Monday, October 30, 2017

WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH LEROY CARR?

By Louis Barnewitz - International Discophile, Issue No. 3, Spring 1956

Who will tell me why the blues singer Leroy Carr always has been a step-child in the steadily growing jazz literature ? Where do we find a jazz writer or collector willing to remedy this neglect?

Apart from discographical material, nothing has been written by any ,American jazz writer about this outstanding folk singer. Maybe you have read a short article which included a very important discography in "The Record Changer" of May 1947, written by the English collector and writer, Albert J. McCarthy, or an article in the English magazine "Jazz Journal" a couple of years ago. Besides, you may have had the opportunity of reading a few opinions expressed by a couple of contemporary American blues singers, but you are unable to look up as much as a single article dealing with Carr's biography. Not even Rudy Blesh took the trouble to mention any of Carr's recordings in his book, "Shining Trumpets." He mentions him in passing only, and calls him great. That's all! Such negligence is unpardonable.

It was a great disappointment to me that Big Bill Broonzy, of all people, does not mention Carr in his autobiography, "Big Bill Blues. "In this connection, it is of interest to quote the remarks Big Bill made in "Jazz Record" (March 1946 issue);

"I never worked with him but I think Leroy Carr was the greatest blues singer I heard in my life. I know him from seeing him around and listening to him, and he was the best guy you ever met. "

If it is correct that Big Bill has met Carr in person and listened to him, I wonder how he could write his book without mentioning this wonderful blues singer, even if his lyrically accentuated and relaxed singing was a kind of city blues far away from the primitive and untrained blues singing, which for example, Blind Lemon Jefferson was a typical exponent. Can this be the reason why American jazz writers so entirely ignore this fascinating interpreter of the blues?

The guitarist Scrapper Blackwell accompanied Carr in his more than 120 recordings issued on the Vocalion and Bluebird labels. His playing in these records places him among the most pleasing blues accompanists, and moreover his ensemble playing with the piano-playing Carr was taken as a model, and has been imitated by lots of piano-guitar duos with varying success. A great similarity in thought and musical expression must have been a condition for the splendid ensemble playing. As this amazing oneness is apparent already in their first record, Carr's melodious composition, "How Long Blues, " it seems safe to assume that they had been playing together long before 1928, the year they started recording for Vocalion.

Besides "How Long Blues," which is one of the classic blues compositions and maybe Carr's most beautiful work, he has composed such tunes as "Blues Before Sunrise" and "When The has Goes Down. "His record-ings of these tunes as well as "Midnight Hour Blues.' and "Alabama Woman Blues, " belong to his very best vocal performances. "Muddy Water" should also be mentioned because of Blackwell's very exciting guitar accompaniment which is played with a growing rhythmical excitement.

The words in Carr's songs are not much different from the lyrical poetry in the blues sung by most of the blues singers from the South, but in Carr's melodious form of expression this simple and artless poetry seems to take on a deeper meaning. His intonation is often melancholy but never sentimental. I should think that the only objection against Carr may be that too many of his songs and compositions were built on the same themes. He often used the same theme three or four times (perhaps even more; I am not familiar with more than half of his production), and even if he chose different titles for his records and used different words, it tends to make his repertory slightly monotonous, Nevertheless, it is an incomplete collection that does not have some of Leroy Carr's recordings, and for my part, I feel that he ought to have a seat in the Library Of Congress, side by side with America's finest folk creators!

May I finally express a hope for a Long Play record comprising some of Carr's best recordings. There is no doubt that such a record would fulfill the wish of record collectors the world over, and at the same time it would widen the knowledge of the performances of one of the best blues artists who ever existed. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Manard on Moonshine, Mississippi, and Masculine Blue-Collar Gender Discourse





"I've been drinking dangerous moonshine since 6am," were the first words out of Red's mouth, as he slid into Carl's truck. The unprompted admission was Carl's first indication of what kind of day it was going to be. They were both stage hands, though Red was mostly retired at 68. Like most people in a "feast or famine" industry, odd jobs filled in the gaps. They were on their way to install a lift chair in a stairwell in the home of JR Pickett, one time concert promoter, sometimes AV contractor, most of the time crook, and all of the time son of a b---h. Carl didn't much like it, and had told Red as much, but Red insisted, and a hundred bucks was a hundred bucks. Carl was about 50, stoutly built and quiet. He could be considered handsome, in a working class way, with thick forearms and curly salt and pepper hair, worn a little shaggy. Red was tall, thin, had a shock of coarse white hair in a ponytail, and a gold tooth made more prominent by the fact that it was the only one in his mouth. Red was a constant talker." - Tony Manard

For the rest of this story, click HERE 

Album Review: Tony Manard Know Why - http://tonymanard.com

The same site, on the main page, will get you to a place where you can pick up the above album by Tony Manard, who perhaps goes around wanting to "know why" everything is the way it is. I don't "know why" that's the name of his album, but if a man was to use his intuition and intellect and think of what might be on said album, he might not be all that surprised to find six of these songs coming from Manard.  In truth, I'm no Manard expert, but like all plural beings, I possess the ability to profile and judge folks, perhaps cold-read is a more acceptable term in our times. So I make assumptions and speak truth to power despite the offensive potential to a gracious and cordial individual who seems a genuinely kind soul. 

In my own mind, "Mississippi (Why You Gotta Be So Mean?)" is the artist taking on the role of a blue-collar southerner who wants to murder his employer, yet also desires some sort of job security so that he can grow old with a little grace and get a taste of the not-so-complicated twilight of life. There is also a tinge of sympathy for the plight of the unskilled laborer (read: redneck) in today's society whose job prospects are dwindling. While it's not mentioned directly in the song, it's implied that the increasingly diversified population and economy in the southern states is going to require folks to attain a different skill set to maintain their productive status in society. Of course, many of our brothers and sisters find themselves lost and feel as if they have no options, nothing to lose, and many people go the same route of our protagonist, learning the hard way that they had more than most. I think I hear Cecil Yancy back there on a harmony, and Alice Hasen demonstrates her abilities as a catgut scraper too on the opening track.  A full length video directed and produced by Libby Brawley, one of the newer filmmakers in the Memphis-New York connection, is embedded below. 

