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Author Topic:  Al Petty
Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 3:26 pm     Reply with quote

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=318330
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 3:54 pm     Reply with quote

I saw that yesterday Mike, but I could find no notice or obituary for him. There was one for an Al Petty from NC in May of 17, but that wasn't the Al we know.

Hope someone can provide a link to a notice that will verify or disprove this.
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Richard Ingley


From:
Bowie, Texas, USA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:31 pm     Reply with quote

The Al Petty we know did die in North Carolina, so that is probably the same one.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 4:41 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks Richard.

Al bordered on genius. I still use his tuning method I received in one of his St. Louis seminars.

Condolences to his family and close friends.


Last edited by Jerry Overstreet on 30 Jun 2017 7:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 6:49 pm     Reply with quote

Hmmm... the obit I found for an Al Petty in NC definitely isn't him. See here:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/albert-petty-obituary?pid=1000000185396042&view=guestbook
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George Redmon


Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 6:50 pm     Reply with quote

Sad to hear this news. Al was a great player and did contribute so much to steel guitar.
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 7:19 pm     Reply with quote

Here is the notice from the TSGA. http://www.texassteelguitar.org/
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

Mike Perlowin wrote:
Here is the notice from the TSGA. http://www.texassteelguitar.org/


Odd, though, that two people named 'Al Petty' died in NC just two weeks apart...
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 29 Jun 2017 11:22 pm     Reply with quote

The 80 year old Al Petty in the obituary posted by Jim Cohen was born in 1937 and is almost certainly at least 5 years too young to be the steeler Al Petty.

Steeler Al was a member of Jack Rhodes east Texas entourage circa 1949-50 and is most likely the steeler on this recording from 1950:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=341hqHx_9ps

Petty was recording under his own name as early as 1953.

Here's the Rhodes band in 1952. I can't tell if that is Al on the left, but it's a good guess. There's 2 or 3 of the Hayes brothers in this pic as well.


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George Redmon


Post Posted 30 Jun 2017 4:15 pm     Reply with quote

Great Photo you posted Mitch

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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 30 Jun 2017 5:06 pm     Reply with quote

I watched Al demonstrate his D-12 21 pedal heel and toe pedal shown on the previous post, at a lecture- demonstration- concert he have at Blackie Taylor's shop. Jerry Hays was there too.

Al printed out his copedant, which was an E9/B6 U-12 on one neck, and another tuning he invented on the other, on which he plated "12th Street Rag."

I had the printout, but was unable to make any sense of the tuning and pedal changes.


Sierra subsequently made an S-10 with toe and heel pedals, which I tried out at Blackie's shop. The heel pedals too the place of the knee levers. I didn't like it. I found it clumsy and awkward.

Some years later I saw Al demonstrate his "Steel Guitorchestra." One of the things he did was assign certain notes to simulate the sounds of farm animals and "play the farm."

The man was a true genius. It's truly a shame that things went bad for him in his later years.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 1 Jul 2017 8:29 am     Reply with quote

Did he pass away in prison or at home?
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Tom Bradshaw


From:
Walnut Creek, California, USA
Post Posted 1 Jul 2017 8:57 am     Al's recordings Reply with quote

Does anyone know of someone (besides Joe Goldmark) who may have recordings by Al? I'd like to digitize and convert all his non-CD recordings to CD format?

Incidentally, many of Al's recordings were done under the name of Al "Perry." In a face-to-face discussion with him at one of the St. Louis conventions, I asked him why he used that name. He unashamedly told me that he used that name to avoid paying child support. He seemed proud of doing so.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 1 Jul 2017 9:50 am     Reply with quote

Tom:

Are you referring to instrumentals?

I'm aware of 5 instrumentals he did in his earliest days:

Steel Guitar Special (also released as "Gallopin' Steel")

Steel Mill

Steelin' The Boogie

Twin Steel Ride

Al's Steel Guitar Wobble

All of the above were originally recorded for the Starday label in 1953-1954.

Two or three of them can be heard on Youtube.

I have all 5 of them in mp3 format.

If you are referring to vocal recordings on which Al played steel, there are an unknown number of those as well. A few can be documented as being Al on steel, but you quickly get off into speculation.

Give a listen to Freddie Frank's "12,000 Texas Longhorns" on Youtube. That's from late 1952/early 1953 and gives you an idea of Al's sound behind a vocalist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUtXIk4vsx0


I can't help with anything he may have done after 1955.
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Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post Posted 1 Jul 2017 6:05 pm     Reply with quote

In the comments section for “Al Petty - Steel Mill”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5VQFPltt3E
there is this comment:

Jeffrey Black
1 month ago
I just left mr.petty at fci-butner. in butner n.c. very much alive he was a real good friend to me and honered me by playing me happy birthday on what he had-a old dreadnaught he had raised the bridge on.it was and is an honer to call him "friend"


BTW, “fci-butner” is Federal Correctional Institution, Butner, North Carolina.

