An obvious follow-up to Roy Buchanan: another Telecaster master with mind-boggling technique, not very well-known outside the circles of those who are specifically interested in electric guitar. Like Buchanan, he was even called "the world's greatest unknown guitarist." He was also nicknamed "The Humbler" in reference to the way other players felt about him. Sadly, also like Buchanan, he took his own life.
I've only heard one of his albums, 88 Elmira St. To tell the truth, it's really not that great, as an album: a hodge-podge of miscellaneous styles and compositions, including, for instance, the theme song from The Simpsons. But no matter what the material, as soon as the basic presentation is out of the way and Gatton just starts playing, it's fantastic. Here, for instance, is something only older people and relatively young hipsters would recognize: "Quiet Village," from a 1957 album by Martin Denny, Exotica, which included Hollywood-ish Latin and "tropical" sounds, including bird songs and other sound effects. No doubt considered very sophisticated in its day, and laughable a decade or so later, it and similar recordings had a semi-ironic vogue ten years or so ago, which for all I know is still in progress.
And here's a live version of another tune which appears on the Elmira St. album, the Beach Boys' "In My Room." The sound quality's not that great, but it's good enough for you to appreciate his playing.
And another live recording, of not so great but adequate sound quality: the '50s classic "Sleepwalk." It's apparently been edited, as you'll note a reference to an unheard saxophone solo.
One thing that really strikes me about both Gatton and Buchanan is the almost total absence of theatrics in their live performances. They just stand there and play: no flailing, no jumping, no striking of macho poses, no simulated sex with the guitar, which is held at a height for accessibility rather than sexuality. Of course neither of them would have done very well at trying to play the Lizard King rock star role, had they wanted to try, but I don't get the impression that they wanted to.