With the soul of a bluesman, Hugh Gaskins has drawn from a lifetime of varied influences and embraced a diversity of genres in his own music, an "American fusion" of sorts. An eclectic tapestry of rock, blues, rockabilly, country, cowboy blues – call it what you want – you'll hear a little of it all… and it goes down like aged whiskey – with more than just a little kick.
"It happens whether you want it to or not, chosen or unchosen, and it's the best thing this country does - a fusion of diverse cultures. Like it or not, it goes on and is most obvious in the music: jazz, blues, gospel, cajun, zydeco, Tex-Mex, bluegrass, C&W, rockabilly, and an endless list of others with a common thread running through them all. Along these lines, nothing represents this idea better than the sight and sound of a young Elvis. I say young because that's when the black and the white of the man was still good and confused, mixed up in a way that could make you whole."
Hugh has been a part of the San Diego music scene since the seventies as both a busy solo performer and in bands such as Street Noise and Santa Fe Blues Line. In early 2006, Hugh joined forces with bass man Charlie Gordon and drummer Dan Renwick to form The Hugh Gaskins Band, later to be renamed the G String Daddies.
Gordon's jazz sensibilities and Renwick's rock background bleed into the Gaskins mix to produce a tight, crisp sound, but with a feel and musicality that moves and breathes. They cover a broad cut of the musical spectrum, and though they do a lot of Gaskins originals, no one is safe from having their work covered with the GSD stamp firmly affixed. From Johnny Cash to Jimmy Reed, Robert Johnson to the Rolling Stones, Elvis to Alvin Lee and a whole bunch in between, the band coalesces around the essence of a song, but takes it on a ride to a different part of town...
Hugh Gaskins - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
Charlie Gordon - Bass Guitar
Dan Renwick - Drums
"Workin' At The Booby Trap" - received Best Album nomination - 2012 San Diego Music Awards!
"Big Legged Woman" - received Best Album nomination - 2008 San Diego Music Awards!
Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies released their first CD, "Big Legged Woman" in early 2008 and their second effort, Workin' At The Booby Trap in 2012. Click on the "Audio" tab to hear samples.
To date, Hugh has also released two solo CDs - "Hughmanity" and "Motel Angels" - and one collaborative effort, "Back on Track".
CD Review - "Workin' At The Booby Trap"
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The artwork on blues rockers Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies’ new disc makes mention of their ...The artwork on blues rockers Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies’ new disc makes mention of their dual affection for both the article of apparel and the fat, unwound third treble string on a blues guitar. In a pentatonic “box” scale, a hard-working blues rocker will probably hit, bend, slide, and shake G the most.
Workin’ at the Booby Trap is the new CD by Gaskin and his crew. He has been on the local blues scene since the ‘70s and his five discs since 2001 include Big Legged Woman in 2008, with the G String Daddies lineup. It’s a power trio: Gaskins writes, sings, and plays guitars (as well as the rare keyboards); Charlie Gordon (bass) and Dan Renwick (drums) are the rhythm section. There 15 tracks here, nearly all of them fast and dirty, blues-based rock. Gaskins gets props for trying some style shifts within the genre, but there aren’t many attempts at subtlety or nuance.
Within a few tracks, a few things are clear: Gaskins does a lot with what God gave him as a vocalist, with some Elvis and Eric Burdon influences. And, while he isn’t a head-chopping guitar god either, he has plenty of licks up his sleeve; his clean lines fill out the power trio sound and take good advantage of Renwick’s strong beat. While the mix sounds a bit murky and crowded, it’s perfect for the Daddies’ sledgehammer groove.
“‘56 Ford,” “You Can Tell She’s an Angel (from the ink down her sleeves),” and the title tune are straight-ahead rockers about the femme fatales of the car and biker-bar world. Gaskins delivers “Ford” using Detroit-iron sexual metaphors, while “Workin’ at the Booby Trap” hustles along, telling about his baby, the chorus line dancer. This tune has a winning guitar hook behind the beat on the chorus, a disc highlight. “You Got the Devil Goin’ On” is a another standout track with the best Gaskins vocal here, with echoes of Billy Idol and the Big E himself.
