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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: Johnm on July 06, 2006, 11:49:43 PM

Title: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 06, 2006, 11:49:43 PM
Hi all,
For reasons I have never understood, the area around Atlanta in the 1920s abounded with 12-string-playing Country Blues musicians--Barbecue Bob, Blind Willie McTell, Charley Lincoln, Willie Baker and George Carter.  I was thinking a while ago that it might be interesting to compile a list of 12-string-playing Country Blues guitarists who were not from the Atlanta area, because it seemed that in other regions, 12-string guitars were pretty scarce.  I can think of a few--John Byrd, Leadbelly, Freddie Spruell.  Can you think of any others to add to the list?
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Yves on July 07, 2006, 01:17:59 AM
Hello John

I'm thinking about Lonnie Johnson in his early recordings (I love "I'll be glad when you're dead Uncle Ned")

So long

Yves
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: frankie on July 07, 2006, 04:09:48 AM
Charlie Kyle
Miles Pruitt (going from memory here - not sure)
Daddy Stovepipe was listed as playing a 12-string, but was pictured with a 9 string:

http://www.retrofret.com/products.asp?ProductID=2850&CartID=5339156112006

Are we limiting this to players who made a 78 using a 12-string?
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Gingergeezer on July 07, 2006, 07:43:20 AM
Rev. Gary Davis...? Later in his career, I know...does it still count?
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: btasoundsradio on July 08, 2006, 08:22:29 AM
John Byrd "Old Timbrook"
Freddy Spruell "Mississippi Bottom Man"
Bill Jackson "Long Steel Rail" album
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 08, 2006, 04:28:26 PM
Hi all,
I found another one:  Uncle Bud Walker, whose "Look Here Mama Blues" can be found on the old Yazoo compilation "Goin' Away Blues".
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Cambio on July 08, 2006, 05:56:50 PM
I'm not sure where he's from, but what about Louis Lasky?  I'm thinking of his Caroline, which seems to have influenced Big Bill on his "How You Want It Done?".  
Don't forget Snooks Eaglin.  He had a lot of great 12 string stuff that he recorded early in his career.
And Jesse 'Lone Cat' Fuller, who managed to handle the fotdella, harmonica, kazoo and high hat, as well as the 12 string.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: frankie on July 08, 2006, 08:58:30 PM
Jesse 'Lone Cat' Fuller

He was born in Georgia, though!  Must be something in the water.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: blueshome on July 09, 2006, 04:07:50 AM
There's a photo I've seen somewhere of Jim Jackson with a 12-string.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Alexei McDonald on July 09, 2006, 09:54:15 AM
Robert Lockwood
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: JohnnyHart on July 09, 2006, 12:04:28 PM
don't forget the great huddie ledbetter better know as leadbelly
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on July 10, 2006, 06:18:18 AM
Hi, John.  This is an interesting topic, especially if you just consider pre-war players, whose sources of musical influence and available selection of instruments would seem to have been somewhat more limited than those available to post-war players.  I thought about this a lot while working on my house this weekend.  I didn't come up with any new additions to the list, but I did come up with a few questions:

1.  Considering his residence in Atlanta and his usual playing partners (first Barbecue Bob, then Willie McTell), it's interesting that Curley Weaver never recorded with a 12-string.  Is there any evidence that he ever performed with one? 

2.  Were there any white 12-string players based in and around Atlanta?  Or any group of white 12-string players anywhere comparable to the black Atlanta 12-string players?  I have no idea, but a few of the regulars on this forum might.

3.  Considering the Mexican influence, it's surprising to me that there weren't more black 12-string players recorded from Texas.  Were there any white artists down there playing 12-string in the 20s and 30s?

4.  Where would one get a 12-string in the 20s and 30s?  Did they exist at all in music stores, at least in "major" cities, or would one have had to order one?  Did the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs carry them?  Obviously companies like Oscar Schmidt built 12-strings, but I have no idea how common the were in the world at large and whether they were distributed primarily to certain areas.

