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Author Topic: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)  (Read 7862 times)

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Offline wreid75

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #75 on: January 15, 2013, 08:10:00 AM »
"Now this is some sound reasoning DJ, well stated & argued.
It's a wonderful picture & we're lucky to have it but the knee-jerk impulse to see what is actually a pretty small community of musical/historical figures in every single period photo discovered or discussed is very tiring. Also slightly racist & poor academic reasoning. "

I understand the spirit in which the quote was intended but there are several people I know that are hesitant to post what they find when digging because of the instant condemnation that has fallen upon some of the newer group of researchers like Randy and Jason Rewald.  Even having someone hint at being racist is enough to keep me from posting stuff like Randy has, since even online reputations matter to all of us.  I have seen some "I'll be damned" photos the past several years out of Mississippi and North Carolina that have yet to see the light of day and likely never will.  Nice that Randy and others have the stones to put it out there and accept the criticism.

Offline CF

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #76 on: January 15, 2013, 09:12:10 AM »
Not calling anyone racist in particular but my opinion is that if every historical picture of a black man reminds so many amateur historians of the faces of the limited historical bluesmen that they are aware of then they may be guilty of thinking that all bluesmen look alike, no?

BTW, no one is condemning anyone for bringing these wonderful images to light but if the pre-war blues aficionado community can't uphold its own standard of how to discuss & understand these photos then we'd be guilty of naivety that we profess not to have in other areas of interest in the pre-war blues field.

For me, the discovery that the supposed film footage of Robert Johnson in the 1990s (?) was in fact NOT Robert Johnson was a lesson. That dude looked very similar to the RJ we know from the two famous photos, much more than any other subsequent image purported to be Johnson (& that, for me, includes the Vanity Fair Johnson photo bull). Alas, a movie poster in the background, from the early '40s, solved that mystery. We have to be very skeptical that any images we discover in the 21st century could represent the very small percentage of African American performers from the pre-war era we are aware of. I'm not saying we shouldn't speculate & we should certainly be open to finding new images of our heroes . . . I guess I just see certain people as having good judgement & others more prone to endless conjecture & debate when the evidence is not strong enough to follow those fancies.

To me, this photo contains no image of a guy who looks like our beloved Patton. I have no other reason for this then he just doesn't look him to me. Too tall, too 'white' perhaps, too unlikely.

Obviously, I have major 'Is this a photo of Johnson/Patton/Jefferson' overkill from years of seeing so many supposed historical images passed off as rare examples of our blues heroes posing for their picture, I'm probably not the best person to discuss this topic  :P

I would say though, that like the lyric deciphering that has been so successful here at WC, a consensus amongst educated & interested parties is the best way to judge the authenticity of related material.   
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline jrn

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #77 on: January 15, 2013, 10:06:09 AM »
I would have to imagine that chasing long shots are a big part of what historians do. :)

Thanks for sharing the picture Randy! I find pictures from that era very fascinating. I live between Quitman and Meridian, Ms. If I can ever be of any help, please let me know.

Jason :)
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #78 on: January 15, 2013, 11:12:38 AM »
Not calling anyone racist in particular but my opinion is that if every historical picture of a black man reminds so many amateur historians of the faces of the limited historical bluesmen that they are aware of then they may be guilty of thinking that all bluesmen look alike, no?

I'd have to say No, to this theory, cheapfeet.

I think it would be more a case of looking for similarity rather than unconsciously seeing it. It is informed theorising. The sitting man is enough like a known Patton photo to make me wonder, the preacher is enough like Gates to make me understand the similarity once it is pointed out.

Is it likely? No. Is it conclusive? No. Is it worth sharing and postulating? Yes. Definitely.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #79 on: January 15, 2013, 11:25:55 AM »
Hi all,
At the risk of seeming blunt, nothing will be moved forward in terms of knowing conclusively who and what are captured in that photograph by staring at it on our computer monitors at the Weenie site and conjecturing wistfully about recording stars who might have been there.  Feet on the ground are what is needed, as Bruce pointed out a while ago.  Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to take on that research grunt work, knowing that nothing may come of it.  And if something does come of it, what satisfaction for the person whose work has yielded some real knowledge.  I'm with dj, too, the knowledge is no less valuable if it turns out that nobody famous was in the picture.  There were known to each other in their community.  It's a piece of their lives.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Randy Meadows

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #80 on: January 15, 2013, 01:00:35 PM »
DJ, It seems like you want Blues History to stay exactly the same. No matter what it takes.
If Patton had signed the photo in blood, holding a newspaper and a guitar., you guys would say "Hmmm , it must be a different Patton".

For me, I'm not trying to please anyone. I do my research for myself. I do find joy in sharing it with folks that are interested about it... But for some reason, ya'll don't want anything new to be "discovered"...
With an attitiude like that... ("Im done talking about it."-)--I'm surprised you believe the world is round...

I'm not selling this to ya my friend... Its free...  My hard work and research of over 30 years Im sharing my results.. I dont expect anything from ya...
Ive been on the ground in the MS delta for years in courthouses and MDAH and for you to act like I just throw crap out there like I don't know what Im talking about bugs me... Because I do...

