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Post new topic Rare Buddy Emmons interview, 1972
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Author Topic:  Rare Buddy Emmons interview, 1972
scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 9:39 am    
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Buddy told the talk box story more than once online. here's what I could find:

Quote:
The first attempt ever using the talking tube was on an album Shot Jackson and I recorded at the Starday studio. The tube and box with a six inch speaker was a product of Neil Wilburn, a potential Sho~Bud amp builder at the time. Pete was doing all the Starday studio work, so when he heard we would be there he showed up, grabbed a seat, and took it all in.

I tried using the talking tube on Danny Boy but the results I got were less than ideal to my ear so I decided to scrap it until we could improve the sound. In the meantime Pete went to Bill West, who dabbled in electronics, and asked him to build something similar to what I had used only less prone to distortion. That's where the speaker driver came in.

Chapter two was when I arrived at an Anita Bryant session with my talking tube and one of the Jordanaires said, I see you've got one of those Pete Drake boxes. Pete had been wearing it out on sessions by that time so it was over for me as far as credit due so I just shook my head and used it on Hey Good Lookin. The only other song I ever recorded with the sound was Burnt Fingers sung by Wade Ray.

To add an interesting twist to the end, a few months later I was told Pete wanted to see me in his office. I'd heard he might build a few boxes and thought his conscience had taken a turn and he was going to cut me in on it. Instead, I walked into his office, where his steel was five feet from the door. I heard you wanted to see me, I said. Pete said, Yeah, would you sit down at my guitar and show me where to find the second chord to Forever. I sat down, showed him, and walked out end of story.


Quote:
The original talking steel was a Sonavox Alvino Rey used. I don't know if Alvino had anything to do with its creation, but he did make it popular through his recordings.

The talking tube was Neil Wilburn's idea. Neil was the first person to build an amp for the Sho~Bud company.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, here's "the rest of the story."

Shot and I were cutting an album at the Starday studio and I was trying to get the talking sound with tiny microphones I had turned into speakers and put in my mouth. The sounds from forming the words were louder than the talking effect so I was just about to give up when Neil Wilburn walked into the studio. Neil was an electronics man who built the first Sho~Bud amp, so his car was always full of electronic paraphernalia. He went to his car and brought a box with a six inch speaker and a hole in the top at the speaker center. I hooked the terminals to my amp, stuck a plastic hose in the hole and voila, the sound came out the tube.

The song I was going to use the tube on was Danny Boy, but because the sound wasn't coming from in back of the tongue, and the sound was distorting, it wasn't as clear as I wanted it, so I trashed the idea temporarily. Meanwhile, Pete Drake had been sitting in the corner of the studio for the entire session. The next day, he went to Bill West and Bill mounted a speaker driver in a box, which eliminated the distortion.

Pete was on fire in the studios at the time and I couldn't buy a session. I finally got a call for an Anita Bryant session and took my improved box with me. I walked into the studio and one of the Jordanaires said, "Oh, I see you have one of those Pete Drake boxes." I smiled and said, "yeah." I used it on "Hey Good Lookin" on the Anita Bryant session and "Burnt Fingers" on the Singin' Strings album, and that was the end of it for me.

The ironic part is that I got a message from Pete saying he wanted me to come to his office. I had heard he was thinking of marketing the talking tube so I thought, "Well, maybe ole Pete's conscience caught up with him and he was going to give me a piece of the action." I walked into his office and he pointed to his steel and said, "Could you show me the second chord to "Forever?" I showed him and walked out shaking my head.

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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 12:31 pm    
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That reminds me of what Buddy said about the early E9 licks that he and Jimmy Day would work out together. He said whoever got into the studio first to record a certain lick got credit for it! Maybe the same thing with the talk box. The players were experimenting with it, building on what previous players had tried, and Pete Drake got it right and got it recorded. Like Buddy said, Pete was on fire in the studios at the time.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 1:17 pm    
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Buddy interview by Bud Gregory talks about the talk box issue with him and Pete.
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 1:38 pm    
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Yes, Buddy was experimenting with it in the studio and couldn’t get rid of the distortion. So he scrapped the idea until he could find a way to make it work. Pete found a way to get rid of the distortion, he got into the studio and he got the effect recorded.
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 3:28 pm    
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Huh.

I understand why Buddy would be annoyed, but wasn't he sort of "guilty" of the same thing? Didn't he take another person's idea, make a slight tweak, and get credit for it?

I'm referring to taking Bud Issacs idea of having a pedal to change a I to a IV chord. Buddy took that idea and added a new twist by splitting them into two pedals (the A- and B-pedals). That innovation was then sold by Sho-Bud as the hot new thing and now, we have a copedent named after him. I doubt Isaacs was cut in on the profits -- nor should he have been.


Really, this is the way all innovation (and knowledge and civilization and culture) evolves; somebody takes the current state of affairs and makes a slight improvement. But it's still 95% the original, only with a new twist. In a more perfect world, the innovator would acknowledge how much rests on what came before -- but I guess Pete Drake didn't do that, whereas Buddy wasn't so shy about talking about where he got ideas.
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Jacek Jakubek


From:
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 21 Aug 2019 10:41 pm    
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"Box with a round hole type guitar." That is funny. I'm going to start calling acoustic guitars by that name.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 21 Aug 2019 11:37 pm    
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I first heard the "talk box" thing when Peter Frampton used it back in the 70's. I thought it was way too gimmicky, and paid it no attention (I had actually been a bit of a Frampton fan when he played with Humble Pie, but did not like his solo stuff much. So, years later, when I took up the pedal steel, and heard Pete Drake playing with one, my reaction was the same - so IMO, Emmons looses nothing for not getting any credit on that one. If he had pursued it further, and used it a lot, I probably would like his playing less!
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