Sorry to pose so many questions without supplying any answers.   :)
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: uncle bud on July 10, 2006, 08:12:01 AM
I have always wondered whether Lane Hardin was playing a 12-string or if the sound is just an effect from tuning down.

Very interesting questions from dj, to which I have no answers but am curious to see if some appear.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Bunker Hill on July 10, 2006, 11:24:00 AM
Obviously companies like Oscar Schmidt built 12-strings, but I have no idea how common the were in the world at large and whether they were distributed primarily to certain areas.
They've certainly been around a while. Somewhere I have a 1960s book on the history of guitars and in that there's front and back photos of one in (I think) The Metropolitan Museum Of Art made in France in 1770ish. I'll have to locate this book but I seem to remember there's also pics of French 1600s 10-string guitars housed in a Vienna museum. But I'm a fish out of water on this subject so, having thrown in what is probably common knowledge to you all, I'll rapidly take my leave! ;D
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 11, 2006, 03:15:54 PM
Hi all,
I agree with Uncle Bud, you ask a lot of good questions, dj.  Re Curley Weaver, I don't know of any recordings by his buddies Fred McMullen and Buddy Moss on which they played twelve-string, either, and Peg Leg Howell never played a twelve-string, so even in Atlanta during that period, the choice of a 12-string was not unanimous. 
I can not think of a single Old-Time recording or Mountain Blues recording on which white players used 12-string guitars.  There certainly may be some--I just don't know of any.
Re Mexican use of the 12-string, I have always suspected that the melody for "Irene, Goodnight" came from Mexican musicians.  I have no real evidence for this, just the sound of the melody and being able to imagine it sung and harmonized as Texas musicians of Mexican descent of Leadbelly's era might have done it.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on July 11, 2006, 03:36:11 PM
John, you make a good point that the 12-string was by no means universal in Atlanta in the 20s and 30s, one that I have to keep in mind during my idle speculation.  I singled out Curley Weaver because I knew that his mother, Savannah "Dip" Weaver, taught the guitar to Curley and to both the Hicks brothers.  Considering the similarity of technique of Curley's songs in the "No No Blues" mold with those of Barbecue Bob and Charley Lincoln, I wondered if Dip Weaver might have been one of the roots of the Atlanta 12-string connection.  Which made me wonder two other things:  Did Curley Weaver forgo the 12-string because he was so often cast in the role of an accompanist to a 12-string player (first Robert Hicks, then Willie McTell)?  And, considering that Willie McTell's first recordings were done on a 6-string, did he take up the 12-string later due to the influence of Barbecue Bob or, possibly, of Curley Weaver (though certainly there's no similarity between McTell's playing style and that which we can construe to have been taught by dip Weaver)?

All of this is pure speculation with no basis in any fact, but it's the kind of stuff I wonder about when I should be working.   ;D
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 12, 2006, 04:12:02 PM
Hi all,
I just thought of another 12-string player not from Georgia:  Algia Mae Hinton.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: GhostRider on July 17, 2006, 05:51:45 AM
Hi:

Another 12 string player (who may be from Georgia?) is Ed Andrews-"Barrel House Blues".