Not everything works – “Let Go the Dream” and the similar “You Can Never Go Home Again” attempt to back off the throttle with rockabilly ballads; they aren’t bad but come off bland, and the 58-minute disc has its share of filler. More interesting is the pedal to the metal “Nothin’ but a Smile Boogie,” with minor “four and five” chords in an otherwise straight-up 12-bar boogie. ZZ Top doesn’t play it like this, but it gives the tune sort of a Gaskins sound.
A different rockabilly shuffle, “Pretty Baby Come On,” has honkytonk electric keyboards and more of Gaskins in Elvis mode, a break from the blustering rockers and power ballads. He reaches into the Animals/Yardbirds ‘60s Brit Blues toolbox for “Do Not Go Gentle in the Night,” the riffs are familiar, the tune overblown, but it is still a fun listen. So is the charging “Broken Bird.”
Workin’ at the Booby Trap is blue-collar power trio music served straight up, offering raw energy and succeeding on its own terms.
CD Review - "Big Legged Woman"
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Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies Big Legged Woman Hugh Gaskins has the hard egg sound of ...Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies
Big Legged Woman
Hugh Gaskins has the hard egg sound of a musician who has been boiling in the life of a working man. That is because he has. This edge, combined with the talents of the G String Daddies: Charlie Gordon on bass, Dan Renwick on drums, and Steve Piccus on harmonica makes for quite the whiskey roller coaster ride. This is blues fusion with a Bob Seger-esque rock ethic. There are 17 tracks and 5 are cover songs (Johnny Cash, Lead Belly, etc.) so there is plenty of blues here. The music has more depth than much of the decipherable lyrical content, and Hugh Gaskins’ vocals shine most when he indulges in scat.
-Andrew Napoli, Reviewer Magazine
CD Review - "Big Legged Woman"
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Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies Big Legged Woman Written by Allen Singer WARNING: This ...Hugh Gaskins and the G String Daddies
Big Legged Woman
Written by Allen Singer
WARNING: This CD contains vast amounts of juvenile testosterone and numerous misogynistic dreams.
Once again Hugh Gaskins and his renamed band, the G String Daddies, have produced Big Legged Woman, a throbbing, pulsating, middle-aged blues/rockabilly CD of missed opportunities, sexual innuendo, and horny dreams. The song titles reek of lusty fantasies and missed opportunities. These boys can rock, play blues, and tweak hillbilly sounds with hints of Marty Robbins as they revisit old chestnuts like Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," June Carter Cash's "Ring of Fire," and Frankie Laine's hit, "Ghost Riders in the Sky." Just reading the back of the CD tells you what you're in store for: "boys-will-be-boys" lyrics in a hormone-driven send-up of male egos complete with guitars and a backbeat. Titles like "G-String Blues," "Big Legged Woman," "Prelude to Panties," and "Panties on the Dashboard" make this CD read like a copywriter gone rock at Victoria's Secret.
Deep down in the musical core of this male fantasy-driven CD, you'll find a solid band of musicians who, as kids, probably scared their neighbors when practicing in their families' garages and have played every smoke-filled joint in this town. Gaskins and the G String Daddies have clearly scoped out the territory and tasted all the fantasies they've sung about on this in-your-face recording. There are no illusions here, maybe a delusion or two, with hints of knowing the game, which is mostly bravado driven by Viagra chemistry. This is a nonstop tribute to the first reasons these G String Daddies plugged in, got it on, banged the drums, and lusted for the rock ‘n'roll lifestyle.
Gaskins' musical heartbeat shows up in the rhythm part of all the songs on this CD, which sounds like it could have come right out of the 1950s. If you really listen, you'll hear the ghosts of Presley, Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Cash at Sun Records and the countless, faceless others who sang their hearts out in southern jukes and Chicago blues joints.
