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I shall never forget the first sight I had of Fred in his dungarees, carrying his guitar and walking out of the woods toward us in a Mississippi night - Shirley Collins, quoted in The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax - Words, Photographs and Music, by Tom Piazza, LoC 2013

Author Topic: Bill Collings R.I.P.  (Read 435 times)

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Offline Stuart

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« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 09:26:10 AM by Johnm »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 02:06:50 PM »
While I'm sorry to hear about Collings' passing (sorry to hear of anyone so close to me in age dying!) and glad to see that the Times sought fit to honor him with an obituary, I must bring up the fact that despite my and other people's best efforts, The Grey Lady, The Paper of Record, The New York Times, flat out refused to do an obit for Larry Johnson. So if you're a successful Luthier/entrepreneur you make the grade, but if you can actually play the shit out of the guitar like Larry could..OH Brother..get back, get back. get back.

« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 02:12:31 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 04:09:11 PM »
It's hard to figure, Phil. While Bill Collins certainly deserves an obituary in the NYT, Larry deserved one even more, IMHO. Maybe it has to do with mainstream viability and the fact that some well known artists play Collins instruments, but I don't really know. But Larry was a major artist in my book, even though he might not have been as well known as Bill Collins.


Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 04:40:34 PM »
It's hard to figure, Phil. While Bill Collins certainly deserves an obituary in the NYT, Larry deserved one even more, IMHO. Maybe it has to do with mainstream viability and the fact that some well known artists play Collins instruments, but I don't really know. But Larry was a major artist in my book, even though he might not have been as well known as Bill Collins.



You're so right Stuart. I'm thinking I might take another crack at it. I would try to point out the obvious absurdity of hailing a luthier while disregarding a great player and also point out the unconscious racism at work in their choices.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 08:08:38 PM »
Phil:  You could reference Brian Kramer's piece on Larry. And you can ask them why Bill Collins' life was worth and valued more than Larry Johnson's life.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 08:13:31 PM by Stuart »

Offline alyoung

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2017, 03:44:30 AM »
I suspect the issue with the NYT might not be racism, flawed judgment or any similar failing, but simply a question of timeliness. Bill Collings died only days before his obit appeared; I believe (and feel free to correct me if wrong) that Larry Johnson had been gone for some time before his death became public knowledge. And newspapers are reluctant to run "old news"; it's seen as making them look out of touch. (I'm not defending or justifying the NYT stance, simply offering an alternative option. But I suppose I should declare that I spent 50 years in the newspaper industry in various editorial positions.)

BTW, when NYT staff "flat out refused" to run the obit, what reason was given? 

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2017, 08:17:52 AM »
The NYT has run obituaries months after a person has passed, so I don't think timeliness was the reason. Once Phil brought Larry's passing to their attention, I think it was simply a matter that no one at the NYT understood the significance of Larry's life within the context in which he lived--and in the greater context as well.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 08:19:19 AM by Stuart »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2017, 12:48:43 PM »





























>From: "Keepnews, Peter" <keepnews@nytimes.com>
Date: 24 februari 2017 20:29:19 CET
To: Brian Kramer <briankramerblues@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Legendary New York Blues Man Larry Johnson Dies; August 2016






Dear Mr. Kramer: 

Please accept my apologies for the slow response.

I am going to be honest with you: The Times is not likely to publish an obituary for Larry Johnson. 

This is in no way a reflection on Johnson's talent. The issue is simply that the Times obituary department is woefully understaffed, and we simply don't have the resources to write obits for everyone who deserves one.

The list of important people in every field -- not just music but art, science, politics, etc. -- who have not gotten Times obits is depressingly long. On an average day, we learn about the deaths of roughly 15 people, of whom maybe five end up getting Times obits. Many of the ones who don't are certainly worthy, and might have gotten an obit if we had more people available to write them.


Adding to the problem in a case like Larry Johnson's is that The Times has lost two of its full-time music writers in recent months, and as far as I know there are no plans to replace them. In other words, the universe of possible writers for an obit like this one has shrunk even further.


I'm not happy about this, but it's the way things are. 


I trust you have been in touch with various music-oriented publications and websites to ask them to publish an obit. Just because The Times may not end up writing one doesn't mean that the news should go unannounced.


I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.



Sincerely,

Peter Keepnews, assistant obituary editor





My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: Bill Collings R.I.P.
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2017, 03:17:35 PM »
Thanks, Phil -- And Brian if you read this. Obituary triage at work, I guess.



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