squeezing the ultimate in twanging technique, from his Telecaster. Sad to hear of his demise.

Ashley, Barry

We both used to work in Sams Bar in Cardiff and saw Mickey play on many occassions, especially in the "old Sam's" before it was refurbished. He was a very gentle guy and would always sit and have a drink with us at the end of the night. Those were the days! Our thoughts are with his family and close friends.
Ceri and Sian Andrews, Cardiff

Check out "Pick axe rag" on the b-side of Dave Edmunds' "Born to be with you" single, a duo piece with Micky Gee, it shows exactly what's been talked about here.
Mark Grout, Reading

For the full Gee experience see the dvd Carl Perkins and Friends, A Rockabilly Session. For a concise, imaginative solo, hear Marie Marie, single by Shakin' Stevens.
Dick Owen, Blaenllechau

So good to see so many comments here. I also have only become aware of Mickey Gee in the past couple of years, although he played with Shakin' Stevens when I saw them in the early 80's but I was only 8 years old! He was a true musical genius and I'm so sad that I won't get to see him play live again. I agree with a lot of the comments - he did not get the recognition he deserved and the BBC should definitely re-run Still Rockin' as a tribute.
Claire Robinson, Bristol

Mickey was world class and deserves far more recognition. I was lucky enough to see him play with Dave Edmunds a few times, I think with Geraint Watkins on piano - just fantastic. Catch him on the Carl Perkins and Willie and Poor Boys DVDs - magic.
Mick in Walthamstow, London, London

A pleasure to have known you, R.I.P micky. TONY TOKAI.
tony tokai, cardiff

This is very sad news. I was lucky enough to have seen Mickey with Shaky back in the day ,just a great great guitar player. I'm still trying to get those rolls on This Ole House solo! R.I.P Mickey
John Higgins, Belfast N.Ireland

A very sad loss to all who knew him but people are all saying what a brilliant guitarist he was, does that mean they can't spell Wizard? because that is how I wil always remember him The Wizard with a Telecaster. He could even make a mistake look brilliant. He played with My cousin on numerous occasions. No one will ever forget him playing with DAVE EDMUNDS either it was a real pleasure to watch and listen as they played they became one. Rest in peace Mickey and dont wake them angels up at the pearly gates with your amazing rockabilly riffs.
Barrie Evans, Barry Island South Wales

So so sad. Knew Mickey through his Shaky days and such a gent too. Those memorable riffs were unique to him. Many have tried to copy and failed. A one off that will be sadly missed.
Graham Chambers, Northumberland

Micky was a world class guitar picker but more importantly he was a modest, gentle guy. we will all miss him.
al burston, pontypool wales

Mickey was a world class guitar player. I saw him playing a Fender Japan Squier Telecaster, straight into a Sessionette transistor guitar combo, no guitar pedals or FX, absolutely the best live sound I've ever heard. Lloyd.
LLOYD, Cardiff

A very sad loss to all who knew him but people are all saying what a brilliant guitarist he was, does that mean they can't spell Wizard? because that is how I wil always remember him The Wizard with a Telecaster. He could even make a mistake look brilliant. He played with My cousin on numerous occasions. No one will ever forget him playing with DAVE EDMUNDS either it was a real pleasure to watch and listen as they played they became one. Rest in peace Mickey and dont wake them angels up at the pearly gates with your amazing rockabilly riffs.
Barrie Evans, Barry Island South Wales

Very,very sad news.Micky was a very honest and passionate person who we are proud to have had as a wonderful friend for over 40 years.He was a great musician and a fabulous singer.One extremely funny,intelligent and interesting man who was always entertaining company.Along with Tich Gwilliam we have lost two world class friends and musicians.Love and peace always. Craig & Colin.
craig burton (bass)& colin roberts (drums), cardiff u.k.

A sad day! A legend who had a great feel and passion for his guitar playing! I saw him many times, always excellent! always very exiting! R.I.P. Mickey!
vivlock, Cardiff

I am very proud to have known Mickey, he was a gentleman and always had plenty of time for others especially musicians at all levels. Last time I seen mickey was a 1 to 1 jamming session at Cardiff Yacht Club not so long ago, along with his very best friend Kenny Short who will I'm sure miss him. He will always live on as a Welsh Wizard who could never be replaced or forgotten.
Warren, Newport/Cardiff

Sunday lunch sessions at the Royal Oak, Brains SA straight out of the barrel, Mickey Gee's brilliant guitar work and the incomparable Tich Gwilym. It doesn't get much better!! A sad loss
Peter Ducie, Perth, Western Australia

I first met Micky in Gamblins Pianos, City Rd, demoing guitars in the basement on Saturdays That was nearly 50 years ago. World class at that time and he got better if that is possible, but he did. We both had a great appreciation of the Chet Atkins style of playing, but only Chet and Micky got it right. Micky also played every style of music better than the best, but when you come to Rock' n' Roll! The only think I can say is, if Eddie Cochran had one extra verse in his song 'Something Else' the line would read 'He's a sure fine picker man he's Something Else' Micky Gee. The Ultimate guitar player. Sadly missed. Gary Waghorn. See you in heaven.
gary waghorn, abercynon,wales

I witnessed Mickey Gees's talent in Cardiff. What a master he was! Few could or indeed will, match him. Goodbye Mickey - your memory will go on!
Andrew J. Carden, Kingsbridge, Devon

RIP mickey what a musician he was. many happy hours spend around the cardiff music scene watch this guy play a sad loss
anne, uk

i had the great pleasure of knowing micky for 10 years and had the pleasure of playing a number with him in the sully inn a number of years ago and he played for my son mark at his 18th birthday party at the cogan hotel he will be missed our thoghts are with you and your family A LEGEND he maybe gone but his music is still here for us to enjoy forever mark greenwood
mark greenwood, cardiff

I think we should all petition BBC Wales to show Still Rockin' on St David's Day which is ten or eleven years after it was first shown, as a fitting tribute to Mickey and Welsh rock music talent......
Adam, Cardiff

We saw Mickey play in Liz Macpherson's kitchen in 2003. Such a pleasure, Mickey. So unassuming. You will be sadly missed. God Bless....
Jan, penarth

I will allways miss you my friend, you had such an infectious laugh, and I will allways remember the good times we had together
Neil jones, . Cardiff

To think i will never see Mickey play live again is so sad. My dad had been friends with Mickey for many years and was in his last band the Sneakers. Always felt on a high after watching him play, His guitar would play in my mind for days after. Fond memories of our trip's to and from gigs sitting next to him talking about his Rock & Roll days and life. He was Cool,Funny, Interesting and just a (little sensitive).... ha Thankyou for sharing your musical genius with us Mic, We will never forget you. Wales has lost a legend and my dad and i have lost a friend. R.I.P
Amber Burton Nichols ( craig burton's daughter), cardiff

I remember an early 60s gig at,what was then Llandaff Tech in Western Avenue, when towards the end, Micky who was in the audience, for some long forgotten reason jumped on to the stage and took over guitar duties. I mentioned this to him a while back-he couldn't remember it. Mick,as so many people here have stated, you were a modest, unassuming guy and you could "Play that guitar like ringing a bell". We'll meet again amigo...look out for me.

Andy Thompson, Cardiff

another sad loss to the musicans of wales. had entertained many many people over the many a good small venue ie the oak to name but one tich another to have gone recently i hope that they have both inspired the many up and coming guitarist that have drunk beer and danced and listend to them...sad loss .......keep rocking..
dogbite un helen, cardiff//pembrokeshire

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