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Author Topic:  Bill Keith to be
Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 9:49 am    
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I happened to hear an album by a countryish singer Jonathan Edwards in the 70's. I wasn't very keen on pure country music but this was so much "better" so to speak. I didn't really know much about pedal steel although I had all albums with Poco and breath them in my soul. This record by JE had Bill Keith on pedal steel and he blew me away. He didn't play psg as anybody else did. Unfortunately he is gone now and I heard he didn't care much for country music. If I had the opportunity to chose to be a pedal-steel player it'd be Bill Keith.
I prefer the live album Lucky day by Jonathan Edwards
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Bruce Bjork


From:
Southern Coast of Maine
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 10:42 am    
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Bill Keith is much better known as a banjo player and his melodic picking style. Met him years ago, a real gentleman.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 10:52 am    
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Bill's steel playing on an album called Sweet Moments with The Blue Velvet Band was a big early influence when I started playing steel. just great E9 picking, including a unique instrumental he wrote.

got to chat with Bill at Merlefest in NC sometime in the 90s and he signed the album for me. he said he quit playing steel at some point because the number of strings threw him off. I guess after so many years of playing banjo, looking down at 10 strings was like seeing double!

there was another time I phoned Keith Tuners to see about purchasing some of his banjo tuning pegs, and Bill himself answered the phone! had another nice chat with him. it's always nice when you get to meet and talk with one of your heroes and they are as friendly and accessible as Bill was.

wish he was still around, he was a genius musician and a one-of-a-kind human being.

here's the Sweet Moments album on YouTube. Bill plays steel on all but one or two songs. the instrumental is the second-to-last track
https://youtu.be/I7x6Buyezhg
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 11:11 am    
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Probably the first time I ever heard & saw a PSG close up was in Cambridge, MA some time around 1972. It was some student lounge sort of setting and it was a duo of Bill and ???? I cannot for the life of me figure out or find out who it may have been. I even asked his son Martin, a local luthier who came out to a gig of mine this summer but nobody can figure it out. Kweskin is a possibility. He was probably gigging with a who's who of local folkies.
Bottom line -- I knew nothing, I saw & heard a steel guitar (Emmons, I seem to recall) and I'm here to tell the tale. Living, now, in the area that he made his home, I regret that the timing did not overlap and I never got to meet him. Fooch Fischetti and I were just talking about him last week.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 12:25 pm    
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could it have been Jim Rooney, Jon? those two collaborated a lot over the decades.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 12:37 pm    
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That's a good call. Unfortunately, it's not a 'jog the memory' sort of thing. It will never come back to me. It's a matter of best guesses based on good deductions such as that.
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2020 10:07 pm    
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hearing Jim's voice might jog your memory, Jon... he's unique.
he's the singer on the Sweet Moments album I posted above
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Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2020 3:00 am    
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Jim Rooneys LP "One day at a time" 1975 is another big favorite.
Bill Keiths banjo style was of course a big influence during my struggle to learn that. He took Earls work up in the sky and that's a good reason to pity he left the pedal-steel.
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2020 3:43 am    
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scott murray wrote:
hearing Jim's voice might jog your memory, Jon... he's unique.
he's the singer on the Sweet Moments album I posted above

I'm listening and digging and remembering that sure, I know this! Been a long long time since I heard it. Glad to have this again!

re: that afternoon in Cambridge, I can only say that there's a couple of years there where memories are highly unlikely to be recovered. Let's leave it at that.
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David Nugent

 

From:
Gum Spring, Va.
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2020 6:24 am    
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He also co-authored (along with the late Winnie Winston, also an award winning banjo player) one of the premier pedal steel instruction manuals.
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Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2020 9:55 am    
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David Nugent wrote:
He also co-authored (along with the late Winnie Winston, also an award winning banjo player) one of the premier pedal steel instruction manuals.


Yeah, a book that's been a minor bible to me.
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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2020 1:15 pm    
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I met Bill while playing festivals and while teaching at some music camps. He lived in Woodstock. He was nice enough to come play in the bluegrass band at our wedding in 2013. One of his last gigs, I think. My musician friends that attended kept walking up to me, pointing to Bill on stage, smiling and shaking their heads. It was my little present to them and a real honor for us to have him there!
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Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 13 Jan 2020 2:29 am    
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K Maul wrote:
I met Bill while playing festivals and while teaching at some music camps. He lived in Woodstock. He was nice enough to come play in the bluegrass band at our wedding in 2013. One of his last gigs, I think. My musician friends that attended kept walking up to me, pointing to Bill on stage, smiling and shaking their heads. It was my little present to them and a real honor for us to have him there!

Thanks for your fine story. A wonderful memory for you. Bill was here 40 years ago to hold a banjo workshop at Izzy Youngs place. I chose to not attend. Crying or Very sad Rolling Eyes Mad
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Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2020 2:34 am    
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scott murray wrote:
Bill's steel playing on an album called Sweet Moments with The Blue Velvet Band was a big early influence when I started playing steel. just great E9 picking, including a unique instrumental he wrote.

got to chat with Bill at Merlefest in NC sometime in the 90s and he signed the album for me. he said he quit playing steel at some point because the number of strings threw him off. I guess after so many years of playing banjo, looking down at 10 strings was like seeing double!

there was another time I phoned Keith Tuners to see about purchasing some of his banjo tuning pegs, and Bill himself answered the phone! had another nice chat with him. it's always nice when you get to meet and talk with one of your heroes and they are as friendly and accessible as Bill was.

wish he was still around, he was a genius musician and a one-of-a-kind human being.

