Chalmers Alford

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Chalmers "Spanky" Alford
Birth nameChalmers Edward Alford
Born(1955-05-22)May 22, 1955
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMarch 24, 2008(2008-03-24) (aged 52)
Huntsville, Alabama
GenresBlues, gospel, neo-soul
Years active1960s–2008
Associated actsThe Soultronics, John Mayer, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Joss Stone, Bee Gees, Raphael Saadiq, Mary J. Blige, Roy Hargrove, D'Angelo, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, The RH Factor, 2Pac

Chalmers Edward "Spanky" Alford (May 22, 1955 – March 24, 2008)[1] was an American jazz guitarist. Alford was born in Philadelphia. He was well known for his playing style and use of arpeggiations. He had an illustrious career as a gospel quartet guitar player in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s with groups such as the Mighty Clouds of Joy.

Later in life, he found a new career in the neo-soul movement of the 1990s and 2000s, most notably contributing to the sounds of D'Angelo and Tony Toni Toné. Alford played guitar as part of The Soultronics (D'angelo's band for his 2000 "Voodoo" tour), alongside Questlove, James Poyser, Pino Palladino, and Anthony Hamilton. He was a teacher, and was credited with teaching Raphael Saadiq among others to play guitar. He played on several albums with artists such as Joss Stone, John Mayer, Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq, D'Angelo and Roy Hargrove.[2]

Though he retired from touring years prior, Alford made a rare public appearance performing with the John Mayer Trio as a surprise guest on September 26, 2005, during their stop in Nashville, Tennessee. It is his last known public performance. Audio from the show eventually ended up on the Trio's only official release, a compilation of performances from the tour called Try!, appearing on the title track at the end of the album.

Alford died in March 2008, at the age of 52, in Huntsville, Alabama due to complications from diabetes.[3]


As sideman/guest


  1. ^ " North Alabama News, Radar, Weather, Sports and Jobs |Valley musician dies". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
  2. ^ Chalmers "Spanky" Alford on MSN Music
  3. ^ Greenman, Ben. "Heavenly Sounds". New Yorker. Retrieved 12 April 2018.