Big Legged Woman is another of Gaskins' CDs, full of dreams fed by late night car rides into your fantasies – where you bounced along in your father's 1956, top down, love machine, two-door Chevy, going to lover's lane submarine races, fueled by girl lust and dreamy nights that had you wishing for more. The National Organization of Women won't be putting this CD on their musical Hit Parade, but they may find it hard to resist tapping their toes once or twice. This solid, up front, tongue-in-cheek disc revisits what rock ‘n' roll was invented for – namely good times, macho boasting, chasing girls, driving your parents bonkers, and being a star in your own fantasy garage band.
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Thirty years ago when the heat of youth combined with the energy and declarative power of his style,...Thirty years ago when the heat of youth combined with the energy and declarative power of his style, Gaskins "coulda been a contendah". To make up for lost time, he now has three CD's out, ("Hughmanity", "Motel Angels", and "Back On Track"), making up for a fraction of a music life expressed mostly in the obscurity of dives and bars during cracks in the routine of a work-a-day daddy. The good side and the smoky side of this kind of music life (music in the cracks) is that the power and energy can not be contained forever and will break out because of, and in spite of the blues of it all.
"Yeah, I've got a CD now, twenty years after. Meanwhile, I just talked to an eleven year old kid the other day who is on his third CD. It's the era of personalized music CD's. They're like cell phones and everybody seems to have one. But, if nothing else there's an energy and undertow here, especially in the blues based stuff, which you should hear straight off."
"Hughmanity (The Blues Alone)" - Gaskins is alone and low-tech, on acoustic guitar, acoustic bottle neck slide, harmonica, electric lead guitar, ("with no effects other than reverb, all you would have gotten out of a little Kay amp forty years ago!"). This stuff is a fusion of blues styles with rockabilly and mountain music influences thrown in and a return to early influences such as gospel, Elvis, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Big Joe Williams etc. The other recording, "Motel Angels", is a melding of these influences with country, "Cal-Mex" and other sounds that came in between.
On Influences and Impressions - "My earliest memory is of singing 'Just a Little Talk with Jesus' in the front of the congregation of The Faith Tabernacle, a little church on what was then a country highway in New Bern, North Carolina. I remember being in a pew with my Grandma, a mother of fourteen (who is almost one hundred years old today) clapping and singing these gospel tunes. Now throw in Elvis on a black and white TV, an uncle or two singing somethin' about 'big legged woman, big legged woman put your dress tail down' or 'a wreck on the highway', my mom and dad singing behind the glass in some little radio station in the sticks, and these are some of the earliest musical impressions that come to me right off."
"Later, some of my family - cousins, aunts and uncles - stuffed in old Fords and Chevys, migrated 3,000 miles across the country to California. It was somewhere there, I guess, that the "Cal-Mex" thing (as opposed to Tex-Mex) filtered through on the wide band radio. It came not like the country blues, which came almost like memory, but like an immediate attraction - drifting in like a hot breeze in the night, through the open windows of a car on a desert highway. In the early 70's I played the bars in Mission Beach and all the free jams I could find down the beach alleys. Bare backed guys in faded blue jeans danced on the rooftops surrounding blocked off alleys while beach sunsets silhouetted and shone through the loose granny dresses of young women shakin' the shingles down!"
On who is listening - "Surprisingly for me, it's not my own generation necessarily. The people who approach me and respond to what I'm doing in the clubs now are in their early to late twenties. I find them open, generous and gracious in ways my own generation was not. Anybody over thirty was suspect with us, (we cut off whole worlds that way).
On American Fusion - "It happens whether you want it to or not, chosen or unchosen, and it's the best thing this country does - a fusion of diverse cultures. Like it or not, it goes on and is most obvious in the music: jazz, blues, gospel, cajun, zydeco, Tex-Mex, bluegrass, C&W, rockabilly, and an endless list of others. It just goes on. Along these lines nothing represents this idea better than the sight and sound of a young Elvis. I say young because that's when the black and the white of the man was still good and confused, mixed up in a way that could make you whole."