The track that stands out to this lifelong admirer of the music of Beck and Leonard Cohen is "Track 6: B-Movie Actor," which contains lyrics that remind me of a love affair between two beatnicks.  The most interesting aspect is the rhythm and the melody and even the vocal. It's a shake up for Manard. Granted, it may be a bit groggy on the highs, but compared to the tone on the rest of the album, I'm actually quite refreshed and invigorated by its steadiness. Manard's skill as an instrumentalist cannot be denied by any sober critic, but I always felt that Robert Jr. Lockwood said it well when he said, "Don't play too much." Unlike a few other places on the album, the business of filling up the space is abandoned in favor of pedantic, progressive rhythm on this aural delight, which should not fail to peak the curiosity and interest of Manard's more dedicated following. It is notable for nothing else if not Vincent Manard's closing with the Aztec Death whistle.  It makes you feel as if things will be all right despite a lot having gone wrong.  With no more ado, enjoy the show - TDM

"Mississippi (Why You Gotta Be So Mean?)"
Tony Manard

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

When a Contrived Industry Claims to Keep Blues Alive 


[There are all sorts of Facebook pages and websites that receive tons of traffic and dollars due to their claims that their site or group does some sort of work to Keep the Blues Alive. Most folks do not care too much about this alleged work as long as it in some way invigorates the younger generations fascination with roots music, but only a few of these actually provide some sort of physical statement of achievements or offer up evidence that their work exists. Please read through this article that caught my attention and reflects some of the thoughts that swim in my head about the blues tourism industry in Mississippi, which boasts a plethora of drunken, rebel yell-infused events that do nothing to keep anything alive--much less the blues--except maybe the masculinist ego and a sense of entitlement among the privileged.  The increasing amount of hostility towards anyone or anything even attempting to engage in community uplift in any way has become quite disturbing, especially for this organization director. The claims of the blues tourism industry to be serving as some sort of positive educational and social force are growing more and more ludicrous. So be careful of who and what you support, because “The great mystery of evil is not that it persists but, rather, that so many of its practitioners wish to do so while being thought of as saints.”]   

Recent reports by the New York Times and the New Yorker revealing the “open secret” of sexual harassment and rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein going back decades may take decades to process fully. This past Saturday, the nonprofit Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked Weinstein’s membership. French President Emmanuel Macron says that he wants to revoke Weinstein’s Legion of Honor award. Just as Matt Taibbi’s attack on Goldman Sachs gave us a lasting image of Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone magazine (“a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," actress, writer, director, and political activist Sarah Polley may have given us the most indelible image of Weinstein when she says in her New York Times op-ed that he is “one festering pustule in a diseased industry.”

Jelani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker, offers us something new to consider about this ugly story. “The great mystery of evil is not that it persists but, rather, that so many of its practitioners wish to do so while being thought of as saints.” As the idiom “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” warns, beware of the champions of progressive causes with whom contact is dangerous. According to countless reports, Weinstein was apparently a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

NPQ looked at the impact the Weinstein and Bill Cosby scandals are having on philanthropy. Cobb is asking why such people consistently seek “the cloak of charity” and progressive causes to hide and then after being found out to blunt the full force of their alleged crimes.

In that light, the philanthropy can be seen as a sort of honeypot scheme, in which a concern for social issues lulls people into seeing only one side of the giver. In some cases, charity doesn’t contradict monstrosity. It enables it.

When the Times first reported about Weinstein’s depraved treatment of women, his immediate response was to write this statement, in which he inexplicably commits himself to confront the NRA, make a movie that will force Trump to “retire,” and to make good on his pledge to create a foundation to award financial scholarships to women directors at USC. This is what charity running with terror sounds like—disordered words grating on each other without the cushion of integrity. Weinstein’s brother calls this failed attempt at misdirection “utter insanity” in his interview with the Hollywood Reporter


When I heard his admission of feeling remorse for the victims and then him cavalierly, almost crazily saying he was going to go out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. It was utter insanity. My daughters all felt sick hearing this because we understood he felt nothing. I don’t feel he feels anything to this day. I don’t.

There are perhaps hundreds of NPQ stories, such as this one, that push Cobb’s complaint to the outer edge of our ability to bear it. NPQ recently wrote about miscreants in our sector that mirror Cobb’s observation that offenders such as Weinstein and Cosby “tangentially benefit groups that they’re simultaneously exploiting.”

The trope is now almost torturously familiar: the “sheltered workshop” that pays employees with disabilities a subminimum wage while paying execs generously, hiring family members into well-paid positions, and doing big business with board members. NPQ has seen this same cookie-cutter pattern in Maine and Nebraska.

At risk of blanching despair into disillusionment, we can look at corporate examples as well of using charity as a cloak, of merely consulting their own advantage in the name of philanthropy. But atrocities cannot be compared with the ethics of commerce. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to be washed and rinsed by such tame debate. Ghosts refuse to be buried until all their stories are told. Speaking the truth about the claims mounting against Weinstein’s and the entire industry’s treatment of women is a prerequisite for creating a new social order and for the healing of individual victims to begin. Perpetrators typically cannot live with the truth. Survivors of atrocities cannot live without it.—Jim Schaffer
 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Muddy Waters' Obituary

The Clarksdale Press Register - Monday, May 2, 1983

Muddy Waters, the little boy who came to live with his grandmother in Stovall in 1918 and grew up to be a blues music superstar, died Saturday in Chicago.

Waters died of "cardiac arrest" at home in the Chicago suburb of Westmont, said his manager, Scott Cameron. He was pronounced dead at 2:17 a.m. Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital in suburban Downers Grove, spokeswoman Roberta Butler said.

The rotund singer hadn't been ill and had planned to make another album this summer, Cameron said. He had earned six Grammys during his career.

Waters was born April 4, 1915, in Rolling Fork. His name was McKinley Morganfield and his father Willie Morganfield was a farmer and musician. After his mother died, he moved in with his grandmother in Stovall.

Waters received some schooling locally. He taught himself to play the harmonica at the age of nine and began singing in church choirs in the Clarksdale-Stovall area. Waters worked as a farmer in the area during the 1920s and 1930s. He began playing music in juke joints, picnics, Sunday functions, and local parties around this time. He picked up his nickname in his early days playing at fish fries and other social gatherings along Deer Creek.

