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If I was to have just one wish and I knew that wish was to come true, I would wish... I would wish that everyone in this world would love me just like I love everyone in this world. Man, what a cool world this would be! - Mississippi John Hurt, quoted by Dick Waterman, Sing Out! , February/March 1967

Author Topic: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues  (Read 1104 times)

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Offline WayneS

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On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« on: July 21, 2013, 10:22:11 PM »
Lap steel bluesman Sonny Rhodes, of the San Francisco Bay area, explaining why he wears a turban:

"I went bald at age 27," he says. "(Because) back then, most black entertainers used to wear this process stuff. They put this straightener in your hair. So you boiled up some potatoes and a half a cup of lye, and take a little axle grease, and put all that stuff together. Whip it up for a while and put it on your head. It lasts for a little while, but in the end, it gets you."

Now, there WERE a lot of old-time bald bluesmen.    Any chance this would improve our music?

Offline Bald Melon Jefferson

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 09:18:54 AM »
Not if I am any indication. ( Although lacking a "full-head-of-hair me" as a scientific control, there's no sure way of knowing). ???
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Offline Mike Billo

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 06:01:30 PM »

  I was playing Bass with Sonny Rhodes in the late '70's.

  He was a good guitar player and singer, but decided to "re-invent" himself with a lap steel (Which has never been commonplace in the Blues) and a Turban....and it worked. He had an "act" instead of being just another good guitar player (which there was a plethora of in Oakland at the time)
  A very nice fellow.
  Sang the theme to the Joss Whedon, Sci-Fi TV series, "Firefly"

  There's an interesting observation about hats in Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments for Guitar Players. The "hat" commandment is #10
http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2009/03/captain-beefhearts-10-commandments-of-guitar-playing.html


Offline Mr.OMuck

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On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 06:31:25 PM »
I thought Van Vleit was smarter than his commandments seem to indicate...hmmm, one never knows do one?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Rivers

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 06:48:28 PM »
The first post contains a good quote for the oracle, consider it stolen.

Not that it proves anything either way but I thought it would be fun to pull all the hat quotes from out of the quote oracle contributed by weenies over the years. Apart from these, I also remember Jerry Ricks telling a story about a young player, '? he had the hat?', going on stage before an ancient blues icon. It never made it to the quotes database and should have, I must fire up the cassette recorder and get it immortalized. So here are the current hat quotes that appear from time to time:

[Bull City] Red pulled his hat down over his eyes and said to her, "Cora Mae [Fuller's wife], I didn't get but one letter from you when I was in Virginia." To which [Blind Boy] Fuller replied, "Well, that was one too many." -  Bull City Red, from an article about Richard Trice by

If you don't give me my hat I will blow your brains out - Stack Lee Shelton told Billy Lyons, eyewitness George McFaro's account in Stagolee Shot Billy, Cecil Brown

Gentlemen: whenever you see a great big overgrown buck sitting at the mouth of some holler, or at the forks of some road, with a big slouch hat on, a blue celluloid collar, a celluloid, artificial red rose in his coat lapel, a banjo strung across his breast, and a-pickin' of Sourwood Mountain, fine that man, gentlemen, fine him! For if he hasn't already done something, he's a-going to. - Josiah Combs, quoted in Old-Time Mountain Banjo

One day a man wearing a Western-style hat with a red bandanna around his neck walked into our store and announced that he was Jelly Roll Morton, the greatest stomp and blues piano player this side of New Orleans. Cassius Clay had nothing on Jelly Roll! - Lester Melrose, comparing Jelly roll Morton to a young Mohammed Ali

Always keep your hat on. You know back in those days there was quite a lot of jealous guys in the audience and sometimes you have to run. But, If you got your hat on your head and you have to run, you know you left the house with it - Mississippi John Hurt giving advice to Archie Edwards

I saw some cross-eyed people, I saw a man was so cross-eyed that when he cried tears ran down his back. I saw a man, Bill, with his eyes so near the top of his head, when he get ready to see he had to pull off his hat - Sonny Boy Williamson on cross-eyed people

The penciled message on his hat, too, suggested some of the delight with life that has given to his blues their warmth and vitality: KID FURRY - Have Gun Will Travel - Sam Charters in the booklet accompanying the 1960 Folkways LP

Get your hat, get your coat, get shakin' on down the line - Henry Thomas, Texas Worried Blues
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 07:09:30 PM by Rivers »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 02:36:55 AM »
I didn't know Cassius Clay played the piano ....


*runs*

Offline harriet

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 05:06:07 AM »
Could that be Cassius Clay Senior the quote refers to?

Offline oddenda

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2013, 11:47:17 PM »
Sonny Rhodes decided to dump the turban after 9-1-1. Too dangerous in The States, as many a Sikh has found out.

pbl

Offline Rivers

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 07:44:06 PM »
Could that be Cassius Clay Senior the quote refers to?

Definitely.

Offline Stuart

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Re: On the necessity of wearing a hat to play blues
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 11:39:56 PM »
One day a man wearing a Western-style hat with a red bandanna around his neck walked into our store and announced that he was Jelly Roll Morton, the greatest stomp and blues piano player this side of New Orleans. Cassius Clay had nothing on Jelly Roll! - Lester Melrose, comparing Jelly roll Morton to a young Mohammed Ali

He's referring to Cassius Clay / Mohammed Ali and his "I am the greatest" routine form his earlier pro boxing days.

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