From the Drummer's Point of View
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One of the most gratifying aspects of what we do is the wide ranging appeal it seems to have – from ...One of the most gratifying aspects of what we do is the wide ranging appeal it seems to have – from bikers and bad-asses to cougars and co-eds to little old ladies and little kids. We have devout fans in their 70s and 80s and we seem to blow the minds of kids in their teens and twenties who didn’t know that three old guys could rock that hard. We’ve played outdoor gigs where families walk by and the little kids just stop dead in their tracks five feet in front of the stage with their eyes like saucers and their legs moving to the beat almost involuntarily.
We had a guy come up to us one time and tell us how much his whole family loved our album so much and that his eight year old daughter listened to it every night before she went to sleep. I guess that’s when the lawyer in me came out because my first response was “We’re not responsible for any future therapy sessions she might require”.
Hugh likes to talk about how fusion is what Americans do best – in music and everything else, and we like to think that’s what sets us apart a little from some of the great straight ahead blues bands and rockabilly outfits in town. We’ve got a front man in Hugh who is rooted in blues and rockabilly but adds a Latin/Spanish/Flamenco flair that’s not often heard. We’ve got a bass man in Charlie who adds a distinct jazz sensibility to a rock solid backbeat and a drummer with an unmistakable rock background who likes to be heard.
It wasn’t planned that way – actually just the opposite. When I first joined up with Hugh, he was playing mostly an acoustic guitar with an upright bass player doing straight rockabilly and blues – a bit restrained from a drumming standpoint, especially for a guy that grew up emulating John Bonham. It was an adjustment, but I enjoyed it. After a few gigs though, the upright player became unavailable for regular work and we were introduced to Charlie, who showed up with an electric bass and an attitude, and I say that in a good way. There was an immediate connection and synergy. I was freed up to step out a bit more on the drums and Hugh started showing a side I had never seen before with a searing electric guitar attack to augment his signature slide work. We still did the rockabilly blues thing but with more of an edge, in the style of a power trio.
We did mostly Gaskins originals but began doing some more covers (rock & roll, blues, country, cowboy songs – whatever) and we made an immediate decision. We thought it was pointless to try and sound like the artist who made a song famous and a disservice to those who wanted to hear it that way, so we decided that we would take a great song and do it our way – apologize to the purists – and then make it our own.
We have a habit of trying things on stage that we’ve never practiced before – something will pop into Hugh’s head and he’ll throw a riff or two, maybe tell us what we’re gonna play, maybe not – and we’ll just go. See where it leads. Once in awhile it’ll be a train wreck, usually it’s pretty cool, and sometimes it’s an absolute thing of beauty – three guys that have been in each other’s heads so often that we know what the other guy’s gonna do before he does. Some might see us as a little undisciplined, but we value the raw energy, emotion and spontaneity more than perfection. Our sound is tight and crisp, but it’s also free to move and breathe and that’s the way we like it.
We’re the G String Daddies and damn proud of it.
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"...a mean and gritty American roots band. With its signature slide guitar attack, Gaskins and the ..."...a mean and gritty American roots band. With its signature slide guitar attack, Gaskins and the Daddies will kidnap you for the set and won't let you go until they have rocked you, socked you and left you beggin' for more..."
"... Gaskins edge, combined with the talents of the G String Daddies: Charlie Gordon on bass and Dan Renwick on drums, makes for quite the whiskey roller coaster ride. This is blues fusion with a Bob Seger-esque rock ethic..."
"These boys can rock... a solid band of musicians who, as kids, probably scared their neighbors when practicing in their families' garage and have played every smoke-filled joint in this town..."
