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I've been in bigger jails than you've been in towns - Peg Leg Pete puts younger men present in their place, from Bruce Bastin's "Crying for the Carolines"

Author Topic: Guitar Pete Franklin  (Read 1852 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Guitar Pete Franklin
« on: August 23, 2010, 02:52:46 PM »
I'm wondering wether any new information has emerged as to the fate of this great Blues musician. I've got him on the i-pod even as i write this. Fantastic! Guitar, Vocals,piano..all first rate!
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Online Johnm

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 04:01:46 PM »
Hi Phil,
I know that Nick Perls recorded Pete Franklin on the Indianapolis trip that yielded the Blue Goose and Shirley Griffith albums, circa 1971--1972.  I don't believe Nick had enough material for an entire album.  Pete was pretty far gone in drink by that time, but an intelligent guy with interesting thoughts on the blues and life.  Many of the very best and most interesting quotes in Stephen Calt's intro to "The Country Blues Songbook" came from Pete Franklin.
Nick played me some or all of the tracks that he recorded of Pete and they were terrific, very much along the lines of what you have on his Prestige Bluesville album, sensational Indianapolis blues-playing and singing, including one tune with an octave G string I believe.  These recordings were never issued and I believe went to Richard Nevins at Shanachie in that part of Nick's estate.  There is some other great stuff Nick recorded that never got issued, too: prime material from Hacksaw Harney and a couple of tunes I did with Sam Chatmon, as well as other stuff I never heard about, I'm sure.  I don't know when Pete Franklin died, but it seems a pretty safe bet that he is no longer living.  He's one of those "what might have been" kind of musicians, unfortunate to be expert in a style that could not provide him with a livelihood.
All best,
Johnm

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 05:22:51 PM »
Mr. O'Muck, a fellow Weenie has this great blog here: http://sundayblues.org/archives/tag/pete-franklin

There isn't much information on Pete, but perhaps contacting the webmaster about Pete's later years would provide you with what you want to know.

The other day while I was driving to Wendy's, I was trying to remember the name of this great Indianapolis Bluesman who said his playing wasn't urbane enough to be like that of Lonnie Johnson, and was too sophisticated to be mistaken for early Blues of a rural origin. I couldn't remember the guy's name for the life of me. I just knew that he did a fantastic version of "Two White Horses"/"See That My Grave's Kept Clean". I think he and Shirley Griffith produced some of the best material on Prestige Bluesville. Or is it Prestige/Bluesville?
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 10:06:39 PM »
Kip Lornell interviewed Pete Franklin (Living Blues 9, Summer 1972, p. 18-21) which was conducted in August 1971 at the National Folk Festival, Washington, DC.  He died in Indianapolis 31st July 1975.

Elsewhere at Weenie there's a portion of what Franklin told Lornell about Scrapper Blackwell.

LATER EDIT: Click on the tag at bottom of this discussion and you'll be able to read the above mention topc.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 04:58:23 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline hortig78rpm

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 01:51:40 AM »
hello bunker hill

maybe if you still have my email-adress, you may scan this article for me.
guitar pete was not only an outstanding guitar-player, but also a fine pianist, what is very rare in the bluesfields. most of the guitar-players, who also played piano had been limited to only only some themes like bukka white or lonnie johnson. a really fine pinists had been harkshaw harney, but only one title is available.
franklins repetoir consists of real old time stuff like " fives" or " black girl".
it`s a sad thind, that he nearly dropped out of sight after the bluesville recordings
but his fond of drinking and the "lost interests" of bluespromotors in the indianapolis scene made it.

regards
mike

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 03:57:58 AM »
hello bunker hill

maybe if you still have my email-adress, you may scan this article for me.
Some years ago I OCR'd it into Word for, I think, MTJ3 of this parish. I'll find it and email. Should anybody else want it let me know.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 07:35:34 AM »
Thanks for the info all. If Richard Nevins has unissued tape of Franklin he ought to be persuaded to release it. Actually I was thinking that he should take the entire Yazoo & Blue Goose catalogues and release them as a boxed set of CDs or on a special edition i-pod. We could resurrect Walter Pidgeon to do TV commercials for the "Home Library of Early Blues. No cultured home will want to be without it" All pitched in front of Red Velvet curtains and a marble bust of Blind Lemon.

What about Smokey Babe (Robert Brown) ? Does anyone know what happened to him? Another later day country Blues giant.   
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 10:11:26 AM »
What about Smokey Babe (Robert Brown) ? Does anyone know what happened to him? Another later day country Blues giant.
I think it's safe to say that the some total of our knowledge on him is derived from Harry Oster's sleeve notes and associated writing in his book Living Country Blues.

In a 1975 Living Blues reported in a short news item that he had died earlier that year in Louisiana. It's never been substantiated.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 12:39:37 PM »
http://www.wirz.de/music/frankfrm.htm

Useful guide to his role as accompanist.

Offline hortig78rpm

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 10:23:37 PM »
in an early blues & rhythm issue, there had been an article + list of unissued recordings + some photos of smoky baby made by harry oster.

if anybody interested, Ill scan and mail it

regards
mike

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2010, 12:10:34 AM »
in an early blues & rhythm issue, there had been an article + list of unissued recordings + some photos of smoky baby made by harry oster.mike
Is is the one listed at the bottom of this page http://www.wirz.de/music/osterfrm.htm ? If so wasn't it published to coincide with Francis Smith's BBC radio program about Oster? Or was there another?

Offline hortig78rpm

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2010, 04:18:24 AM »
I`ll try to find it and send it to you. around this area there had been a lot of fine musicians, later recorded by david evans ( around 1967) like isiah chatmon( no relation)herb quinn, esau weary etc.

regards
mike

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Guitar Pete Franklin
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2010, 04:44:55 AM »
What about Smokey Babe (Robert Brown) ? Does anyone know what happened to him? Another later day country Blues giant.   
I met Lazy Lester a few years ago, he told me that Robert Brown (Smoky Babe) "drank himself to death."
He also told me that fellow Smoky Babe harp accompanist, Clyde Causey's name was actually Leroy, but that Dr. Oster had seemed uninterested in such points of detail.
What was it like recording for Dr. Oster? "That motherfucker never paid us!"

 


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