Alex
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on July 17, 2006, 06:26:34 AM
Ed Andrews recorded in Atlanta.  Nothing is known of his biography.  As far as I can find, he wasn't remembered by anyone interviewed by blues researchers in Atlanta in the 1960s and 70s.  He may have been from Atlanta, but on the other hand he may not have been.  He certainly doesn't share anything stylistically with the other Atlanta 12-string players, though he reminds me a bit of Peg Leg Howell and his circle of musicians.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Bunker Hill on July 17, 2006, 10:01:00 AM
Ed Andrews recorded in Atlanta.  Nothing is known of his biography.  As far as I can find, he wasn't remembered by anyone interviewed by blues researchers in Atlanta in the 1960s and 70s.  He may have been from Atlanta, but on the other hand he may not have been.  He certainly doesn't share anything stylistically with the other Atlanta 12-string players, though he reminds me a bit of Peg Leg Howell and his circle of musicians.
This historical piece from elswhere on WC may, or may not, be of relevance/intertest
http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=100&topic=1869.msg14338;topicseen#msg14338
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on July 17, 2006, 03:28:45 PM
I'd forgotten about that thread.  Dang!  And I thought my Peg Leg Howell observation was original.   ;)
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 20, 2006, 03:06:03 PM
Hi all,
Another player who recorded some on a 12-string guitar and who was not from Georgia was Eugene Rhodes, originally from Kentucky, who was recorded by Bruce Jackson at the Indiana State Prison in the early '60s.  The recordings were released on the Folk Legacy label, and the record, "Talkin' About My Time" is on the Juke.  Rhodes is really fine singer and player, but I don't know that he was a twelve-string specialist.  He may have been playing a twelve-string guitar simply because that is what Bruce Jackson had for him to play.  His "Blues Leapin' From Texas" is an especially nice cut.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: framus12 on July 24, 2006, 01:06:04 PM
I have to add a couple to the list even if they got started as "folk scare" era players.
 Dave "snaker" Ray who sadly lost a fight with cancer back in 2002, he was an exceptional 12 string player and my personal favorite as a performer. It was only when I got hip to the weeniejuke that I had the opportunity to hear the originals of some tunes I first heard from hearing Mr. Ray perform them. I credit him for getting me intrested in country blues and picking up the guitar again.
The other is Spider John Koerner who is still performing part time in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. He really has his own sound and style.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on July 29, 2006, 07:33:16 AM
Hi all,
Since Frankie had noted early on in this thread that Jesse Fuller was from Georgia and there was a pre-existing Jesse Fuller thread elsewhere in the Main Forum, I took the posts from this thread that began to focus on Jesse Fuller and moved them over to his thread.  Sorry for any confusion this might have caused.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Rivers on August 02, 2006, 07:45:43 PM
Todd Cambio makes an interesting point on his Fraulini site http://www.fraulini.com/12string.html (thanks Todd, very enjoyable browsing). 12 string tended to be strong in areas where Italian migrants congregated.

Fascinated by this idea I googled like mad on "Atlanta", "Italian", "immigration" etc but no hard data emerged to explain why Georgia became a nexus for 12 string so I'm still wondering.

Apologies for turning this thread, "12-String Players NOT from Georgia", 180 degrees. But maybe, if Todd is correct, we'd understand where we might go looking for 12 string tendencies.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: fictioneer on August 04, 2006, 12:05:14 AM
A couple of others not mentioned as far as I can see:

Seth Richard, whom Bastin IDs as being from southern Virginia

Charlie Turner ("Kansas City Dog Walk") -- don't know where he was from but he doesn't sound very Atlanta to me.

unidentified, ?Dallas-based 12-string guitarist who appears on at least one side recorded in big D, 12/1927 (Lillian Glinn's "Brownskin Blues").  The same 3 musicians who backed Glinn may be the ones who are on some Gertrude Perkins tracks from this session but I haven't heard any of those.  DGR identify 2 of the sidemen but not the guitarist, whose style reminded me of Leadbelly's bass work.

Ken Burns' "Jazz" book has photo of an unknown New Orleans area band from c1910 featuring a 12-stringer.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Bunker Hill on August 04, 2006, 09:35:36 AM
Charlie Turner ("Kansas City Dog Walk") -- don't know where he was from but he doesn't sound very Atlanta to me.
Tony Russell wrote a two page examination of Charlie Turner and cohorts for Jazz Monthly (February 1969) which was entitled "The Kansas City Dog Walkers." I'll disinter said issue and see if there's anything relevant to report.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on August 04, 2006, 11:27:03 AM
Some nice catches there, fictioneer.  For those who may be interested, "Kansas City Dog Walk" and the Seth Richard sides are on the Juke. 

If Seth Richard is really the same person who recorded 15 years later as Skoodle-Dum-Doo, he'd abandoned the 12-string for a 6-string by 1943.