~San Diego Troubadour
While our CD releases (and sample clips on this site) are primarily original music, our live performances are flexble and tailored to the specific audience or event, and can consist of mostly cover songs or mostly originals, depending on the wishes of the venue.
Our song list below covers '50s, '60s and '70s rock, blues, rockabilly and even a little country.
Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones
Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
It's All Over Now - Rolling Stones
The Last Time - Rolling Stones
Paint It Black - Rolling Stones
I Saw Her Standing There - Beatles
Twist and Shout - Beatles
Birthday – Beatles
I Feel Fine – Beatles
Statesboro Blues - Allman Brothers
Midnight Rider - Allman Brothers
Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin
Bad Company - Bad Company
Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
That's Alright Mama - Elvis Presley
Love Me - Elvis Presley
Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley
One Night - Elvis Presley
It Hurts Me Too - Eric Clapton
Before You Accuse Me - Eric Clapton
Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger
Johnny B Good - Chuck Berry
Tobacco Road - Edgar Winter, Animals
Stealin' - Uriah Heap
Gloria - Van Morrison
Feelin' Alright - Joe Cocker
Tush - ZZ Top
Jesus Just Left Chicago - ZZ Top
Blue Jean Blues - ZZ Top
Ice Cream Man - Van Halen
Rock This Town - Stray Cats
Alright Now - Free
Goin’ Home - Alvin Lee & Ten Years After
Good Morning Little School Girl - Alvin Lee & Ten Years After
Black Magic Woman - Peter Green
Unchained Melody - Righteous Bros
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
409 - Beachboys
Standing On Shaky Ground - Delbert McClinton
Goin’ Down - Jeff Beck
Bring It On Home To Me - Sam Cooke
Leftovers - Joe Bonamassa
Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett
Fever - Ray Charles
Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
Unchain My Heart - Ray Charles, Joe Cocker
Come A Little Bit Closer - Jay & the Americans
Run Around Sue - Dion
Singin' The Blues - Marty Robbins
Miserlou - Dick Dale
Big Boss Man - Jimmy Reed
Apache - The Ventures
Run Away - Del Shannon
Linin' Track - pd (public domain)
Walkin' Shoes - pd
This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
Rollin' and Tumblin' - pd
Ghost Riders In The Sky - Sons of the Pioneers
Ruby, Ruby - Dion
Be Bop A Lula - Gene Vincent
Train To Nowhere - Savoy Brown
Love In Vain - Robert Johnson
Move It On Over - Hank Williams
Shake Rattle and Roll - Big Joe Turner
Baby Please Don't Go - John Lee Hooker
Shake Your Money Maker - pd
Sweet Home Chicago - pd
Every Married Woman - pd
Miss Brown - Taj Mahal
Six Days On The Road - Dave Dudley
Welfare Blues -pd
Ball and Chain - Big Mama Thornton
House of the Rising Sun - Animals
Wicked Game - Chris Isaac
Heartbreaker - Grand Funk Railroad
Thrill Is Gone - B.B. King
Rock Me Baby - B.B. King
Find Another Man - Righteous Bros.
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
All Along The Watchtower - Bob Dylan
He'll Have To Go - Jim Reeves
Corina - pd
Wine, Wine - pd
Cotton Fields -
Lil’ Richard Medley
Start It Up - Robin Ford
You Got The Devil Goin’ On
Let Go The Dream
Workin’ At The Booby Trap
Rose Burns To Blue
You Can Tell She’s An Angel (From The Ink All Down Her Sleeves)
Nothin’ But A Smile Boogie
You Never Go Home Again
Pretty Baby Come Home
Dreamin’ On Like A Promise
Do Not Go Gentle In The Night
Take Me Down
I Ain't Mad
Big In Japan
Long Gone Mama
G String Blues
Panties On The Dash
Big Legged Woman
Last Of The Fire
Let Me In
Silhouette In Your Door
Motel La Diabla
A Little Bit Of Heaven
Beer For The Drummer
There are no upcoming dates at this time.