Between 1940 and 1942, Waters was recorded by Alan Lomax of the Library of Congress playing and singing the blues in Stovall. The recording "Down on Stovall Plantation," was the first of many albums by the blues performer which would influence the course of modern music.

In 1943 the bluesman moved to Chicago at a time when many Southern blacks were moving to the industrialized North in search of work. By 1948, he had assembled the band that spread the sound of 12-bar, amplified Delta blues to millions of urban blacks and, 15 years later, young white rock musicians and fans around the globe. Waters' classic songs include "Hoochie Coochie Man" "Mannish Boy" "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and "Got My Mojo Working.
In 1954 he recorded a song called "Rolling Stone," which would be his most important link to the superstars of today. The song inspired Bob Dylan to write and record "Like a Rollin' Stone." Mick Jagger's English rock band named themselves after the Waters classic. The magazine "Rolling Stone," also took its name from Waters' song. Another English group — The Beatles — were also influenced by Waters' music. His early musical influences included such famed bluesmen as Son House, Charlie Patton and the legendary Robert Johnson. He frequently slid a steel cylinder along the neck of his guitar to evoke the wailing sound of the Mississippi Delta blues.

"My feelings toward Muddy is like a father, you know, and my tears have been running," said the blues singer and guitarist Buddy Guy, a Waters protege. "He's the father, one of the fathers of rock." Over the years, Waters' band brought together a constellation of blues stars, including pianists Otis Spann and Sunnyland Slim; guitarists Jimmy Rogers and Buddy Guy ; and harmonica players Little Walter Jacobs, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton and Paul Butter-field. Despite Chicago's position as the mecca of the blues world, and Waters' prominence in that world, he barely earned a living through most of the 1950s. He continued working at a paper mill — the job he took when he arrived in Chicago —and for a radio parts company while at night he played the smoky little clubs that dotted Chicago's South and West sides. 


Waters finally achieved national acclaim as part of a revival of American folk music, appearing several times at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island and the Ann Arbor (Mich. ) Blues and Jazz Festival in the early 1960s. The blues underwent a revival on college campuses and across England and Europe in the late 1960s, and white blues-rock guitarists including Eric Clapton and bands such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Yard-birds found inspiration in Waters' music. Waters "wasn't doing bad recently," Cameron said. "We were not expecting it. He was taking some time off, enjoying the fruits of his labor."

His last local appearance was two years ago at the Delta Blues Festival in Greenville. During his performance, which included the unannounced appearance of Johnny Winter, who had recently finished recording an album with the blues legend, Waters introduced his relatives still living in the Clarksdale-Stovall area to the audience. Waters is survived by his wife, Marva, three daughters and a son, four grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Muddy Waters Never Forgot Delta Roots
By James Litke

CHICAGO ( AP ) — The waters of Deer Creek, a tributary of the Mississippi River, often washed the back porch of the sharecropper's house in which Muddy Waters was born. And while the blues carried the man around the globe several times, he never forgot that his roots lay in the fertile delta nurtured by the mightiest of American rivers. Waters, the man who plugged an elec-tric guitar into an amplifier, forever changing the course of the blues and charting the beginnings of rock 'n' roll as well, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 68. "When I sing the blues, it comes from the heart," he told an interviewer several years ago. "From right here in your soul, and if you're singing what you feel. it comes out all over. "It isn't just what you're saying, it pours out of you," he continued. "Sweat running down your face." The second son of sharecropper Willie Morganfield. 

Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1915 in Rolling Fork, Miss., near Deer Creek. His nickname came from his early days, playing at fish fries and other social gatherings along the creek. As a youngster, he traveled around the black towns that dotted the delta, storing bits and pieces of what he heard in his head. I\‘ Few of the musicians who worked the Mississippi Delta had any formal training or decent instruments. But they carved a niche for themselves by stretching the 12-bar format with such innovative techniques as the bottleneck and bent note to produce a sound that would not be forgotten. The names — Son House, Charlie Patton and even the legendary Robert Johnson — wouldn't mean anything to most Americans for nearly 40 years, not until that trio, along with Waters. gained recognition during a revival of American folk music.

One man who knew those names back then, folklorist Alan Lomax, set out in search of Son House in 1941, hoping to persuade the aging bluesman to record for the Library of Congress. But when he came up empty-handed, the locals directed him to Waters, who was then working on a plantation at nearby Stovall. By 1943, Waters joined the wave of poor Southern blacks migrating northward in hopes of finding work in the large, industrialized cities of the Midwest. Within five years, he put together the band that would become the standard against which all blues would be measured. Over the years, a constellation of blues stars moved in and out of his band. Its members included pianists Otis Spann and Sunnyland Slim; guitarists Jimmy Rogers and Buddy Guy; and harmonica players Little Walter Jacobs, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton and Paul Butterfield.

But first there was a problem to overcome. We were playing acoustic instruments in a lot of little clubs where the people were so loud you couldn't hear anything," Waters recalled. "So we got the idea of plugging into the electricity. And the people liked that right away.. They'd be dancing and having a good time." But despite Chicago's position as the mecca of the blues world and Waters' prominence in it, he only eked out a living through most of the 1950s. He worked at a paper mill and for a radio parts company, all the while playing the smoky little clubs that dotted Chicago's impoverished black South and West sides. The Chess brothers' takeover of the Aristocrat label for which Waters had been recording, boosted his career, popularizing such classics as "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Sail On," "I'm a Rolling Stone," "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and and "Got My Mojo Working."

In 1962, the Rolling Stones rock group named themselves after their hero's song, and his own fortunes were on the rise. Waters rose to national acclaim as part of a revival of American folk music, appearing several times at the Newport (R.I. ) Jazz Festival and the Ann Arbor ( Mich. ) Blues and Jazz Festival through the 1960s. During this period he also performed at New York's Carnegie Hall. The blues underwent a revival on college campuses and across England and Europe in the late 1960s, with white blues-rock guitarists like Eric Clapton and bands like the Rolling Stones. Led Zeppelin and the Yardbirds finding their initial inspiration in Waters' music. Waters became a fixture on the worldwide pop concert circuit, and he continued to turn out albums. In the last five years, Waters' age forced him to curtail what had been a busy and profitable concert schedule. But many of his disciples, notably Guy, Butterfield and Junior Wells, carried on Waters' tradition. His songs appeared routinely in reworked form on rock albums throughout the 1970s. "My feelings toward Muddy is like a father, you know, and my tears have been running," said Guy. "...It makes me sad to think there are few people around like Muddy left. It makes people like Junior and I wish we could have that kind of influence."