And since no new poster should go unwelcomed, and none of the regular greeters are around today, I hope I'm not out of line to say  welcome to Weenie Campbell, fictioneer.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Bunker Hill on August 04, 2006, 12:29:35 PM
If Seth Richard is really the same person who recorded 15 years later as Skoodle-Dum-Doo, he'd abandoned the 12-string for a 6-string by 1943.
FWIW when Bastin issued the Skoodle-Dum-Doo & Sheffield coupling on a Flyright compilation, Play My Juke Box (LP4711, 1976), he had this to say:

"Seth Richard probably made a number of sides in late 1943, for Regis and Manor, of which four were issued on scarce 78s. His pseudonym came from his 1928 Columbia recording of Skoodeldum Doo and was used for both his postwar issues. Nothing is known of either Richard or his obscure partner, Sheffield, but from these tracks it seems they were well acquainted with Newark, New Jersey. From their Regis issue of Tampa Blues, they may well have come originally from Florida and followed the regular southeastern migration route to New York."

Without referring to Stefan's Flyright page I think I'm correct in saying Bastin revamped the compilation as a CD in the 1990s - maybe there's newer information in his notes to that.

Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on August 04, 2006, 01:41:54 PM
"PLay My Jukebox" was indeed reissued on CD - Flyright CD 45 in 1992.  The notes were by Ray Templeton.  Here's what he had to say:

"When Skoodle-Dum-Doo & Sheffield recorded their four sides in 1943 (possibly in Newark, New Jersey), indigenous black music was about to enter one of its most significant periods of change and development.  Skoodle-Dum-Doo appears to have been a pseudonym for Seth Richard, who recorded for Columbia under his own name in 1928, and these rough, vital, ragtime-inflected blues records could easily have been recorded at a much earlier date.  Despite the fact that "West Kinney" is a cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "One Dime Blues", and that some of the guitar playing (as Paul Oliver has observed) shows Lonnie Johnson's influence, these performances recognisably belong to a tradition that flourished in the Southeastern states in the decade or more before the war."
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: HarryL on August 19, 2006, 02:22:21 PM
From Howard (Louie Bluie) Armstrong, I learned that a musician from Knoxville, TN,  Joe Evans was a 12-string player.  I googled him and came up with a few CDs none of which I have.  I believe I heard some of his recordings, but they didn't sound like a 12-string.

The interesting thing:  Howard told me that Joe Evans came up with the guitar licks that were used so often by Howard's guitarist and that were the foundation for the song:  Crow Jane.    Joe's version was actually a song with lyrics that Joe called:  Good Morning Judge.  This was composed probably in the early 1920s.  I believe there are recordings of Howard singing Good Morning Judge, and I have recorded Howard playing this song on 12-string. 

We 12-string players have a limited number of true 12-string songs.  As some of you know, most six string arrangements don't suit the 12-string.  This song:  Good Morning Judge or Crow Jane does since it was arranged for 12-string originally.

Harry Lewman
www.hlmusic.com


Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Prof Scratchy on August 19, 2006, 02:48:00 PM
Didn't Carl Martin do 'Good Mornin' Judge'?? As he and Howard Armstrong were close associates, maybe both of them had it in their repertoires?
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: HarryL on August 19, 2006, 02:54:35 PM
Yes, Carl Martin.  that is who I was trying to think of.  He was Howard's guitar player for years.

Howard told me that Carl and he both learned Good Morning Judge and its associated guitar licks from Joe Evans.

Harry
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: waxwing on August 19, 2006, 03:04:39 PM
That is a great song to cover on 12 string. Thanks Harry. And good to see you on Weenie Campbell again. LTNS. I've been looking to increase my meagre 12 string repertoire and this would be an excellent addition.

Come back more often, Harry.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: frankie on August 19, 2006, 03:55:11 PM
I learned that a musician from Knoxville, TN,  Joe Evans was a 12-string player.

