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It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that - Fats Waller, catchphrase

Author Topic: Garfield Akers  (Read 2938 times)

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bayrum78

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Garfield Akers
« on: October 30, 2010, 02:53:57 PM »
Does anyone have information on Garfield Akers outside of what is in the Document liner notes?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 03:17:06 PM by bayrum78 »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 04:11:02 PM »
There's a chapter in Gayle Dean Wardlow's book Chasin' That Devil Music devoted to Akers and Joe Callicott. I'll have to re-read it. I know that it has previously been available online as a free ebook through certain libraries, so if you have electronic library access, you might want to search. Wardlow also has some audio interviews with Callicott in which he speaks about Akers as I recall. Alas, I remember none of it so can't fill you in.

bayrum78

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 04:37:15 PM »
Thanks Uncle Bud. I just ordered a used but "like new" copy of this book for $5.99 on Amazon.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2010, 05:02:19 PM »
I just re-read the chapter, and it will be well worth your money, IMO. Very interesting. The entire book is a pleasure for that matter, one of my favorite blues reference books. I have to go listen to the Callicott interview(s), which are available online and referenced here somewhere on Weenie. I wonder if they ever touched on Frank Stokes, who was one of Callicott's influences.

One of the things noted in the book is that there is a companion piece to the Akers/Callicott chapter, which was originally published in Living Blues magazine, by Jim O'Neal, writing about Akers' later life. That I have not seen.

bayrum78

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 05:36:41 PM »
Maybe this is touched on in the book, but do they mention Aker's influences? His style was so distinctive and I would like to know whether he had a stylistic predecesssor. The avoidance of the V chord in his playing is odd and I wonder whether it harks back to an earlier more primitive form of the blues.  Garfield, even more than Otto Virgial, stripped out melody and chordal complexity on guitar in favor of compelling guitar and vocal rhythms. Patton and Son House played similarly but were much more sophisticated melodically - particularly in their guitar arrangements. In a way I find this stripped down approach more appealing because it gets to the very essence of the blues which ,IMO, fundamentally concerned with rhythmic interplay between a voice and an instrument.                                                         

Online Johnm

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 11:32:01 PM »
Hi Nate,
If you go to http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=3474.msg26389#msg26389, there is an earlier thread that talks about pieces played by players other than Garfield Akers that share some of the sound characteristics of his songs.
All best,
Johnm

bayrum78

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2010, 06:02:47 AM »
Thanks John. There is lots of food for thought in that thread.  I've been working on Jumpin' and Shoutin' Blues and I now hear that I missed the IV7 and was playing the straight IV in the song...oh well, live and learn.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2010, 09:53:20 AM »
Maybe this is touched on in the book, but do they mention Aker's influences? His style was so distinctive and I would like to know whether he had a stylistic predecesssor. The avoidance of the V chord in his playing is odd and I wonder whether it harks back to an earlier more primitive form of the blues.  Garfield, even more than Otto Virgial, stripped out melody and chordal complexity on guitar in favor of compelling guitar and vocal rhythms. Patton and Son House played similarly but were much more sophisticated melodically - particularly in their guitar arrangements. In a way I find this stripped down approach more appealing because it gets to the very essence of the blues which ,IMO, fundamentally concerned with rhythmic interplay between a voice and an instrument.                                                        

Callicott is quoted in the article as saying "Garfield had been playing that song [Cottonfield Blues] for about two or three years before.... That rhythm came from around in here. He didn't have too many songs. That was his main song and he practiced on it all the time." Like JohnM did in the thread he points to on the Hernando A sound, Wardlow notes similarity in Robert Wilkins' "Get Away Blues" and Joe McCoy's "Look Who's Coming Down the Road". He also says that "Robert Wilkins reported to Stephen Calt that two Hernando area brothers named Byrd played the same rhythm as in Cottonfield in the 1915-20 period. Callicott never asked Akers in their years of playing who developed the 'Hernando style.'"

The article also mentions Akers and Callicott working with Frank Stokes, with Akers at least working on the same medicine show as Stokes. It also quotes Callicott as saying Akers got his vocal style from a fellow named Ed Newsome.

As an aside, the account from Callicott of their original recording session at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis comes tantalizingly close to identifying Kid Bailey. "Callicott remembered peeking through a glass window and seeing 'two little guys' making a record. After hearing the Kid Bailey Brunswick record, he surmised, "That's the same guy who was here then... It was two of them together. He was little. Who was he? I remember seeing them same guys, was right here."
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 09:54:33 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Michael Cardenas

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2010, 06:57:07 PM »
It also quotes Callicott as saying Akers got his vocal style from a fellow named Ed Newsome.
Other than the hum mentioned is there more knowledge on Ed Newsome?
LISTEN TO BLUES MUSIC

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2010, 09:12:01 PM »
The brief recording of Callicott interviewed by Wardlow on the CD included with the book has Callicott saying they got the song that they would name Cottonfield Blues from Newsome. All I know.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2010, 09:29:47 PM »
Curious myself, I wrangled google advanced search every which way that I know and turned up nothing beyond that which we already know, i.e. very little.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2010, 01:22:56 PM »
I added a tag for Gayle Dean Wardlow below. If you click it you can get to a thread that points to online recordings of his interviews, including the Callicott interview in 13 or so segments. Nothing more about Newsome that I noticed but still interesting.

Offline Annette

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 11:46:36 AM »
One of the guys who used to publish Blues Unlimited? used to live in a house called Garfield Acres.

Annette
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 12:03:32 PM »
One of the guys who used to publish Blues Unlimited? used to live in a house called Garfield Acres.
Annette
This rings bells, but it wasn't Mike Leadbitter or Simon Napier, I've been to their respective abodes. I've a nagging feeling it was Paul Vernon back when he was publishing Sailor's Delight from North West London.

PS.  By the way - Welcome.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 12:04:34 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: Garfield Akers
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 02:20:36 PM »
I think Paul Vernon lived in "Ora Nell Villas"....wasn't "Sailor's Delight" a great mag....

 


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