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I went to the country, broke into a chicken coop. Stole a dozen chickens, put 'em in a pot of soup - Me And My Tapeworm, Sylvester Weaver 1927

Author Topic: Willie Trice  (Read 7196 times)

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Offline Stefan Wirz

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Willie Trice
« on: January 01, 2005, 12:05:11 PM »
those Holy Days let enough time to produce a discography for Willie Trice at http://www.wirz.de/music/tricewil.htm

(Someone ought to offer me some of those Flyright LPs - eg 106, 505, 506 - I was too tight-fisted to buy when they were available ;-)
Happy New Year to y'all
Stefan

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 06:07:40 PM »
I just purchased the Trice disc on Amazon.com, brand new for $1.15!!! It's amazing what some people will give away!
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline Rivers

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 06:33:49 PM »
Stefan,

An update for you, there are two Willie/Wellie Trice tracks on the JSP Blind Boy Fuller Vol 2, Come on in here Mama and Let Her Go God Bless Her
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 06:35:56 PM by Rivers »

Offline Stefan Wirz

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2008, 01:00:23 AM »
those folks at JSP gonna make me completely maaaaad ...
(but thanks for the info, Rivers, I'm still working like mad [sic] to stay close to their work!)
Stefan

Offline Rivers

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 09:48:49 AM »
I can imagine! Nice problem to have though, at least for the record-buying consumer. Wow, that was fast, I see it's already up there!
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 09:50:21 AM by Rivers »

Offline oddenda

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 10:12:58 PM »
Thought I'd post this here -

          Ahh - Willie Trice! Now there was a good friend to the end. He was one of the first that Bastin and I located in NC in 1969, thanks to Thurman Atkins of the Carolina Cab Company. At that time he had both legs, but had injured one - adult onset diabetes contributed to its loss, followed by the other one while I was north; that left him in a wheel chair and cared for by his mother, Lula Couch (a one-time guitarist and singer - HER lyrics to "Freight Train" were MUCH more interesting than Libba Cotton's!). Yet he seemed to handle his disability with aplomb.

          Willie and I were friends, with some cosmic connection. I never called before I dropped by, even though they had a telephone; he always KNEW that I would come. Once we got seriously into recording, he'd be ready for me with four new songs or perfected songs. His "Mr. Pete" radar seems never to have failed him; I took friends by who lived thereabouts and they all would go and visit when I wasn't around, and loved him. Before he died, I went by - he was living in a trailer (something he'd always wanted) on a piece of land that he had been given decades before and being cared for by his sister (a nurse who lived in AZ) - to see him on my way further South. He was alert and glad to see me, knew who I was and repeated "all right" many times; his sister said as I left that that was the most animated he'd been in months.

          While in Atlanta, I got a call from Glenn Hinson that Willie had died - we both believe that he waited until I came by to see him one more time before leaving. He was a VERY special person to me and is one who I recorded in great depth, well beyond the issued LP. His music was very exacting - like walking on egg shells, a clam would really stand out. An accidental act of brilliance on my part was to give him a cheap portable cassette recorder that I got from a pawn shop. This did two things: totally demystified the recording process... he could do it himself; allowed him to work up his material until HE thought it was ready to record. THEN he'd do it for me. I still miss him.

yrs,
     Peter B.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 11:55:29 PM by oddenda »

Offline oddenda

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2008, 12:03:57 AM »
A little more on Willie -

          The National on his recordings is his own, and not mine! I took it and had it rehabilitated for him by Bob Gear (whatever happened to HIM?!) over the winter and took it South that summer. He also managed to get his hands on a Gibson, so that's his wooden guitar on the album as well. Willie's picking was exacting... mistakes stood out like the proverbial sore thumb. His rhythmic sense was more straight ragtime and not so "swingy" as, say, Henry Johnson. He influenced Blind Boy Fuller (who didn't!) and his brother, Richard (who in turn was influenced by Fuller): there are a couple of tunes recorded by Fuller that sound straight up Willie Trice! Cannot tell what they are from here, but I did notice that probability. MUCH more material from him in storage, too, including some concerts, plus some tapes done for me at a coffee house gig or two. One of the good guys.