I wonder if this is the Joe Evans from "The Two Poor Boys" - Joe Evans & Arthur McClain?  They do a tune called "My Baby's Got A Yo-Yo" that's essentially the same guitar accompaniment as Carl Martin's "Good Morning Judge" and "Crow Jane."  It sounds like the guitar used on "My Baby's Got A Yo-Yo" might be a 12 or 9 string guitar.

It sounds to me like the guitar player on Billy Bird's "Mill Man Blues" is very likely the same guitarist on the Two Poor Boys' "My Baby's Got A Yo-Yo," although "Mill Man Blues" is clearly played on a six-string.  The Two Poor Boys also do Mill Man Blues, but with a very different accompaniment.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: HarryL on August 21, 2006, 09:13:10 AM
When I googled Joe Evans, that is the only thing I saw that made sense:  The Two Poor Boys. 

Thanks for the info.

Harry
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: uncle bud on August 23, 2006, 07:52:34 AM
Speaking of Crow Jane, Rev. Gary Davis plays an instrumental version on 12-string on the From Blues to Gospel record. A few of the bass runs sound informed by the Carl Martin version.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: dj on June 09, 2007, 07:01:04 AM
Charlie "Dad" Nelson, who recorded eight songs in three sessions for Paramount in 1926 and 1927, sounds like he's playing a 12-string.  As is so often the case, absolutely nothing is know about him.  Chris White, in his notes to Document 5277, Rare Paramount Blues, speculates that he may have had a connection with Cleveland, based on the song titles "Cleveland Stomp" and "Scoville Ave. Blues".  But then he also recorded "Red River Blues", "Mississippi Strut", and "Michigan Shoe Blues", so perhaps he just was, as his last recorded song title has it, a "Travelling Daddy".   
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: mississippijohnhurt1928 on June 24, 2007, 10:12:44 AM
Robert Lockwood Jr.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: mississippijohnhurt1928 on June 24, 2007, 10:13:46 AM
There's a photo I've seen somewhere of Jim Jackson with a 12-string.


Really?? That would be interesting to see, do you recall where you might have seen it?
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: mississippijohnhurt1928 on June 24, 2007, 10:17:49 AM
Is this it?

I can't tell.

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi53.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fg65%2Fbillhaley5%2Fclipboard01-6.jpg&hash=63d49ab7dda3986390e7385e5d744518d61fd65a)
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: blueshome on June 26, 2007, 03:32:42 AM
Yep.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on December 31, 2007, 02:39:42 PM
Hi all,
I don't know if he was from Georgia or not, he may have been, and he played in Spanish on all of his recorded numbers with a left-hand similar to that of Charley Lincoln, but William Smith, of William and Versey Smith sounds like he was playing a 12-string guitar.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Rivers on January 01, 2008, 12:37:27 PM
Isn't Alabama's Ed Bell playing a 12 on Frisco Whistle Blues? Apologies if it's been mentioned before, I couldn't see it in the topic.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: zoner on January 02, 2008, 04:43:35 PM
If folk revival players are to be included, how about Fred Gerlach (who probably did the best Leadbelly covers ever)....
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lyndvs on February 13, 2009, 07:26:30 AM
Smoky Babe did some wonderful 12 string playing-i especially like the cuts on the arhoolie cd shared with Herman E.Johnson.
Also Guitar Welch and Hogman Maxey-recorded at the same time as RPW at Angola-i think they all played the same 12string?!.
I think it was a guitar belonging to Harry Oster-in which case it`s probably the same guitar played by Smoky on the aforementioned cd.
Please excuse me if i`ve mentioned any players mentioned previously-and for reopening an old thread.
    take care lyndvs.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: uncle bud on February 13, 2009, 08:02:52 AM
No worries about reopening old threads. Ignore the warning message. That's just built into the software.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Parlor Picker on February 13, 2009, 08:46:36 AM
Smokey Babe did some wonderful 12 string playing-i especially like the cuts on the arhoolie cd shared with Herman E.Johnson.
Also Guitar Welch and Hogman Maxey-recorded at the same time as RPW at Angola-i think they all played the same 12string?!.
I think it was a guitar belonging to Harry Oster-in which case it`s probably the same guitar played by Smokey on the aforementioned cd.
Please excuse me if i`ve mentioned any players mentioned previously-and for reopening an old thread.
    take care lyndvs.

