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I got her a job, she got to be a crank, she's taken all her money and put it in the bank - Papa Charlie Jackson, "You put it in, I'll take it out"

Author Topic: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas  (Read 16626 times)

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Offline harriet

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2014, 11:23:46 AM »
The writer might have  signed a disclaimer initially accepting legal responsibility and covering the Times in case of use without permission causing problems, but if you go to the bottom of the article his name in bold is clickable and goes to his email if you want to write him.

Offline Slack

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2014, 01:46:35 PM »
I don't recall ever being a big fan of "multi-media magazine" presentations before, but I am now.  Wow, maybe I'm just a country blues not, but I thought it was so effective being able to splice in the music, bouncing ball lyrics, audio interview, documents and pictures.  Even a modern interpretation of Last Kind Words.  What a treat!


Offline Kokomo O

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2014, 05:34:37 AM »
U.B., of course you're right that McCormick must have consented, as you've inferred from the use of video of him in the piece, although you don't state it with so much certaintly. I'd completely overlooked that, perhaps because I haven't viewed the video yet--I read the piece on my phone, intending to go back and watch the video on my computer when I got home, and I guess it just didn't sink in. But it's just not plausible to think that McCormick consented to the use of his image in the vids but not to the use of his materials and the derivatives therefrom in the text. So I think this is partly his way of getting at least some of his collection of work out there to the public, and he's done so in a very engaging way.

And as others have noted, it's an enormous discovery--just to know that Geeshie Wiley was from Texas, and not from Mississippi or the East Coast, is really something. That there's more to it, and even the lesbian cultural angle, is pretty interesting, especially to me--I lost my 90 year old lesbian cousin last December, a real favorite older relative. Her life was, I gathered, interesting in the NYC of the '40s, '50s and '60s--I can only imagine Houston in the '20s.

I also note the gaps in one individual's knowledge of this music. Of course I knew Geeshie's work under her name. But I was unfamiliar with Elvie Thomas and Motherless Child Blues, even after more than 40 years of fascination with this music, and collecting it on vinyl and CD. And it is an incredible piece, so it's kind of amazing I don't have a copy on my hard drive, where all my CDs have been ripped. Yet another reason to thank McCormick, Sullivan and Love.

Offline Mike Shipman

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2014, 01:18:36 AM »
Excellent article and must agree that the multi media aspect of it really brings it alive in a way that words alone couldn't do.
Mike Shipman
New Forest - Hampshire, UK.

Offline Shovel

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2014, 05:39:47 AM »
the research was good (if a bit slimy) and the delivery fell short in some ways (playing fast and loose with dumb stereotypes in a few instances).  overall a good read. 

one thing is clearer than ever ... ms. thomas was a mf'ing gangster.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2014, 11:29:15 AM »
The larger question is whether or not McCormick's research into OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES rightfully belongs to him, and whether or not he should be declared non compus mentus as regards the safe keeping of his admittedly invaluable archive. Perhaps he should be compelled to turn it over to the LOC or the Smithsonian for safekeeping lest in a fit of bipolar despair he takes a match to the whole thing.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Bald Melon Jefferson

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2014, 11:49:14 AM »
Yes, getting a taste of his mental state(s) and not knowing what his end-game might be I was thinking the same....
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Offline Gumbo

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2014, 01:10:34 PM »
I was hoping it was a cunning and well executed plan concocted by Sullivan, Rose and McCormack to catch the eye of someone who could organise an acceptable offer (financially and academically) for his life's work ...