But thats okay... I do it for me first and foremost..
I'm sorry if what I find doesn't meet up with your expectations... I have friends who like what Im doing,

And Thank You to those who at least give it a chance and are willing to discuss things...
randymeadows@ymail.com
luvthatzeppelin on Youtube

Offline Cleoma

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #81 on: January 15, 2013, 01:19:06 PM »
I appreciate getting to look at this photo and share speculation -- whether it's actually Charley Patton or not doesn't really matter that much to me, although of course it would be thrilling if it somehow could be proved to be him.  That photo tells a story -- actually, any number of stories -- and as such I believe it's of value, it's a bit of a window into a faraway place and time.  THANK YOU Randy.

Offline yogi

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #82 on: January 15, 2013, 01:53:20 PM »
I appreciate you, your work and your findings a lot!
 Yogi

Offline Randy Meadows

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #83 on: January 15, 2013, 01:56:54 PM »
Thank You for saying that...
 :)
It's all good...
randymeadows@ymail.com
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Offline dj

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #84 on: January 15, 2013, 03:14:25 PM »
Randy,

First, I'd like to quote what I said back on page 3 of this thread:

Quote
...it's a beautiful picture of an event that obviously had some large significance in the lives of the people pictured.  It's worth seeing even if the guy in question is John Doe who ran a store in town.  I'm glad to have been able to see it.  Thanks for posting it.

Second, I guess I didn't express myself too clearly.  What I meant when I said "I'm done talking about it." is that, absent some kind of evidence, I'm not going to speculate on who is or is not in the photograph.  I don't mind talking for hours about details we can see in the photo, or in how one might go about chasing down more info about it and the circumstances surrounding its taking.

I certainly don't "want Blues History to stay exactly the same".  I was trained as a historian before switching careers, and have done a lot of research on subjects as diverse as how the Civil War affected the county I live in, major league baseball, and the history of the hamlet I call home.  One of my best friends is a principal researcher for retrosheet.org, an organization that's trying to provide an accurate online box score and, where possible, play-by-play account of every major league baseball game ever played.  He spends hours summing up the stats from box scores, team seasons, and league seasons and chasing down and, where possible, correcting them.  I love it that there are people out there correcting stuff that we thought we knew for a fact.  I try to do it myself when I give annual walking tours of my hamlet.

But my training, both as a historian and as an engineer, makes me keep coming back to the question of "What do we know to be true and how do we know it?"  And my understanding of human psychology makes me understand that we want to attach significance to what we see - which is why people dig up a whole lot of supposed pictures of Robert Johnson and very few of Bill Gaither or Honey Hill.   ;)  The census records, city directory listings, and death certificates you've uncovered are facts from the lives of musicians I'm interested in, and I applaud your digging them up and sharing them with us. 

But the photograph we've been discussing in this thread, as far as I know, has as yet very few facts associated with it, just an approximate date and a possible location. remember how you started the conversation:

Quote
Check out this photo...
Who does that  man sitting down look like?  ...
I have to admit that he favors Charlie Patton.

If you'd said, "I have this photograph labelled '(Semmes Chapel)  Benton County, MS near Canaan and Holly Springs...circa 1920' and I found the chapel, which still stands, and I talked to the current minister, who showed me a copy of the photograph that they have in the attic labelled 'July 14, 1919' and they still have the church register from that period and there's an entry for July 14 1919 which says "Melinda Smith of this congregation married to Charles Patton, musician of Holly Springs by visiting Rev. J. M. Gates'", I'd say "Wow, we might just have us another picture of Charlie Patton, and Rev. Gates to boot.  Excellent!" 

But absent any corroborating evidence, all we have is a picture of Semmes Chapel, on some unknown occasion around 1920.  Everything else is just wishful thinking. 

So thanks for all you do, I really appreciate both the doing of it and your sharing it here.  If you can prove that there's anyone with any relation to musical history in the photo, I'll be among those sincerely congratulating you.  But until there's something definite to be known, I'll continue to remain agnostic about the identities of everyone in the picture.             

Offline Shovel

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #85 on: January 16, 2013, 08:24:37 AM »
Also slightly racist.

had no idea the race card was in this particular deck.  >:D
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 08:26:22 AM by Shovel »

Offline CF

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #86 on: January 16, 2013, 08:41:44 AM »
Just a pet theory gents & not aimed at any soul in particular. Carry on. 
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Randy Meadows

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #87 on: January 16, 2013, 04:26:53 PM »
Does anyone have pictures of the New Jerusalem Methodist Baptist Church in Holly Springs< Ms?
just to compare the structure?

According to Terry Barkley, Living Blues Magazine #209, Oct 2010 Vol 41- Issue 5 Pgs 72-75 ...
" People believed that Charley Patton "attended and performed at the  New Jerusalem Methodist Baptist Church, Robinson Plantation,  in Holly Springs, Ms"
randymeadows@ymail.com
luvthatzeppelin on Youtube

Offline beljum

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #88 on: January 16, 2013, 04:28:02 PM »

Thanks for posting. This is a good way to generate ideas and leads. I think he looks a lot like the Patton paesano photo.

That sure does look like Gates (compare to previous post gates4.jpg). One thing for sure, if I was a professional musician back then and Gates came to town, I?d certainly brush up on my spirituals and cash in. I may even bring my wife to sing a few numbers. Maybe even a duet with Skippy.


Offline jostber

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Re: Man sitting by Preacher while everyone else stands- 1920s-(Patton?)
« Reply #89 on: January 17, 2013, 10:07:32 AM »
If this was a wedding it was very good attendance. Must been a respected man in the community at least.


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