I think Harry Oster carried a Stella 12-string on his field recording trips. Smoky Babe is shown in one of the photos playing it with 6 strings removed to make it a normal 6-string (albeit with a rather wide neck).

You notice the same guitars cropping up again and again with various researchers/recorders, e.g. David Evans' mahogany-top Guild.  And Pete Lowry (oddenda) once wrote to me saying he carried a Gibson acoustic and a National, amongst other guitars, on his field trips. This is because the old bluesmen often no longer had a guitar or had one that was poor quality and therefore not ideally suited to recording.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lyndvs on February 13, 2009, 10:13:22 AM
Thanks for the insight parlor picker,i was wondering if that 12 string were a Stella.You`re right many players,in the
"rediscovery" period,didn`t own a guitar any longer-in some cases didn`t even play any longer-so taking a guitar along was sensible.Also i believe some of these field researchers were players themselves.I remember reading that David Evans would often play a few songs to break the ice.I was wondering maybe Babe removed the strings for his slide playing which definitely sounds like a six string-whereas some of the fingerpicking-has a thumping heavy textured sound like a twelve.
             take care,lyndvs.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: oddenda on February 13, 2009, 07:29:06 PM
pp -

          Right you are. I still have my Gibson SJ (early seventies/late sixties) and my 1939 National (dated by Bob Brozman - see it on Tarheel Slim cover) with me here in Oz. They both recorded beautifully, and both were requested  by players to give them to them! Eugen "Hideaway" Bridges did an in-store with the Gibson; I took the National on the train to Melbourne for Eddie Kirkland to play on the radio a few years ago. The rest of my collection is in storage with all the rest of my stuff in NJ. The wonders that were gettable in hock shops in the 70s!! I also have a Gibson 335, purchased from my sister's first husband-to-be and a fine tweed Fender Princeton amp... all used at some time or another on sessions. It was a GREAT boon to have dependable equipment... even the artists agreed. Had a funky 12-string that Kirkland played on his first LP, and also Willie Trice at one of our first sessions. Eddie was living in GA, but was not FROM that state, if you catch my drift. Alsom I had a battered but quite playable Gibson LG 1 that was my "road guitar" that I'd pull out to essentially audition anyone... even recorded one or two with it.

Peter B.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: oddenda on February 13, 2009, 08:00:53 PM
Having read over all the entries, I note that nobody has mentioned "Too Tight Henry" Castle, from Arkansas... or so Lockwood told me.

Peter B.

p.s. - there is that lovely vintage photo taken on the waterfront in Atlanta that is at the beginning of Larry Cohn's wonderful coffee-table book: A Black twelve-string guitarist at the front! Curiouser and curiouser.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Parlor Picker on February 14, 2009, 01:39:01 AM
Thanks for the insight parlor picker,i was wondering if that 12 string were a Stella.You`re right many players,in the
"rediscovery" period,didn`t own a guitar any longer-in some cases didn`t even play any longer-so taking a guitar along was sensible.Also i believe some of these field researchers were players themselves.I remember reading that David Evans would often play a few songs to break the ice.I was wondering maybe Babe removed the strings for his slide playing which definitely sounds like a six string-whereas some of the fingerpicking-has a thumping heavy textured sound like a twelve.
             take care,lyndvs.

I've got a couple of Smoky Babe LPs but from what I remember (sorry, I haven't played them lately - better rectify that this weekend) he always sounded as if he were playing a 6-string.  I imagine Harry Oster's logic in having a 12-string from which he could remove half the strings was basically versatility and convenience - like having two instruments in one.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: oddenda on February 14, 2009, 03:48:00 AM
All you weenies who play -

          I do not; I have good relative pitch and can tune a guitar, which often saved a session (especially with a piano!) - missed on Henry Johnson's session on the Gibson, though. My question is: Is a steel-strung 12 louder than a steel-strung six? That may be the only reason for their brief appearance, as the National came along in the 20s with even more volume.