Offline Johnm

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2014, 01:27:07 PM »
research into OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES

Phil,
This phrase that you used in your post gets at the aspect of the article that gave me the most misgivings.  Certainly anyone who is a serious fan of this music is excited and amazed to find out more hard information on who LV Thomas and Geetchie Wiley were, but with regard to LV in particular, I found myself thinking that she chose to lead a quiet, non-public life after her time as a blues musician, and it was a conscious choice.  She wasn't angling for better-paying work playing the blues or better record deals--she gave it up in all sincerity.  I came away from the article feeling that I was pleased to have curiosity about who she was and where she came from satisfied, but as far as getting more information about her life, I don't need it or want it.  Let her be remembered the most by the people whom she chose to make her community, is my feeling; it just seems most appropriate given her choices in life.
All best,
Johnm

Offline wreid75

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2014, 02:03:01 PM »
Mack Has a website, well more of a web page.  Anyone wanting to follow in this cats footsteps or think they can successfully talk him into revealing more of his hidden gems give it a shot.  Tells how to contact him, then use the article to know when to call; since he doesn't want a knock on the door until 1am.  I bet the has more seemingly lost gems of information like this in his huge stack of stuff.

http://nonjohn.com/Mack%20McCormick.htm

Offline wreid75

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2014, 02:04:00 PM »
  http://www.mackmccormick.org will take you to the same place

Offline Stuart

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2014, 04:11:53 PM »
I enjoyed the article. Here's a follow up piece:

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/behind-the-cover-story-john-jeremiah-sullivan-on-the-search-for-geeshie-and-elvie/?ref=magazine

While his research is about "other people's lives," it is still Mack's work and should be respected as such.

Upon reflection, it's unfortunate that no one was able to respond to Mack's request in 1976 in a manner that he felt was appropriate and acceptable to him. (Maybe they did, I can't be sure.) Perhaps the results of his researches would have been published over the years.

One thing that struck me was that Mack's bi-polar condition?a condition that can be debilitating--was almost treated as a sidelight. A little more understanding and insight into an illness that no one chooses?as well as its effects--might have been in order. But that's an article for another place and time.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 05:33:40 PM by Stuart »

Offline SouthernSounds

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2014, 05:32:00 PM »
Was just going to post it myself.  This is a fascinating article.  A must-read if you love unearthing the life around the music we love.
+1!

A very interesting article, a very nice reading!


I enjoyed the article. Here's a follow up piece:

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/behind-the-cover-story-john-jeremiah-sullivan-on-the-search-for-geeshie-and-elvie/?ref=magazine
Thanks for that link, Stuart!

All the best,
B.
"I have nothing against the progress, but when the death progresses I prefer to live Indian" - El Patara, Arak Pacha

Offline wreid75

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2014, 08:13:11 PM »
Mack's bi-polar condition?a condition that can be debilitating

My uncle committed suicide as he succumb to the debilitating effects of bi-polar disorder.  He was a fantastic blues guitarist in the Asheville NC area in the 70s-80s and in Myrtle Beach SC in the 90s.  As a side note to the impulsiveness that this disorder causes him to hijack my Blindmanbluesfourm name that I left open.  His alcohol induced rants were quite cantankerous and a bit rude to some of the other members making it necessary for me to create another account and giving him the one I had.  Since we had the same name it was pretty easy and in hind sight kind of funny.

Patience and understanding isn't a strong suite of todays society in the best of circumstances but when a loved one or even acquaintance is bi-polar it is essential that patience becomes an acquired trait.

Offline Gilgamesh

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Re: Elvie (L.V.) Thomas
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2014, 09:47:56 PM »
Considering Sullivan's apologetic tone, and the fact that McCormick excommunicated him with a letter, I'm skeptical that McCormick gave this article his blessing. Perhaps he was filmed prior to the excommunication. Sullivan probably gave McCormick the false impression that the article was going to be about him. Was the material stolen? We don't have an idea what McCormick's agreement with Caitlin Rose Love was, but if he fired her, it would be reasonable to assume that she was not given any intellectual property rights to his material.

Sullivan brushes all this aside with the defense that an author is not entitled to his own manuscripts or research if the culture decides the research is important. Somehow I don't think Sullivan would agree to the appropriation of his own work this way. Who decides what's culturally important? Wiley and Thomas are highly obscure, barely known artists. Fred Ramsey's research on the far more important Buddy Bolden sat in his file cabinets for decades. Was a third party entitled to photograph his manuscripts without his permission and publish that material under their name just because they decided the public had a "right" to know about this important artist? I don't think so.

 


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