yrs,
     Peter B.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2008, 08:41:25 AM »
Hi Peter - I hadn't heard that before about Willie Trice influencing Fuller. Bruce Bastin in Red River Blues discusses how the Trice brothers and Fuller only got to know each after Fuller had started recording (and the same with Floyd Council). Did Willie teach him certain songs after that? I'd always thought claims about the Rev. Gary Davis' influence on Fuller were blown all out of proportion (you can hear influence in some songs in the key of A and that's about it). It seems there's much more overlap with people like Buddy Moss and the Trices. Others Bastin mentions include Josh White recordings, and refers to Willie Trice remembering Fuller sitting and learning Carl Martin's "Crow Jane" from the record.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008, 04:50:55 PM »

Offline oddenda

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008, 11:41:57 PM »
Bud -

          Fuller was a sponge! he was influenced by anyone he heard!! I remember listening to Fuller stuff and being taken with how much a couple of numbers sounded like something that Willie would have done - cannot do more than that without access to the sides (my stuff HERE is in boxes, too). It was an "ear" thing for me. Willie was influenced by family members (his mother and his uncles among them) and locals well before Fuller came to town... Richard was that much younger to have been affected by Fuller (remember the "Little Boy Fuller" soubriquet for Savoy!). Fuller certainly heard the likes of Blake, Moss, and White on record - EVERYbody did back then; I think that Davis' impact on him was notable, though - his claim that Fuller played with a bottleneck when they met and that he learned some picking (but not enough, in his opinion!) from Gary is probably accurate. Remember that the aural/oral tradition does not distinguish between sources, recorded or otherwise, and that the results are an amalgam of what went in in the first place! Lessons qua lessons were rare... one used ears and eyes to pick up what one wanted to incorporate from others.

Rivers -

          Always good to reestablish attention to Bruce's fine book, and still the only one on the broad subject out there. The original was longer and included discographies and a bibliography - e.g.: the chapter on Willie Trice was cut, later to appear in another British publication (TALKING BLUES - Jan/Feb/Mar 1978). I hopefully will get together with my stuff before I die and get my books together: Truckin' My Blues Away - Piedmont Blues in Context to be the first. All I have so far is LOTS of material and a title, so don't hold your collective breaths!!

yrs,
     Peter B.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 03:26:26 AM by oddenda »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 05:19:14 AM »
Pete, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do find the time and space to write the book, and likewise I offer a big thank you for your great contributions to weenie campbell. You have a unique perspective to share.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 06:21:30 AM »
Pete, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do find the time and space to write the book, and likewise I offer a big thank you for your great contributions to weenie campbell. You have a unique perspective to share.

Too right!  Many thanks for your fascinating contributions.

So stop staring at that kangaroo and start writing that book...
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Stuart

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 07:57:31 AM »
Pete, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do find the time and space to write the book, and likewise I offer a big thank you for your great contributions to weenie campbell. You have a unique perspective to share.

"Me three," as Curly would say. I would add that you should use the writing process as a vehicle to finish the diss at Penn. Those of us who have been there know that there's something about taking care of "unfinished business," especially of the subconscious kind. You think and work at that level, so get the piece of paper.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2008, 08:29:21 AM »
Bud -

          Fuller was a sponge! he was influenced by anyone he heard!! I remember listening to Fuller stuff and being taken with how much a couple of numbers sounded like something that Willie would have done - cannot do more than that without access to the sides (my stuff HERE is in boxes, too). It was an "ear" thing for me. Willie was influenced by family members (his mother and his uncles among them) and locals well before Fuller came to town... Richard was that much younger to have been affected by Fuller (remember the "Little Boy Fuller" soubriquet for Savoy!). Fuller certainly heard the likes of Blake, Moss, and White on record - EVERYbody did back then; I think that Davis' impact on him was notable, though - his claim that Fuller played with a bottleneck when they met and that he learned some picking (but not enough, in his opinion!) from Gary is probably accurate. Remember that the aural/oral tradition does not distinguish between sources, recorded or otherwise, and that the results are an amalgam of what went in in the first place! Lessons qua lessons were rare... one used ears and eyes to pick up what one wanted to incorporate from others.


