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A phrase that should live in infamy appears all too often in the Gennett ledgers: "Rejected - too much backwoods" - Richard Nevins, entry on the Shepherd Brothers in R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country

Author Topic: Broonzy autobiography?  (Read 7459 times)

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Offline frankie

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2006, 08:38:36 PM »
I didn't play any for a few years until I met Charlie Jackson in 1924. He found out I could play a fiddle and had me come around.

Broonzy's a good fiddler - not quite as fine as Lonnie Johnson, or as lowdown as Eddie Anthony, but I'd love to have the opportunity to hear him and Papa Charlie Jackson play together.  Musta been a time...

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2006, 09:01:43 PM »
For those interested in more Big Bill bio material, he was an acquaintance of Studs Terkel, and is mentioned in at least one of Studs many highly readable books - I just can't recall which. I also seem to recall that Studs had Big Bill on his radio program a few times - both chatting and playing. Some of those tapes may still be around. For a sample of his conversations with other folks, check our the audio files here:
http://www.studsterkel.org/index.html
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline Stuart

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2006, 09:43:56 PM »
There is a Folkways LP: "Big Bill Broonzy Interviewed by Studs Terkel" F-3586 which was at one point available as a custom CD. There is also a Studs Terkel program with Big Bill, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, "This Is the Blues with Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee" FW-03817, as well as an interview by Studs of Pete Seegar and Big Bill, "Studs Terkel's Weekly Almanac: Radio Programme, No. 4: Folk Music and Blues" FW-03864. And there's a 3 CD set on Verve that is quite good.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2006, 11:39:04 PM »
For those interested in more Big Bill bio material, he was an acquaintance of Studs Terkel, and is mentioned in at least one of Studs many highly readable books - I just can't recall which.
Talking To Myself: A Memoir Of My Times (Pantheon, 1977) there's a chapter devoted to Big Bill. It recounts a couple of 'racist' encounters he and BBB experienced in 1948 when they, along with Win Stracke and Larry Lane, were travelling to a gig in Lafayette and how BBB handle it.

Offline dj

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2006, 03:45:36 AM »
Quote
There is a Folkways LP: "Big Bill Broonzy Interviewed by Studs Terkel" F-3586 which was at one point available as a custom CD.

All the Folkways CDs mentioned should still be available as custom CDs.  The Smithsonian Folkways website is here:

http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.html

Their availability statement:

Quote
As a condition of the acquisition, the Smithsonian agreed that virtually all of the firm's 2,168 titles would remain "in print"  forever--a condition  that Smithsonian Folkways continues to honor through its custom order service. Whether it sells 8,000 copies each year or only one copy every five years,  every Folkways title remains available for purchase.

I just bought a Henry Townsend CD, recorded in 1961 by Sam Charters, from them.  The price wasn't bad and service was prompt - the CD arrived less than 2 weeks after it was ordered.  Unfortunately they can't repro the original cover art yet, but my CD had a copy of the original liner notes included in the package.

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2006, 09:27:42 AM »
at http://smithsonianglobalsound.org/ you can download pdfs of both the front and the back covers + liner notes of nearly all Folkways LPs
Just Quick Search for e.g. 'Townsend' and click through ...
Stefan

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2006, 12:22:23 PM »
Quote
I just bought a Henry Townsend CD, recorded in 1961 by Sam Charters, from them.  The price wasn't bad and service was prompt - the CD arrived less than 2 weeks after it was ordered.  Unfortunately they can't repro the original cover art yet, but my CD had a copy of the original liner notes included in the package.
At the risk of taking this even further away from the subject heading, the 1984 record in question wasn't a Folkways recording but one done originally by Charters for Prestige see - http://www.wirz.de/music/townsfrm.htm

Offline Stuart

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2006, 02:23:49 PM »
I picked up a copy of Studs Terkel's "And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey" (New York: New Press, 2005) today at the library. There's a short section (pp.189-197) on Big Bill.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2006, 01:11:00 PM »
Doing a web search, I've only been able to find expensive collector's editions like this one.

FYI I just found & ordered a copy of Broonzy's autobiography from Half.com -- cost me $8 plus shipping.

Good thing I held off from buying the $1500 collector's edition. Now I can make my mortgage payment.

 ;)
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2006, 11:53:37 PM »
FYI I just found & ordered a copy of Broonzy's autobiography from Half.com -- cost me $8 plus shipping.
Its English language publishing history is thus:

Big Bill Blues: William Broonzy?s Story As Told To Yannick Bruynoghe.
London: Cassell, 1955. 139 pp;
London: Jazz Book Club, 1957. 139 pp;
New York: Oak, 1964. 176 pp;
New York: Da Capo, 1992. 176 pp

which of these did you manage to obtain?

Offline outfidel

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2006, 07:03:35 AM »
BH - Mine is a '92 Da Capo paperback
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Offline Great Bear

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2006, 09:48:52 AM »
I have both the hardback Jazz Book Club and the Oak editions. I have two because I'm greedy.>:D I've always wondered about the JBC edition's place in the chronological history of Broonzy's auto-biog. Thanks Bunker. A quick search of eBay UK turned up the Cassell 1st edition:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8383962999&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Does anyone know if Broonzy identified the Harman Ray photo as Peetie Wheatstraw?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2006, 10:47:33 AM »
I have both the hardback Jazz Book Club and the Oak editions. I have two because I'm greedy.>:D I've always wondered about the JBC edition's place in the chronological history of Broonzy's auto-biog. Thanks Bunker.
The JBC is a facsimile reprint of the Cassell, only the dust jacket is different. I Hope I am correct in saying the only difference between the Oak and Cassell/JBC is that Ray Asbury (I think it was he) was commissioned to revamp/update the discography, hence the increase in pagination. DaCapo reprinted the Oak.

Cassell actually threw a launch party for the book at which copies were given away to attendees (mostly jazz journalists). One such was BBB himself who apparently delighted in applying his scrawled moniker to the flypage for anybody who asked. In one of the jazz mags of the day this event was written up. I'll see if I can find it.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2006, 11:10:37 AM »
Does anyone know if Broonzy identified the Harman Ray photo as Peetie Wheatstraw?
I don't know but it seems highly likely doesn't it? The interesting thing about that "Wheatstraw" photo is that in 1964 it appeared on the cover of a Blues Classics Peetie/Kokomo Arnold compilation but Big Maceo had been 'cut off' and for many years after that it became the standard "Wheatstraw" mug shot. That's still how that photo of Harmon Ray is reproduced, no Maceo to be seen.

Offline Great Bear

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Re: Broonzy autobiography?
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2006, 11:35:49 AM »
The JBC is a facsimile reprint of the Cassell, only the dust jacket is different. I Hope I am correct in saying the only difference between the Oak and Cassell/JBC is that Ray Asbury (I think it was he) was commissioned to revamp/update the discography, hence the increase in pagination. DaCapo reprinted the Oak.

Aside from the revised discography there's a short introduction from Bruynoghe and a fantastic 15 page foreword by Charles Edward Smith.

 


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