And Johnny Winter was there sometimes too, often with his huge amplifiers, which banished  all desires for dextrous nuance on the guitar to a realm far away, and of course, much quieter.

Friday, October 13, 2017

"Area History Rich in Musical Traditions" by Sid Graves 1978

Sid Graves - November 14, 1978 - Clarksdale Press Register  

A rich aspect of Clarksdale and Coahoma County's history is that of its music. Natives of the city and county, as well as those who have visited and performed here and the surrounding Delta, have contributed to the blues musical tradition which has reached beyond regional borders to influence the other uniquely American music forms of jazz and country, in addition to rock and roll, pop, and western music.

From blues popularizer W. C. Handy who relates in his autobiography that he first heard the blues fourteen miles from Clarksdale) to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and others, the area has been prominent and includes talents as diverse as B. B. King, Mississippi John Hurt, Sam Chatmon, Ike Turner and white bluesman Mose Allison of Tippo.

The heritage of the blues ( from "blue devils" ) is competently treated by folklorist William Ferris in his recently published Blues from the Delta.
 
A native of Vicksburg, Ferris is the founder and co-director of the Center of Southern Folklore in Memphis, and associate professor of Afro-American Studies at Yale. Currently on a European tour for the U. S. Department of State, he will assume duties as director of the Center for Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi next year. His films, recordings and photographs on Southern Folkways, artists, musicians and craftsmen have helped preserve for posterity ways of doing things and being that are rapidly disappearing. ( His exhibit on folk architecture is scheduled for a 1981 showing at Carnegie Public Library.

Ferris has also recorded three albums of Delta bluesmen, and his record of Mississippi mule trader Ray Lum is a fine example of the use of oral history to record and enrich our understanding of the American heritage. The young folklorist, who received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, has published numerous articles on the blues, and this book is a more detailed treatment of the subject which was published in his book of the same title in England in 1970. 
 
Blues from the Delta is based on inter-views with the individuals who make and perform the music. In 1967, Ferris began his research, the methods of which are related in this illustrated volume and which were described as "past strange" by a fellow white Mississippian.

Living with the families of the subjects of his study resulted in friendships which are illustrated with letters and photographs. More importantly, the completed book is an accomplished document of the blues history and our social history. 
 
Bluesmen, such as Pine Top Johnson and Jasper Love of Clarksdale, were interviewed, and the transcript of a "house party" held in Clarksdale is included in the work. While B. B. King is achnowledged for his important assistance in the book's preparation, it is the lesser-known Delta bluesmen who are treated more fully and to whom the work is dedicated. These included Shelby "Poppa Jazz" Brown, Wallace "Pine Top" Johnson, Lee Kizart, Jasper Love, Maudie Shirley and James "Son" Thomas.

These performers and others recall their experiences and interpret the blues in their own language as Ferris includes transcripts of interviews as well as sections on the roots and the composition of the blues.

Interesting chapters on bluesmen and preachers, verses, proverbs, audiences and other subjects reveal a keen appreciation of the music. A helpful bibliography, discography and filmography are also included. Clarksdale is frequently mentioned in the book, and there are photographs of this city, Lula, and the performers from the vicinity.

While some may object to the rough language contained in the publication, the many devotees of the blues and admirers of its performers and the history of their important music will rejoice and enjoy.
 
Blues from the Delta is available at the public library and the local bookstore. Persons wishing to check copies out may telephone 624-4461 to place their name the request list.

The sixty-minute videotape Good Mornin Blues, produced by the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television and narrated by B. B. King, is available for individual or group viewing at the public library. A series of films made by William Ferris will be shown at the branch library at dates to be announced in the future.

 

The Disappearance of Robert Petway: A New Theory


By Jason Rewald - first published in 2011 for American Blues Scene


Robert Petway, a blues musician from the 1930’s and 40’s, is known primarily for one thing: penning the great “Catfish Blues”, one of the most prolific songs in blues history, influencing Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix and countless others.

Very little is known about Robert Petway’s life. It has been said that he was born around 1908, around Yazoo City, most likely on the J.F. Sligh Farm. This information is largely accepted, as his closest friend, Tommy McClennan, was born at this location. All other information, including the cause, location, and time of his death, are unknown. All that is known for certain is this: Robert Petway recorded 16 songs, and only has one known photo taken around 1941 as a record company publicity shot.

However, after researching Petway for some time, I have formed a new theory.

With little to go on, I began by researching Robert Petway’s last name. Although by today’s standards this might seem like a fairly common name, in the early 1900’s, it was anything but common. In fact, when searching Census Records, there is only one African American Petway living in all of Mississippi in 1920. Even he was born in Alabama. By 1930, not a single Petway resides in Mississippi (according to the Census Records). 
While doing other research on other blues stars of the day, I came to see patterns. A common pattern I tend to see has to do with last names. Usually, one can find family with the same surname in or around the area where these stars where presumably born. If Robert Petway was indeed born in Mississippi, then it becomes somewhat safe to assume you would find other family members – parents, spouses, siblings, etc – also in the area, or at least the state. This was obviously not the case. Though our blues stars loved to ramble, travel, and never settle down, usually the parents – sharecroppers, laborers, etc – didn’t move around much. So I expanded my search.

Turns out the name Pettway (note the extra “T”) does have historical significance. Gee’s Bend, also known as Boykin, is a very poor tenant community on Alabama. It lies on the edge of the Black Belt in Wilcox County. It is named after Joseph Gee, a planter, and the first white man to settle in the area. In 1845, this land was sold to Mark Pettway to settle a $29,000 debt. About a year later, in 1846, the Pettway family moved from North Carolina to Gee’s Bend, bringing with them over 100 slaves. When the slaves were freed, many of them stayed, continuing to help the Pettways as sharecroppers, planters, and laborers. A lot of these ex-slaves took the surname Pettway or a derivative of it. In fact, Arthur Rothstein, credited with photographing many of the black tenants of Gee’s Bend as hired by the Resettlement Administration, noted that most of them had the last name Pettway or Petway. 