Peter B.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lyndvs on February 14, 2009, 04:13:36 AM
Parlor Picker,i`ve been relistening to my Smoky Babe cd`s-i think you`re correct.He plays so hard and with such drive that i think he tricked my ear!.At one point i thought he may have the g and b string doubled-but i think i discounted that after a few tracks.I`m certain you are correct.He`s a great picker and i enjoyed going back to his music.
       Really the other guy`s i mentioned were only 12 string players by default-if DR.Oster had carried a Duolian or Gibson they`d have used that.Though RPW(my favourite postwar bluesman)did use a 12 string on later recordings.It`s great to hear other opinions and thoughts.
       Peter`s thoughts are interesting.In my experience a 12 string is louder than a 6-i have an old Regal 12 which is very loud.I Don`t know if this is generally the rule though?.
       Too Tight Henry was great-i`ve seen the photo of the 12string player-with the littleboy-surrounded by WW1 troops-wonder who he was?.Does anyone know of any instances of the use of 12string guitar in early old-time or country music?.
          take care,lyndvs
           














r
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Rivers on February 15, 2009, 01:20:33 PM
All you weenies who play -

          I do not; I have good relative pitch and can tune a guitar, which often saved a session (especially with a piano!) - missed on Henry Johnson's session on the Gibson, though. My question is: Is a steel-strung 12 louder than a steel-strung six? That may be the only reason for their brief appearance, as the National came along in the 20s with even more volume.

Peter B.

In terms of volume I think it's dynamic range where a 12 really shines, there just seems to me to be a whole lot more headroom available. In other words you can drive it to be much louder if you play harder, especially with fingerpicks, and especially on the bass end, where a 6 might tend to peak-out at a certain point. Playing at a normal level my 12 is louder than my 6's. Playing flat-out it's way louder. It varies with different instruments though.

Then there's the harmonic thing, a 12 is more saturated across the frequency spectrum. Quite a complex question, 'loudness', verses 'apparent loudness', in a noisy place, depends a lot on the type and frequency of ambient noise you're trying to cut through.

I think the fact you can make a 12 sound like an old time barrel house piano also helped it to take a hold. Perhaps that pianistic thing ebbed and the 12 ebbed with it? I really dunno. Did Nationals take over a niche, or create a new one. All interesting questions, I have no answers.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: oddenda on February 15, 2009, 11:20:08 PM
Rivers -

          My understanding is that the National took over from the banjo in dance bands, being louder that an arch-top wooden guitar. Blues performers took them on for the same reason... more volume; successful artists like Fuller, a.o. who played them on records probably facilitated their spread of popularity. How many musos today want amplifiers that go up to 11, anyway, thanks to Spinal Tap!!

          As for the 12-string, "it was just one of those things" and not an Atlanta attribute per se.

Peter B.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Parlor Picker on February 16, 2009, 02:55:30 AM
I listened to some of the Smoky Babe stuff again at the weekend and can confirm he's playing on 6 strings.  What great tracks - he was brilliant and I never tire of listening to his recordings.  He was no recording star, just an ordinary bloke playing at home or in friends' houses after a glass or two of wine.  The guitar just rings out with such a clean, yet rocking sound. Highly recommended to anyone who doesn't have any of these recordings.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lyndvs on February 17, 2009, 07:43:22 AM
Parlor picker,thanks for sharing your knowledge and ears!.He was a great picker,such a driving sound.I think the reason for 12 strings being less "popular"than 6 strings is that they`re harder to play expressively-a six string is much easier to play-bend strings etc..
      take care lyndvs.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on March 15, 2011, 08:00:36 AM
Hi all,
I don't know whether it was Joe Evans or Arthur McClain playing a 12-string on "Little Son Of a Gun", the Two Poor Boys debut recording, but since neither of them came from Georgia, they can collectively fall into this category.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: LB on March 15, 2011, 10:52:56 AM
Well, just have one music store in the decatur zone with credit or lay-away which was SUPER popular back then and suddenly a dealer that loves to carry Stella, Harmony, Kay starts a trend.