Yes, I agree, and I don't doubt that Davis had some influence on him, it's just that there is not a lot of obvious aural evidence for this in Fuller's recordings, other than the material in the key of A (setting aside a couple of the late religious sides). The most obvious example of this is "Mamie", which is clearly like Davis' guitar part for "I'm Throwin' Up My Hands", and there are a couple earlier Fuller recordings that show this influence as well, like "Somebody's Been Playing with That Thing" or "Black and Tan". Trice talked about "Mamie" as being one of the first blues tunes he himself learned, according to Bastin's book. So there may be a chicken an egg situation here, or simply Davis showing Fuller to play a local favorite tune. But certainly the link between Davis and Fuller is clear on material like that, and Trice and Baby Tate are on record stating Davis taught Fuller to play in A (according to the liner notes to Document Vol 1 of Fuller, and I'm sure it's in Bruce's book somewhere too). But other material doesn't show any clear and obvious influence to me. Perhaps the particular rhythm of a picking pattern here and there, or an extended bass run, but very little where one could say "oh that's clearly coming from Davis". There's some stuff in G, like "Wires All Down", that sounds to me like it could have come from Davis, but there's no Davis tune or guitar idiom I can actually point to for it. If there was, then I'd think Davis might have more of a case.  ;D

But ultimately, I think too much is made of Davis' comments about Fuller, and that Fuller can occasionally be cast as a kind of "Little Boy Davis", which he ain't. That comment about slide has always been a little mystifying to me as well, given that Fuller recorded only a couple slide tunes, and just one, "Homesick and Lonesome Blues", in those first 1935 sessions. If he was merely a slide player before Davis got a hold of him, I would have thought a couple more songs might have slipped into his recording sessions.

I for one would be very interested in that Bastin chapter on Willie Trice you refer to that was eventually published elsewhere. And of course your own future chapter on him! Hell, material and a title are the hard parts - now you just have to write the damn thing...  ;D

Offline oddenda

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2008, 11:35:04 PM »
rivers, p.p., stuart -

          I appreciate the interest y'all have - main problem is that I'm here (Australia) and all my materials are in storage (in NJ). Until I have a place that will accomodate it all, I can only offer prayers to the storage gods that it's all still OK. I do have safety copies of my field recordings at the Folklife Archive of The Library of Congress, thanks to my year there with Alan Lomax (now THERE'S a story!). Hopefully my negatives are OK in storage... the rest (books, journals, papers, LPs, 45s, 78s, a.o.) should survive the more than a decade there. I do want to get stuck into the writing, but the logistics are difficult, to say the least!

bud -

          Doubtful that Gary gave formal lessons to Fuller, but he probably had some impact as Fuller blossomed as an interpretive artist. He "took" from all over the place, but he didn't copy all that often ("So Sweet, So Sweet" being an exception, being taken lock, stock, and barrel from Josh White), rather he incorporated the parts that he wanted and synthesized "Blind Boy Fuller". I suspect that it was J.B. Long, a.o. who influenced Fullers RECORDED repertoire, keeping the slide playing to a minimum. It was, after all, a commercial enterprise they were involved in and his antecedents ON RECORD didn't play slide much (Blake, Moss, White)!! Probably considered too "old time" to be featured. Remember that Long took on Fuller as a Moss replacement - and took on Moss after Fuller died. Fuller did what Fuller had to do to succeed as any poor, blind Black man would have done under those circumstances. Someday when I can unpack my Fuller CDs I'll determine which songs sound like Willie Trice numbers... or unpack my Godrich/Dixon/Rye; I think I noted in my copy.

          My friend Glenn Hinson wrote a paper (unpublished) in the 80s on how one's repertoire changed as one's potential audience expanded. Going from local community to an urban setting caused certain changes in order to appeal to the largest potential audience resulting in some aspects of performance being left aside. Seems to me that recording is yet another step away again from one's community, and that even more is "lost" when entering into that commercial realm. Of course, some had to "compromise" more than others, but all had to to some extent or another - compare McTell's commercial stuff up to 1935 to his LoC and Regal, Atlantic, and "last session" repertoire. W.E. also can confuse matters by sticking in our two cent!

          End of sermon - may the farce be with you all!

yrs,
     Peter B.

p.s. - rivers: see earlier post for correct citation for Willie Trice "chapter".
« Last Edit: November 27, 2008, 03:28:03 AM by oddenda »

Offline oddenda

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Re: Willie Trice
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2008, 03:17:32 AM »
Stuart -

          I think that I've passed my sell-by date on the dissertation at Penn - the Folklore Dept. has shrunk to a very few, and really nobody left who "knows" me: Kenny Goldstein's death essentially put paid to that. Plus all my stuff is elsewhere, as I've repeatedly whinged! I appreciate the thought, though, and the support of all you others "out there". Hopefully I'll hang on long enough... !

Peter B.

 


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