Pettway Plantation, Gees Bend, Alabama
In fact, I believe that Robert’s Father, Tom Petway, lived with his uncle Robert (listed at “Robt.” on the 1880 Census Record) in Gee’s Bend, and worked as a sharecropper after the Pettway family took over in 1845. The Census Record I uncovered shows a young Tom, age 10, living with his Uncle Robert and his family. The record shows “Rehoboth Beat” in Wilcox as the area he lived in. The Rehoboth Beat covered Gee’s Bend.

Though I have no outstanding proof, I believe that Robert Petway, our famous author of “Catfish Blues”, was born in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. I believe his father, Tom, got into the sharecropping business as he became older. He fathered a son, Robert, who stayed in Gee’s Bend and learned to farm cotton, among other things. On the Census Record I found for Robert, it shows him at age 12 (born October 18th 1907) living in Gee’s Bend with his father Tom, a farmer. It also shows a sister, Idenia, living with them. Could it be that Robert Petway, whom we love and adore, was named after Tom’s uncle with whom he lived with? A 1920 Wilcox County, Alabama Census listing Robert Petway, second from the bottom.

Any way you slice it, Gee’s Bend was not the best place to be. It was isolated. It had a ferry come from time to time, but the ferry was unreliable. The town was poor, and falling apart. In about 1932, the Red Cross started to help Gee’s Bend with public assistance. Being as bad as it was, many of the younger residents, who did not have a personal stake in Gee’s Bend, began to leave. In 1932, Robert Petway would have been about 25 years old, a prime age to leave the failing town of Gee’s Bend.

I believe it was around this time that Robert fled to Mississippi, not for the love of music, but for his ability to farm. The rumors of ever fertile soil and the ability to buy land in the Mississippi Delta would have made it an appealing prospect. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that you could buy the land in Gee’s Bend. I believe Robert left to do what he knew best: make a better living farming. This excursion took him to the J.F. Sligh Farm in Yazoo City. I believe this is where he may have met – or reunited – with McCelnnan. But I think McClennan was more than a friend. I think he was his musical mentor. Robert Petway most likely was a farmer by day, and learning the blues and playing parties by night.

After a few years playing music in the Delta, Robert Petway headed north to Chicago in 1939. This much we know to be true – he, in fact, recorded for Bluebird in Chicago in 1941. Not to mention, by 1939, McClennan was already in Chicago, and it’s more than likely that Robert Petway went to join him.

I believe Petway never left Chicago after traveling north. After all, why would he? Life in the north, though often tough, was far better than life in the south at that time. Work paid better, apartments and living arrangements were often better. What small town farming boy wouldn’t want to stay in Chicago? Even Honeyboy Edwards recalled Petway staying on the North side of Chicago, and never being heard from again. In my opinion, Robert Petway died in Chicago, in Cook County, on May 30th 1978. There are both national and state death index records stating as much.

Some other interesting facts?

Honeyboy Edwards recalled Petway talking about living and farming in Blythville, Arkansas. Petway was from Boykin, Alabama.

If Robert Petway arrived in MS around 1932, and left by 1939, there would be no Census Record of him living in MS.

It is also rumored that Petway once played the Three Forks Bar, where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson was allegedly poisoned.

The one known photo of Petway depicts him in rural farming attire. Even his traveling buddy McClennan borrowed a suit for his own photo. I believe Petway wore this outfit because it is what he was used to wearing – he was, after all, a farmer.

With so little to go on, no one will ever know for sure. However, in my opion, Robert Petway was born October 18th 1907 in Gee’s Bend Alabama to sharecropping parents. He left Gee’s Bend around 1932, and headed to Mississippi to farm. I believe he met, learned from, and played with Tommy McClennan, before heading to Chicago in 1939. After recording for Bluebird in 1941, he would later die May 30th 1978.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

David Evans' Letter about "Yazoo County Blues" Issue


Dear Living Blues,

I was pleased to see the the feature articles on “Yazoo County Blues” in the latest Living Blues (#249, Vol. 48, no. 3, June 2017), particularly the very detailed history and overview of the county’s blues activity by Jim O’Neal and the lengthy profile of Jimmie Holmes by Scott Barretta, as well as the reports of other performers who are active today. I was surprised though that no one from Living Blues asked me for input, as, to the best of my knowledge, I made the first documentary recordings of blues in the county back in 1966. 

In the spring of that year Skip James stayed for a few days with me and Al Wilson when he was in Los Angeles for some concerts at the Ash Grove. We took the opportunity to interview him, and I asked him about other blues artists who might be still active in his home town of Bentonia. I was planning a field trip to Mississippi that summer and was interested to find out to what extent Skip was a unique and individual musical “genius” or whether his blues were part of a local or regional tradition. I heard many elements in Skip’s lyrics and melodies and even occasionally in his guitar playing that were shared with other blues musicians, and I wanted to compare his music to that of other local players. I knew that Gayle Dean Wardlow had contacted Henry Stuckey the year before. Stuckey was an artist that Skip often mentioned as an influence and musical partner, and of course I wanted to meet and record him. Skip also suggested that I look up Cornelius Bright and Bert Slater. Armed with these leads, I headed for Mississippi with Marina Bokelman in August. We met Wardlow in Jackson and drove with him up to Bentonia and nearby Satartia on September 2, only to find out that Stuckey had passed away earlier in the year. I had no luck catching up with Slater in 1966 or in later visits to Bentonia, although he was around. In any case, I heard that he had joined the church and given up blues. We had better luck finding Cornelius Bright, and on September 6 Marina and I recorded him in Bentonia at a session that turned into a somewhat raucous house party. Toward the end of the session a blind man wandered in and sat in on a couple of songs with harmonica. I asked someone his name and was told Robert Sims, but I believe that was the name of the person I asked or of someone else in the room and that the harmonica player was actually Benjamin “Bud” Spires. He sounds very much like Bud, whom I would meet and record later, and at the end of the session he gave me an account of how he had come to be blinded that was very similar to the story Bud would later tell me. Contrary to what Jim O’Neal reported as told to him by Jimmie Holmes, Bud told me he went blind gradually as a result of the unsafe handling of chemical fertilizer on his job.