here's the Sweet Moments album on YouTube. Bill plays steel on all but one or two songs. the instrumental is the second-to-last track
https://youtu.be/I7x6Buyezhg


Yes, a really good album. Completley new to me.
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Dave Owens

 

From:
Nyack, NY
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2020 3:46 pm    
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Years ago, I went with a friend to see Bill play banjo with his bluegrass band at the Eagle Tavern on 14th Street in New York. Turns out that there was no sound system that night, but Bill played his set anyway. We sat right in front of him, and his tone and playing were beautiful and amazingly consistent. He also came across as a friendly and down to earth guy, and appreciated our support.
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Mike Beley

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2020 6:02 am     Re: Bill Keith to be
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Ake Banksell wrote:
I happened to hear an album by a countryish singer Jonathan Edwards in the 70's. I wasn't very keen on pure country music but this was so much "better" so to speak. I didn't really know much about pedal steel although I had all albums with Poco and breath them in my soul. This record by JE had Bill Keith on pedal steel and he blew me away. He didn't play psg as anybody else did. Unfortunately he is gone now and I heard he didn't care much for country music. If I had the opportunity to chose to be a pedal-steel player it'd be Bill Keith.
I prefer the live album Lucky day by Jonathan Edwards


I've always liked this track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgPNalY7_9g
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Garry Vanderlinde


From:
Surf City (These are the facts based on my opinion)
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2020 11:42 pm    
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David Nugent wrote:
He also co-authored (along with the late Winnie Winston, also an award winning banjo player) one of the premier pedal steel instruction manuals.

He also helped Earl Scruggs write his "How To Play The 5-String Banjo" book along with being one of the most influential banjo players of all time. N.S. Cool
I bet being a legendary bluegrass banjo player was a better gig than being a jug band steel player.
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Garry Vanderlinde


From:
Surf City (These are the facts based on my opinion)
Post  Posted 21 Jan 2020 12:24 am     Hey Stu, Jim Coon says Hi!
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More on topic I think:
I love this stuff,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZSO6uvBP0E
Writer: Jonathan Edwards
Steel: Bill Keith
Bass: Stuart Schulman
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Ake Banksell


From:
Stockholm, Sweden
Post  Posted 21 Jan 2020 3:33 am    
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I think I've got all those very fine albums by Jonathan Edwards in the 70's. The first four is where Bill did the pedal-steel. Later on another fine pedal-steeler Hank de Vito came about his records. Hank was another not so very traditional country player that attracted me especially.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 21 Jan 2020 11:10 am     Re: Bill Keith to be
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Mike Beley wrote:
I've always liked this track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgPNalY7_9g

Me too. It was the dawning of glam and glitter and punk, and there we were layin around the shanty mama puttin a good buzz on, listening to JE, JT, Gram, Poco, PPL... A Banjo friend of mine had Bill Keith’s instruction books and gave me his Winnie book. But no, we don’t care for country...🤠 Laughing
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Lynn Stafford


From:
Oregon City, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 22 Jan 2020 4:45 pm     Bill Keith's 1965 Emmons
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I happen to own Bill Keith's 1965 Emmons wraparound that I bought from someone in France a few years ago. Evidently, Bill sold this guitar while he was touring overseas. Here is a photo from page 39 of the book that he and Winnie Winston co-wrote. It shows Bill playing this guitar.



I also have a copy of the Blue Velvet Band album mentioned above. I'm wondering if anyone knows whether or not Bill used this guitar on this album, or any others for that matter.
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Garry Vanderlinde


From:
Surf City (These are the facts based on my opinion)
Post  Posted 22 Jan 2020 11:15 pm     Re: Bill Keith's 1965 Emmons
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Lynn Stafford wrote:
I happen to own Bill Keith's 1965 Emmons wraparound that I bought from someone in France a few years ago. Evidently, Bill sold this guitar while he was touring overseas. Here is a photo from page 39 of the book that he and Winnie Winston co-wrote. It shows Bill playing this guitar.



I also have a copy of the Blue Velvet Band album mentioned above. I'm wondering if anyone knows whether or not Bill used this guitar on this album, or any others for that matter.

Nice photo! Does it still have the Zig-Zag Man on the front apron? Remember him?
BTW, Lynn, Great set in Mesa,Az., Loved it!
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Lynn Stafford


From:
Oregon City, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 23 Jan 2020 9:45 am     Bill Keith's 1965 Emmons
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Hi Garry,

Thanks so much for your post and very kind words about our set at the Mesa show.

Yes, the guitar still has the sticker on the front apron! I don't know if the original Emmons logo still exists under it but I don't plan to remove it in order to find out. Here are a few photos from around the time when I bought the guitar. Hopefully this year I can find the time to do a bit of restoration work on it and get it playable once again. I'm very anxious to hear what it sounds like!






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Best regards,
Lynn Stafford

STEEL GUITAR WEST
http://www.steelguitarwest.com
Steel Guitar Technician (Restoration, Set-up, Service and Repair work)

Emmons Authorized Dealer (New Guitar and Parts Sales)

ZumSteel Authorized Service Technician
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Joe Goldmark

 

From:
San Francisco, CA 94131
Post  Posted 23 Jan 2020 10:13 pm    
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Here's my favorite Bill Keith steel recording. Geoff & Maria Muldaur "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Xqd_g4DXk

Joe
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Olaf van Roggen


From:
The Netherlands
Post  Posted 22 Feb 2020 6:40 am    
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https://youtu.be/4AqVizMHh_E

I am a big fan of Bill Keith playing the pedal steel, besides the ones already mentioned, this is one of my favorites. Judy Collins :" The Dealer"
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