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So I'm gonna ask you to clap in rhythm. Don't become afraid. We know that old saying. I didn't ask you if you could play basketball, I just said clap in rhythm - Jerry Ricks, Saturday evening concert, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Otto Virgial  (Read 4237 times)

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Offline jostber

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Otto Virgial
« on: August 01, 2008, 01:26:44 PM »
Otto Virgial (or Virgil?) is a great early blues artist that recorded four tunes in 1925. Anyone know more about him? And why do he sings two songs about Rome?

http://www.document-records.com/fulldetails.asp?ProdID=DOCD-5682

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2008, 01:35:28 PM »
He's close to an utter mystery. Recorded four sides in Chicago on Halloween, 1935, for the Bluebird label. Songs indicate a Delta artist with knowledge of Charley Patton. (His ?Bad Notion Blues? lifts verses from the better-known singer.) The "Rome" he sings about is probably Rome, Mississippi. One might speculate that it's his hometown, but he also sings: "Got the blues about Rome, but Rome is not my home." So who knows...?
Jeff

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 12:20:09 AM »
FWIW when some of these titles were first reissued on a Mamlish LP in 1972 sleeve note writer Mike Stewart had this to say about them:

"Information on Otto Virgial is even more scarce than the fugitive recordings he made in 1935. Playing in E on both selections, Virgial is instantly recognizable as a delta artist. Bad Notion Blues indeed lifts verses, runs and facets associated with Charlie Patton. In his picking style, he is literally "all over the guitar", picking virtually any amd all strings with any and all fingers. Like Patton and Bukka White, he has the style of knocking on the guitar in rhythm with his playing. Even more frantic and dazzling in its rhythmic approach is Little Girl in Rome, reminiscent of Jaydee Short, the white Alfred G. Karnes, and (to some extent) Ed Bell. The complexity of the guitar work here precludes the possibility of unusual chordal structure or elaborate melodic lead. Instead we hear the results of elaborate and full right hand picking, augmented by picking as well as merely fretting by the left hand. In the key of E natural, Virgial uses a left-hand approach identifiable with Furry Lewis, Patton and George Torey."

The person reviewing it for Blues Unlimited made the tentative suggestion that Rome, Mississippi was the place in question.

Offline jostber

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2008, 03:05:31 PM »
If you should have some in your stock... ;)

http://www.ralphdeluca.com/web/Otto-Virgial-old-blues-artists


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2010, 12:14:14 AM »
Stefan has recently added the 'mysterious' Otto to his discographies http://www.wirz.de/music/virgifrm.htm perhaps one day somebody will turn up information. In 1970 Bob Groom did write a two page feature for his Blues World magazine but from memory it was mainly an examination of the lyrics attempting to extrapolate from those who he might have been and from whence he came. Regrettably, my copy of that issue went AWOL from the set in 1990.

Offline jostber

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2010, 03:38:39 AM »
Great! Thanks for that link. Would love to see that article you refer to.


Offline LD50

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 04:14:33 PM »
Gayle Wardlow confirmed it was Rome, Mississippi -- in 78 Quarterly he said that when he went there, locals remembered Virgial living there in the 1930s.

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Otto Virgial
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2010, 11:12:47 AM »
He sounds more like Hill Country to me
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

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