Cornelius was very helpful and seemed to take an interest in my research, as he invited us to come back the next evening and record an older friend of his who was still very active in music. I came back alone on September 7, and Cornelius took me out in the country to meet and record Jack Owens. Jack was a major discovery, an artist comparable to and contemporary with Skip James, performing in a similar style though more “country” and less polished. His music confirmed that Skip was both a “genius” and deeply embedded in a local tradition. I returned to Bentonia in 1967 and recorded Jack Owens again, and this time two more guitarists showed up and played a few pieces, Robert Rouster and Roosevelt Grays. They were typical of the sort of local player who can perform one or two pieces with a moderate degree of competence but who is not too serious about music and is more interested in drinking and acting rowdy. Jack later told me that both men came to bad ends. Meanwhile in Chicago, on May 12, 1966, Pete Welding recorded an artist from Yazoo County named John Williams, who performed a version of “Rather Be the Devil.” Rouster, Grays, and Williams can be added to the list of artists from Yazoo County in Jim O’Neal’s survey.

In 1969 and 1970 I returned to Bentonia and recorded Jack Owens with Bud Spires. I continued to visit and record Jack from time to time, sometimes alone and sometimes with Bud, especially after I relocated to Memphis in 1978, but I didn’t record any new artists in the area until July 22, 1984, when I recorded five songs at the Blue Front Cafe from Jimmie Holmes and his brother John Holmes on electric guitars with Bud Spires on harmonica. I thought these were the first recordings of Jimmie, whom I had met a few years earlier through Jack, but I later found out that Jimmie had been recorded for Wolf Records in 1981. By the late 1970s other researchers and fans had begun to visit Bentonia after hearing some of the recordings I had made earlier and issued on LPs. After this I continued to document Jack’s music up until his death in 1997 and accompanied him on his two European festival appearances and his trip to Washington to accept a National Heritage Award. My activities with Jack are described in two series of my “Ramblin’” column in Blues Revue Quarterly 12-13 and 24-26.

As Scott Barretta correctly noted, “it was primarily through Owens that [Jimmie] Holmes learned the traditional repertoire of the Bentonia style,” although Holmes had also heard Cornelius, Henry Stuckey, and other local performers. Holmes very likely was impressed with the attention that Jack was beginning to get in the late 1970s and early 1980s from his recordings and an increasing stream of visitors and researchers, including Alan Lomax, who arrived in 1978 with a video crew and fully equipped sound truck. Many of these visitors would stop at the Blue Front and ask for directions to Jack’s house out in the country. Jack would occasionally stop at the Blue Front himself on his trips into town, but he rarely performed at the cafe except when visitors took him there to use it as a recording space. It’s doubtful that he ever performed a real “gig” at the the Blue Front, as he ran juke houses of his own in the 1960s and 1970s and continued to sell moonshine from his home into the 1990s, occasionally entertaining crowds of customers there. Any gig for the locals at the Blue Front would have paid little, and Jack could do much better staying home and waiting for the arrival of a busload of Japanese blues tourists. He also had a disabled wife at home, to whom he was very devoted, and wouldn’t have stayed out late playing music in town. I remember Holmes sometimes coming out to Jack’s house and observing the master musician. Jack was somewhat disdainful of the younger man's playing, but that’s no reflection on Jimmie's abilities. Jack was that way with every other musician, no doubt including myself, although at the same time he was always encouraging to those who tried to learn from him. He simply believed that no one would ever master his intricate style of playing. Skip James was the same way, though never so encouraging to his followers. And they were right! Just as Lightnin’ Hopkins played a simpler but electric version of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Honeyboy Edwards played a simpler electric version of Robert Johnson, so Jimmie Holmes was playing a simpler (and probably electric) version of Jack Owens. These simpler versions were more suited for the times in which the younger bluesmen operated.

While I enjoyed LB's Yazoo County coverage overall, I was a bit disappointed at the occasional touch of blues mythology, perhaps mixed with a bit of boosterism. The most serious example was the designation of Henry Stuckey as the “Father of Bentonia Blues” in Gayle Dean Wardlow’s article on him and on the cover of the magazine. It seems to be a characteristic of western cultures that we want to identify “father” and “mother’ figures and “birthplaces” of every cultural trait. Thus we have W. C. Handy and “Ma” Rainey as father and mother of the blues and Buddy Bolden of jazz, and every town from Tutwiler to Timbuktu is touted as the birthplace of the blues. Some years ago, when I reported the name of Henry Sloan as an early influence on Charley Patton and noted that the trail of influences ended with him (i. e., we don’t know and probably will never know who influenced Sloan), other writers began elevating Sloan to the status of “founder” or “father” of the style that Patton displayed on his recordings. It’s very convenient, of course, when the alleged "father" never made any recordings, as in the cases of Sloan, Bolden, and Stuckey. Henry Stuckey clearly was an important figure in the local music scene, as Skip James himself acknowledged, but Jim O’Neal’s survey shows clearly that there were others. Wardlow suggests that Stuckey learned the open D (or E) minor guitar tuning, which is the most distinctive feature of the Bentonia blues style, while serving in the military in France at the end of World War I. Stuckey attributed it to some soldiers he encountered there from the Caribbean. I believe this is a red herring. Blues was thriving at the professional and rural folk levels in the South by 1918, and the minor tuning is known elsewhere in Mississippi blues tradition. Its prominence in Bentonia is almost certainly a local development out of something that was already in the area. There surely were soldiers from the West Indies in both the British and French armies in World War One, even some among the American forces, but I am aware of no West Indian style of guitar music that sounds remotely like blues guitar or uses this tuning. All other African and African-American guitar styles of the early twentieth century use the western scale and harmonies that are more or less built into the instrument’s fretboard and lack the note-bending and responsorial qualities of blues guitar or the use of repeated riffs, the return to the tonic at the ends of lines, and other qualities that make blues guitar so distinctive. Wardlow offers direct quotes from Henry Stuckey that seem to confirm the Caribbean origin of this tuning. Now it is to Wardlow’s credit that he found and interviewed Stuckey and conducted the first blues research in Yazoo County, but the fact is that Wardlow did not have a tape recorder with him at this time and evidently didn’t take written notes. When I asked him in 1966 how he kept his information, he told me it was all stored in his head. I’m not certain whether Wardlow reported anything immediately in print, but the first major article about Stuckey was by "Jacques Roche" (a pseudonym for Stephen Calt) in 78 Quarterly #2 in 1968, fully three years after Wardlow’s last interview with Stuckey. Some of his information came from Wardlow, including more direct quotes from Stuckey, but most of it actually came from Skip James talking about Stuckey. However, Calt makes no mention of the Caribbean connection. If there is any Caribbean connection, we ideally need Stuckey’s exact words about his encounter in France, as well as the questions that were asked, not reconstructed quotes given from memory years later. Let’s give Henry Stuckey a place of respect in the Bentonia tradition, but I don’t think he should be called a “father” or founder.

