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Author Topic: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953  (Read 300 times)

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Offline cjblues04

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Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« on: August 19, 2021, 05:30:14 PM »
Was there a slew of factors that contributed to Tampa Red's mental health declining, and him becoming a major alcoholic in the mid 1950s? For some reason, just his wife passing away doesn't seem like enough. There had to have been something else to make him semi-permanently stop recording for the rest of his life. (He recorded again around 1961 for the last time.)

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2021, 05:55:56 PM »
From Early Blues - Jas Obrecht;

Approaching age fifty, Whittaker retired from the night life to
care for Frances, who had a serious heart condition. Tampa’s wife
was “mother and God to him both,” as Sunnyland Slim put it, and
her death in 1954 left Tampa a broken man. He quit performing
and escalated his drinking. Rumors of his erratic behavior began
to circulate, and for a while he was confined to a mental hospital.
“I got sick and had a nervous breakdown,” he explained, citing his
inability to refuse a drink as the cause.


Offline Johnm

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2021, 09:07:59 PM »
It seems a bit tough to be subjecting a person long since dead to uninformed speculation with regard to his mental/emotional state in the wake of the death of a loved one and conjecture with regard to his career choices (or anything else). For the great majority of musicians who stop recording, the reason for their stopping is simple enough--they stop being asked to record. How about a little respect for the privacy of a great musician who doesn't owe us anything in the way of explanations. 
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 09:34:18 AM by Johnm »

Offline blueshome

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2021, 01:28:44 AM »
Thanks John, I was going to use different words to say the same.
The OP seems to have, perhaps, less knowledge of both the history of  African Americans in the 20thC. and of of blues history than many of us here.

Offline cjblues04

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2021, 05:30:49 AM »
It seems a bit tough to be subjecting a person long since dead to uninformed speculation with regard to his mental/emotional state in the wake of the death of a loved one and conjecture with regard to his career choices (or anything else). For the great majority of musicians who stop recording, the reason for their stopping is simple enough--they stop being asked to record. How about a little respect for the privacy of a great musician who doesn't owe us anything in the way of explanations.

Ohhhh, okay. Thanks John for this well-crafted answer, this really didn't even cross my mind. Sorry for my pure ignorance.

Offline jostber

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2021, 10:14:19 PM »
These liner notes by Jim O'Neal from the 1975 double LP on RCA Bluebird with facts based on interview with Tampa Red give the details on this and Tampa's later recording years. It's interesting to read how much of a force he was in the 40's opening his home as a hub for a lot of the upcoming blues artists traveling from the south and all are referring to his kindness. In this way he might have been the most important Chicago blues man in the way that he helped so many artists find their way to make their own music careers.

http://bluesoterica.com/the-tampa-red-page



« Last Edit: August 22, 2021, 08:34:48 AM by jostber »

Offline Blues Vintage

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Re: Tampa Red's depression after wife's death in 1953
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2021, 03:33:44 PM »
Anybody knows what's happening with the Tampa Red book Jim O'Neal is writing?

Tags: Tampa Red 
 


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