-Dave
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Paul Redmond


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 7:36 pm     Reply with quote

Tom - Back in the mid-80's Al sent me several of his cassettes some of which featured his Guitorchestra. Some were religious and one was a testimony-type "talkie" about how he was "saved". He was living in a mobile home in Etiwanda CA and he and his then-wife, Jo Ann, had just split up. He was pretty bummed out about it because he had been trying to give birth to his own "New Life Blessing Ministry"....the bottom just fell out of everything for him. About 1986 or 1987 he moved back to TX and continued work on his Guitorchestra.
It was sad to see a man of his immense skills and talents wind up like he did. IMO he had the best right-hand technique of anyone on Earth, and had a knowledge of music theory that was impressive to say the least. I believe it was his oldest son who raced hydroplanes for Anheuser-Busch. He had feared many times for his son's safety.
During Al's testimony in TX, he had mentioned that he had even invented a method of tuning to eliminate as many "beats" as possible. He testified that he even published a book on the subject. Well, I don't know if he published a book or not....the court claimed he did NOT. He did, however, make a cassette of his method and I have a copy of it. Upon finding out about the SNAFU in court, I called the AJ in TX and told her that, indeed, Al Petty had made his method available to the public and that he was NOT lying about that in court. She explained that it was too little too late because the trials were over and Rev. Al was headed to the "Gray Bar Inn" for quite a spell. She didn't use those words....those are mine. Again I feel badly that his life went the way that it did. Such talent wasted.
You have my private email address....if you can't find it, contact Jim Palenscar or Ross Shafer. They have it.
PRR
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 3:21 pm     Reply with quote

Mike Perlowin wrote:
I watched Al demonstrate his D-12 21 pedal heel and toe pedal shown on the previous post, at a lecture- demonstration- concert he have at Blackie Taylor's shop. Jerry Hays was there too.



I remember that concert/seminar Al held at Blackie Taylor's place very well. Al was demonstrating the heel and toe pedals he was using on the Sierra D-12 steel. He was sitting on a stool which was higher than one a steeler would normally use in that his feet would "dangle" instead of sit flat on the floor so he could move his toes and heels anywhere at will. He could hold down a pedal with his heel and then move his toe(s) back and forth between different pedals or do the reverse and hold down with his toe and move the heel from side to side...

Also he demonstrated the tuning which Mike talked about. He had the one neck with an E9/B6 universal but the other neck was one devised by him which if I remember right had the intervals farther apart on the bass strings so it would be more "clean" when strumming a chord... What was amazing about that tuning was that when he played "12th street rag" he did it in harmony instead of single note passages. I'd never heard it done like that on one steel guitar before.......JH in Va.
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 4:47 pm     Reply with quote

I was at Blackie’s that day, also. I sat at that gtr and tried to play it. The heel and toe pedals were slightly offset from each other, and the way I remember it is… just offset to the left of the A pedal was the heel pedal that raised the E’s to F…so heel & toe together gave you an A/F combination. Offset just to the right of the B pedal was the heel pedal that lowered the E’s, so you could rock into a B pedal/Eb lever position.
RIP, Al. You were a man alone on a mountaintop with that one…
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Fred Jack


From:
Bastrop, Texas 78602
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 6:33 pm     Al Reply with quote

Well, I don't know if this is the Al I knew or not.I am 80 and Al Petty the steel player was several years older than me. Anyway, we were playing in Oklahoma City one time and Al came by. He was showing us the Guitorchestra or whatever it was he called it. He had the place sounding like a barnyard. Ralph Mooney, being none too impressed said Al, can you make that thing sound like a steel guitar. Al truly was a musical genius. I visited with him a lot in LA area and then many times at Gene Fields home in Arlington,Texas.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 6:47 am     Re: Al's recordings Reply with quote

Tom Bradshaw wrote:
Incidentally, many of Al's recordings were done under the name of Al "Perry." In a face-to-face discussion with him at one of the St. Louis conventions, I asked him why he used that name. He unashamedly told me that he used that name to avoid paying child support. He seemed proud of doing so.


it seems to me that Al is right there where he belongs...
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Fred Jack


From:
Bastrop, Texas 78602
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 7:38 am     Al Reply with quote

Damir, The jury's still out on that one.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 7:54 am     Re: Al Reply with quote

Fred Jack wrote:
Damir, The jury's still out on that one.


what jury is out on what Fred? guy left the woman to raise his kids herself, while he was playing his guitar, and working under some fake name just to avoid his responsibilities... and if he is locked up, that tells me that jury already said what they had to say.... I don't have any respect for people like that....
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Sonny Jenkins


From:
New Braunfels, Tx. 78130
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 7:59 am     Reply with quote

Damir,,,the child support thing was NOT what he was incarcerated for,,,,from what I understand he had some sort of investment scheme going that cost a lot of a lot of money,,,,, he was a musical genius,,,also pretty good with "numbers",,huuummmm????
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 8:14 am     Reply with quote

There is some good in the worst of us and some bad in the best of us. Whoa!
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 21 Jul 2017 8:17 am     Reply with quote

Sonny, I heard about some of his "genius" achievements, and I really don't care enough about the guy to talk about him too much.... stealing from friends and elderly, and not carrying about his own children, tells me all I need to know about this individual.... lock it up, and throw the key away...
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