The other thing that bothered me was Bill Steber’s statement in his otherwise excellent photo essay that Son Thomas’s “human heads and animal sculptures were modern versions of African fetish figures and talismans, suffused with spiritual power that called forth the animistic religions of the ancients.” Many of Thomas’s human heads from sun-dried clay with painted features or added objects (human teeth, marbles for eyes, pipes stuck in the mouths, cotton glued on as hair, etc.) were crude but more or less realistic sculptures, often with Caucasian features, similar to and probably modeled after busts like those of George Washington and other historical figures to be seen in public buildings such as courthouses and schools, or of figures like Beethoven sitting on the tops of pianos in affluent homes and schools. His animal and bird sculptures were similarly crude but realistic and probably modeled after knick-knacks to be found in stores and homes. I have several of his busts and bird figures like these in my own collection. Other heads had more Negroid features, and some had the back of the head hollowed out to serve as ashtrays or containers. Some were not faces but skulls, but, after all, his occupation was that of a grave digger. These latter items tended to be favored by collectors and exhibit curators for their supposedly “African” qualities, and Thomas was encouraged (and sometimes well paid) to concentrate on this side of his repertoire. Without denying African influences on his sculptural (and musical) style, we should be very cautious about attributing an African meaning to these artistic products, especially as Thomas himself never expressed anything of this sort.

Once again, congratulations to Living Blues and the authors for this special edition on Yazoo County blues.

David Evans

After reading this letter, one man from Greer, SC write

"It has been my experience, the further we get in time and space from the actual events the more of the true essence of what happened in our experience gets lost to those who see it all in hindsight. They never walked the land with the those we knew, saw these people as they spoke of their lives, performed their art, were themselves, shared their views on life as it unfolded before us. The longer you spent with each person, the more insights were revealed. Those insights are not often available later on unless completely documented. When I heard some of the artist Dr Evans recorded from the region it immediately became clear that Skip James was the product of a local environment, that he did not incubate this unique style in a some sort of vacuum.

Having been part of a few different local music scenes over the past 7 decades the factors that shape those scenes and produce local artists differ but one that remains true is that one or more artists may emerge as stars from any scene and go on to greater notoriety.They are not necessarily the best but those best able to cut ties and move on. Those who remain may not grow beyond a certain point and either remain known only in their community. This can have a stifling effect on them combined with other influences and events that prohibited them or caused them to make conscious decisions to not pursue further careers. This kind of thing can only be annotated and not known, Thank you Dr. Evans for sharing from your extensive experience and enlightening us on this important history."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Roosevelt Graves: Last Days on the Gulf

The Obituary of Henry Stuckey:

The Obituary of Henry Stuckey:
By Jacques Roche (Stephen Calt) for 78 Quarterly in 1968

The military marker of Henry Stuckey at
Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, 

 Bentonia, Yazoo County, Mississippi
Today's strange state of affairs, which brings the rural blues singer acclaim for ethereal but earthy qualities he never intended to cultivate, and then gives him a commercial brush-off, prevented the public recognition due Henry Stuckey before his death on March 9, 1966. 

Referring to the gushy compliments and reviews that have beset him since his rediscovery, Skip James once remarked: "You can't live off air puddings. Henry knows that, too; he's too smart for these slicks who talk you into studying the music racket again." At Mr. Criswell’s plantation in Satartia, Mississippi, where Gayle Wardlow dis-covered him early in 1965, Henry Stuckey both laughed off and shrugged at the concert success of his former protege, matter-of-factly commenting: "I can play just like him."

Henry Stuckey, according to one who saw him play, had a "beautiful, deep voice, but was so ugly I couldn't bear to watch him long." Although it is difficult to asses the worth of a bluesman whose music was never made public, Stuckey's reputation was such that H.C. Spiers, when interviewed by Wardlow, still remembered him from the 1920's. Even at that, none of his discoverer's overtures to record companies produced an encouraging response.

"How old is this singer? In his sixties?" an Electra secretary peevishly wanted to know. "Well, we can’t speculate on every kid that comes along with a tape recorder; we backed one kid once and he never found a single blues singer. Send a tape." Since word got around that the Library of Congress' unctuous impresario paid only in cokes, blues singers have also been unwilling to speculate on the promise of 'sending a tape'. On the premise that even a `has-been' country blues artist merits closer scrutiny than any would-be blues ' interpreter', the following data in regards to Stuckey has been compiled by Gayle Wardlow and myself.

Henry Stuckey, born in the 1890’s, saw his first guitar in 1904. A year later, he took up that instrument.  Between 1907 and 1909, the young Skip James wandered into a Bentonia Jukehouse to watch Stuckey and an older musician, Rich Griffith (also deceased), accompany a fiddler who was playing Drunken Spree. Though that title is still part of James repertoire, Stuckey had completely forgotten it some 55 years later. Upon his return from the war in 1917, Stuckey taught James how to play guitar. The style he is said to have shown Skip was built around ragtime pieces like Salty Dog ("The old version") and Stack 0 Lee, all played in the key of G. Soon, Stuckey was pirating Skip out of his house at night, when, unbeknownst the James family, the pair played in nearby barrel houses. Stuckey, who towered over his young partner, served as a general bodyguard at such times.

