I went to Duke in the early 90s, and worked at Brueggers Bagels on 9th St. every morning while I was in school. David was there first thing every morning, before anything else on the street was open. He never asked for anything more than a cup of water. I'd ask if he wanted a coffee or a sandwich, and he always shyly turned it down. I remember going outside on my lunch breaks, to the sound of his fiddle floating up from somewhere down the street. The city of Durham eventually chased all the homeless people out of the area. Yes, there were some aggressive panhandlers in the area, but David was never one of them. He disappeared. I always wondered where David went. About 10 years later, I had a job at NCSU, and found him again on Hillsborough St. It was clear no one was home, he usually just shuffled up and down the street carrying his violin. I saw this in my news feed this week, and sobbed. I realized all those years, he touched so many souls, and I never asked the man for his name. May you rest in peace David, and I know the music in heaven is all that much brighter for your presence.
I sincerely hope the statue happens and want there to be a link / address for donations!
A fine story but one correction: Pattie and I were not married in the 70s when we performed with David as Triangle; our wedding was in 1982 (and we're still married).
Yes I will miss him and his music. I did not know about his run for Senate, but it makes a certain amount of sense as does his disappointment. Rest in peace David, you made a difference.
INDY Week, how do I donate to the statue fund???
A beautifully written article. For several years I spent many afternoons with David when he came to Mitch's Tavern after playing on Hillsborough St. I would greet him with "Oh pain in my ass", always getting a laugh. I threw his creamers to him baseball style. Did well. I only missed once, hitting a beer tap and spraying him and one other. He laughed and laughed. We were always talking about politics and baseball. I know of no one who got so much pleasure from life. There is some fine fiddling going on somewhere and may he be in a better place and I hope there is some baseball there for him.
The word "appropriation" in this article is used in a negative sense, leading one to think that singers such as Elvis Presley were stealing music they performed. This reminded me of a youtube video playing Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" back to back with Elvis' version and stating that "Elvis stoled the song." Actually the song writers, Leiber and Stoller, made much more money from Elvis' version than they did from Big Mama's.
If anything, Elvis' versions of songs from earlier records made many more music buyers aware of artists like Big Mama -- and, for example, Arthur Crudup, Roy Brown and Junior Parker -- I bought records by all of these great artists because Elvis' recordings brought those artists to my attention. Otherwise, it's likely that I would never have heard of them.
I'm sure that it wasn't intentional, but if there's any stealing going on, it's by Indy columnist Allison Hussey who didn't think about the implications of her indicating that her "guitar teacher Max Drake" gave her "a CD-R of Thornton's 'Hound Dog: The Peacock Recordings.' " Burning a CD-R actually eliminates any chance a recording artist (estate or owner) has of collecting any artist royalties from their work.
When introduced to other artists like "Memphis Minnie and other lesser-sung heroes," hopefully that wasn't via "artist royalty free" CD-R's as well.
FYI, the version of Hound Dog that Elvis recorded had different lyrics. They had been changed by Freddie Bell (and the Bellboys). Elvis asked Freddie for permission to record his version and that's what he did. Elvis learned of this version when he was in Las Vegas performing at the New Frontier in spring 1956. Freddie Bell was performing in the Sands lounge, which was across the street. It was Elvis' back up band that discovered this version and told Elvis about it. Elvis did know of Mama Thornton's version. The best example of singing both versions was his performance of the song on the Milton Berle show. I suggest listening to Freddie's version first, then check out the Berle version.
Great list, but not much local hip-hop! I'd throw out Izz the Unknown, who's been making the rounds in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham. Plus, looks like he's got recent collabos with Raleigh producer Sadvillain. https://soundcloud.com/izztheunknown
The Never. Haven't thought about them in ever. That song "The Astronaut" from their first record is a power pop opus.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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