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If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Author Topic: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia  (Read 11654 times)

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Online Johnm

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12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« 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

Yves

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #1 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

Offline frankie

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #2 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?

Offline Gingergeezer

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2006, 07:43:20 AM »
Rev. Gary Davis...? Later in his career, I know...does it still count?

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2006, 08:22:29 AM »
John Byrd "Old Timbrook"
Freddy Spruell "Mississippi Bottom Man"
Bill Jackson "Long Steel Rail" album
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Online Johnm

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #5 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

Offline Cambio

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #6 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.

Offline frankie

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2006, 08:58:30 PM »
Jesse 'Lone Cat' Fuller

He was born in Georgia, though!  Must be something in the water.

Offline blueshome

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2006, 04:07:50 AM »
There's a photo I've seen somewhere of Jim Jackson with a 12-string.

Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2006, 09:54:15 AM »
Robert Lockwood

JohnnyHart

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2006, 12:04:28 PM »
don't forget the great huddie ledbetter better know as leadbelly

Offline dj

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #11 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.   :)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #12 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.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #13 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

Online Johnm

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Re: 12-String Players NOT from Georgia
« Reply #14 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

 


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