Jimmy "Duck" Holmes at the grave of Henry Stuckey in 2017
As many as a dozen musicians worked around the Bentonia area during that period (Stuckey himself had a brother, Shuke, who “played better than Henry did.”)  "I’d follow them like the pied piper, all over town," Skip reports. James learned some local pieces, including a version of Slidin’ Delta ("They’d have a real deep, sad sound even when they were rapped or frailed"), and then quit playing guitar for a year to "study" what he had seen and learned. From that point on James's music—such as his early composition, All Night Long—started .coming from "within," though some songs, like I Looked Down the Road, still retain an older, possibly local, touch.

The school of blues-playing developed by James on his Paramount recordings could be designated “Bentonia,” for Skip, now falsely billed as a “Delta” bluesman, adhered to no distinct regional style: e.g. Delta. Only James and Blind Joe Reynolds, among the blues singers who count, were so musically isolated. Both men were among the most eclectic of blues singers. Whereas some blues singers like Tommy Johnson (whose Coal Black Mare, a piece in Spanish tuning, was learned by Skip appeared in nearby Flora during the early 1920s, the music played by Skip and Henry Stuckey never spread out of Bentonia. Within Bentonia, both James and Stuckey set out to destroy all their competition.

These two men performed whenever Skip happened to be in town. ("I never got into anything or anyplace too deep or long; that's why I reckon they call me Skip.") Both picked their Stella guitars with three fingers and played in cross-note' tuning. When the first country blues records came out, they “studied” some of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s pieces, as well as those of later artists (like King Solomon Hill), but only for the purpose of “playing them better.” Today, Skip will reluctantly perform a few such acquired pieces, like Jack O’ Diamonds.

In neighboring towns like Pocahontas, James was not adverse, Stuckey recalled, to singing his blues on Saturday night and going "up the road" to preach on Sunday.  Neither married man stayed home at night: "We treated our wives in any kind of way," said Stuckey. Both readily acknowledged their excessive drinking: "I was trying to be a 'man,’ so quite naturally I was a habitual drunkard," James said.  According to James, Stuckey was an expert and wily crapshooter: “I never would join a game with Henry when he shot those craps with strangers.” In his own right, Stuckey was an entrepreneur who would, rather than hire himself out to house parties (at which food and admission prices made up the musician's fee), rake in the entire profit from his own parties in Sartartia. “He’d do most anything to get out of work. Henry always liked to take it easy—you'd always find him out hunting or fishing somewhere."

Stuckey, in turn, when asked if Skip worked as a youngster, replied, "His mother sure did. Hah!" The personal attitude of each rediscovered man towards the other was totally patronizing, and somewhat conspiratorial in matters pertaining to music and other Bentonians. Skip, when referring past local violence directed against himself, would validate his remarks by saying: "Henry Stuckey could tell you about it." Stuckey, on the other hand, would only snicker at Wardlow's then-relayed accounts.

Even when James made the Bentonia scene, their respective sidelines often sundered the pair. However, Stuckey was able to con-firm the fact that Skip's Cherry Ball was composed at his Grafton session. He was familiar with many of Skip's compositions, like Cypress Grove and Devil Got My Woman, a piece he said had been once known locally as Devil's Dream. He remembered Skip's unrecorded Crow Jane and Catfish ("an old song") from the 1920's. Of Special Rider, he said: "A woman died while singing that song." While Stuckey knew little about the development of Skip's piano style, he sometimes backed up his piano-playing on guitar.

During the 1930s, Stuckey ran a barrelhouse in the Mississippi Delta ("He got as far as Belzoni," said Skip). At that time, he met Charley Patton, whose style, he, unlike James, personally appreciated.

In 1935, James came back from Texas and happened to pass by a party at which Stuckey was playing. Although Skip had, for the most part, quit playing blues since his recording session, he teamed up with Stuckey that night. Earlier that same day, Stuckey said, someone had recorded him. No record of a Stuckey session exists. James remembered that particular house party, but maintained that his own involvement was minimal and that, not having wished to "make a show" or intrude on Stuckey's performance, he tactfully waited until other Bentonians threw a party in his honor before playing in public.

James soon went on to Alabama but, in the late 1940s, returned to Bentonia with his second wife, and once again took up blues-singing with Stuckey. Henry s cousin, "Sport" Stuckey, threw parties every Friday night at which the two entertained, while James' cousin, Lincoln (Buddy) Polk of Yazoo, ran a cafe in Bentonia which featured both men. Another cousin of Stuckey’s, Burd Slater, also played locally and performed some of their songs, although James reports that he had a predilection for "Muddy Waters’ stuff."  Stuckey and James also accepted invitations from friends to play for nearby Delta parties. Once, Stuckey recounted, both men saw Kid Bailey playing in a Delta barrelhouse, though the incident is not remembered by Skip.

Soon, Stuckey was advising James to go up North, where musical opportunities seemed greater. To James this meant living in a 'reprobated’ city like Chicago which he felt should be ‘wiped off the map'. Nevertheless James, who disliked his job residency in Sartartia, suddenly left with his wife in the early 1950s. Yet, tiring of the travelling required of a musician, he then abandoned-his-brief comeback altogether. Stuckey in turn went up to Omaha and found work as a band guitarist. They never met again.

At the time of his discovery by Wardlow, Stuckey was living in a barren, one-room shack with his wife, daughter, and grandchild. ("I imagine his luck must have struck tough in the North.") Blandly, Stuckey indicated that his Delta barrelhouse operation had netted him more money than his Omaha career. Despite a plantation strike in ‘tense’ Leland which took place at the time of one interview, Stuckey remained characteristically relaxed. His affable and reserved demeanor suggested that of a Delta rather than a Yazoo County resident. In discussing his erstwhile friend; the older man didn't seem to believe in or comprehend Skip's transformation from his comprehend days on the Whitehead plantation. Just the same, Stuckey, while lacking James' ambition to travel, record, and take up the ministry, nevertheless exhibited the same detachment from his surroundings and contemporaries which made Skip, by his own description, "an odd fellow.'

Puffing on a cigar, Stuckey, who had kept up with James' career through the `grapevine' (Skip's cousin in Yazoo), stated, " I' like to meet him again. I was up in the Delta in the fifties and heard somebody playing .22-20 in a house. When I went inside, I only found a phonograph record." 

Skip James, who "wouldn't play in Bentonia again for $10 a minute," had, just before receiving news of Stuckey.'s death, been discussing an eventual visit to Sartartia to see him.

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