Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Homeboy Done Done Good

'58 Reverie picture - best close up I found.

Walk With Wardlow
Originally posted on BLUES-L
Copyright 1999 by Suz ( this is who? Suzanne LeBoeuf ?)

Every once in a while you just hit one of those sweet spots in life. Happened to me last weekend. Along with several others in the Dallas area, I had the chance to spend some time with Gayle Dean Wardlow.

Without going into all the details - I found him to be one of the most endearing people I have met in a long time. I talked with him throughout the weekend about life as well as music. When he speaks - it is with passion, animation and knowledge much more so than that of the "authority" that one might expect (altho there is no mistaking that he is one in his chosen field). His book, "Chasin' That Devil Music" as many of you know, is fascinating in the aspect of documentation of the music he so dearly loves and has spent all his life pursuing.

During the course of our conversations I found out that he was born in Texas :) where his father worked on the oil rig "circuit", moving to Mississippi, and losing that father, at an early age. His initial music fascination was with Roy Acuff. He still has great admiration for the man who allowed a kid with a box full of old Acuff records backstage. They became friends and Roy eventually took him him to some of his different shows. He has many different stories about the houses he visited asking to buy old 78's which years later have accumulated into one of the largest and most valuable collections around.

Gayle also enjoys Western Swing and has a deep knowledge of that genre too. I think he would eventually like to put something together that celebrates its' history and roots. He admits to being able to play guitar, altho humbly so, stating that he cannot play well enough to keep up with any of the professionals. Says he plays best with a dobro flat in his lap :). I watched in fascination as he showed one of Dallas' incredibly talented players where to add another slap or beat to a particular song for that "delta" timing. Also dragged out of him was that he loves to write songs. Hopefully we will be able to hear some of these one day.

A collection of guitars and banjos is growing too. Windows of opportunity in the 78 trade have allowed him to accumulate 50 or 60 to this point and he is always on the lookout for more. (edited for length-DNJ)

Gayle Dean Wardlow is a prolific author of many articles chronicling the Delta Blues and of a book, "Chasin' That Devil Music - Searching for the Blues" that is considered to be the "go to" source to learn about " th' Blues".

An interesting article by Gayle Dean Wardlow: Warning it's long, but good.

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