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Steve LaVere R.I.P.

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I just got word from Mary Katherine Aldin via the PWBG that Steve LaVere has died.

Blues Vintage:
Kinda ironic that LaVere passed away a few months after McCormick died. One of the reasons McCormick?s book on Robert Johnson (Biography Of A Phantom) has never been published (+ the authentic third Robert Johnson photo) was his scare of litigation from LaVere. McCormick also tracked down Carrie Thompson (Robert Johnson's half sister) a year before LaVere did.

I think it's fair to say that the legacy of Robert Johnson would have been in better hands with McCormick at the command, who was the better writer and researcher.
You can just tell by the poorly written booklet that came with 1990 Sony/Columbia box-set.

Sorry to hear about Steve LaVere.


--- Quote from: harry on December 29, 2015, 03:36:10 AM ---Kinda ironic that LaVere passed away a few months after McCormick died.

--- End quote ---

Indeed -- just six weeks. Is it the curse of Robert Johnson? I was just reading Robert Gordon's 1991 article "The Plundering of Robert Johnson" which makes LaVere look very bad and McCormick merely eccentric. But without LaVere, would there even have been a RJ "renaissance"?

Suzy T:
This is not to address the Robert Johnson stuff in any way, more of a personal note:

I visited Steve LaVere twice, in spring of 1976 when I was 21 years old, during the most eventful period of my entire life when my future was being shaped in many different ways (some musical, some not). He was the first one who played me the music of the Mississippi Sheiks, which changed my arc as a fiddler, in a big way.  I always hoped to see him again, to thank him, but I never did. I emailed but never got a response.

Thinking about Steve LaVere reminds me of how much I personally - and so many other musicians too, especially those of a certain age - owe to the record collectors.  Some of them I visited, like Steve LaVere and Dick Spottswood, and the precious tapes I carried away from those visits changed my life ? giving me songs that remain the cornerstones of my repertoire nearly 40 years later.  Others, like Chris Strachwitz, I got to know well and have been lucky to work with for many decades.  And some, like Charles Faurot, were only names on the back of LPs that I listened to over and over and over and over again.

So, here?s to the record collectors! I know I sound like a geezer when I write this, but young people today, who have access to nearly everything at their fingertips, can?t quite understand how important the record collectors were. They opened the door into the arcane world of the old music and changed so many people?s lives.

Blues Vintage:


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