Hey what about the Texas Alexander guy. Which I think McTell knew, and supposed to also known many Texas artists.

I'm not sure there was such a state to state separation in these blues artists as one might assume. They seemed to be widely connected. And they also seemed to not stay in boarding houses or hotels as much as bunking at people's homes while on the road.

Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on March 15, 2011, 11:16:43 AM
Hi Little Brother,
That was Lonnie Johnson accompanying Texas Alexander.  Alexander didn't play at all and only sang, one of the very few early blues singers recorded for whom that was the case.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: LB on March 16, 2011, 11:22:58 AM
Oh, no kidding. Okay I must have listened to his stuff and assumed.. you know how that goes :) Thanks!
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Johnm on March 16, 2011, 02:34:44 PM
You're right, LB.  I was told that Bill Broonzy, in his autobiography, commented on how much Texas Alexander played like Lonnie Johnson, so I think a lot of folks have thought the way you did--it's natural.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Mr.OMuck on March 17, 2011, 07:33:11 PM
Just found this thread. Anything regarding Smoky Babe is interesting to me. That Twelve string played as a six has one of the most distinctive, funkiest sounds I've ever heard. I've tried many times in vain to get that sound. Was he the last great country blues player? Maybe... anyway I want, need, gotta have one o them guitars to tune down to B and play as a six string! ;D
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Parlor Picker on March 18, 2011, 04:00:06 AM
I used to be a regular visitor to Flyright records and the late Simon Napier recommended the Smoky Babe album to me. What a revelation! Every country blues fan I played it to over the years was just as smitten by it as me. It still sounds fantastic today. Straight-ahead, real music!
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lastfirstface on March 05, 2013, 10:41:28 AM
I thought of this thread last night while I was listening through a bunch of material on the Digital Library of Appalachia, which is well worth checking out for Old-Time field recordings. I was listening to songs and interviews recorded by Kip Lornell with Hobart Smith's brother King Edward Smith. In the course of discussing local string band musicians in the area of Saltsville, and the heavy influence of black musicians and blues on him and his brother, he mentions going up to Roanoke when he was young with Hobart and a neighbor to play in a contest. He describes beating out seventy other guitarist by playing "KC Blues" and "Railroad Bill" on his twelve string. Unfortunately he doesn't make it clear when the contest took place. Here it is:

http://dla.acaweb.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/Ferrum/id/344/rec/10 (http://dla.acaweb.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/Ferrum/id/344/rec/10)

His attitude towards blues is interesting to hear and his playing, while lacking the virtuosity of his brother, is great in its own way.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: uncle bud on March 05, 2013, 08:03:16 PM
Definitely some Lemon in some of that blues playing.

I hadn't listened to him before that I can recall - very interesting indeed. Thanks for pointing those recordings out. There's a lot to listen to!
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: Lastfirstface on March 05, 2013, 08:25:20 PM
The Lemon connection with Saltsville, VA is interesting. Hobart told several people that he learned to play blues pieces directly from a man named "Blind Lemon", but people who I've seen write about Hobart Smith seemed to agree that for geographic and chronological reasons it couldn't have been Jefferson. His brother Kind Edward talked more about learning from records and says that they wanted every blues record they could get their hands on.
Title: Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
Post by: uncle bud on March 06, 2013, 05:04:35 AM
Yes, although Lemon's travels aren't that well-documented of course. I can't recall the chronological arguments at the moment. Hobart had an instrumental called Brown Skin Blues that he said was one of Blind Lemon's (or more accurately responded Yes when asked if it was), but its connection seems tenuous to me, at least to anything on record. He did do some other stuff in E. But that stuff in C from King Edward is totally Lemony. Very cool. Looking forward to listening to the rest of those recordings, not just the blues stuff.

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