ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE CORRECTIONS by Mark Opsasnick

JoeyV

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Book title: “ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE” by Phil Carson
Corrections by Mark Opsasnick
[email protected]
www.capitolrock.com

ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE is an ambitious biography of a legendary Washington, D.C.-area blues-rock guitarist that suffers from several examples of faulty research, chronological confusion, and biased reporting.

Without expounding on all the details of my involvement in the book ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE, I will say that I spent one day personally ushering author Phil Carson around Prince George’s County, Maryland and showed him the various home sites and nightclub sites where Roy Buchanan once lived and performed. During the tour Carson explained to me that he was in quite a quandary because Judy Buchanan (Roy’s widow) refused to return his phone calls/letters and he had never spoken with her. I provided Carson with three pages of notes/transcriptions from one of three interviews I conducted with Judy Buchanan, with the only provision being that I would be cited in the text of his book as the source of the Judy Buchanan quotes and that I receive a general credit in the book’s acknowledgments (I also recommended that Carson use the Roy Buchanan chapter in my book CAPITOL ROCK - which he had in his possession the day I met with him - as a chronological guide). Several days before the book was to be submitted to his publisher, Carson called me and frantically stated he needed me to help edit his final manuscript. He promptly sent me thirty pages of text from the manuscript, which contained numerous factual and chronological errors. I attempted to correct the pages he sent me and, in an effort to assist him, mailed him an accompanying letter explaining that I felt the manuscript simply wasn’t ready for publication. I never heard from Phil Carson again.

I read the book upon its release and found that the pages covering Roy Buchanan’s time in the Washington, D.C. area (pages 59-165) contained many errors. I quickly heard from other researchers that other sections of the book are also filled with numerous mistakes. In an effort to set the record straight (and to assist author Phil Carson in fixing his first edition), I have listed out the following mistakes and areas of concern that should be corrected in the book ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE. I have neither the time nor the desire to critique the balance of Carson’s work, as my specialty as a social/historical/cultural researcher is the Washington, D.C. rock and roll scene from 1951 to 1976. For the most factually accurate published portrayal of blues-rock Roy Buchanan, I strongly suggest the reader check out my book CAPITOL ROCK
(www.xlibris.com/capitolrock.html or www.capitolrock.com).




CORRECTIONS:
The following corrections pertain to pages 59-165 in ROY BUCHANAN: AMERICAN AXE (which covers the time period Roy Buchanan spent in the Washington, D.C. area).

Page 59, Line 23
Hawkins took his band to the usual hot spots on the Jersey coast – Wildwood, Somer’s Point, Atlantic City – and to the Philadelphia axis that included Camden and Allentown, all the way to the clubs on 14th Street in downtown Washington, D.C.

Correction: In fact, Dale Hawkins never played a single nightclub on 14th Street in downtown Washington while Buchanan was in his band. The only nightclub Hawkins ever played in the city (with Buchanan as his guitarist) was the Rocket Room (1200 New York Avenue NW) in October 1960.

Page 59, Line 31
Ed Montini and a drummer named Stan Weinberg hooked up with a couple of singing brothers named the Perry Mates and headed to Rodell Studios, one of only two professional recording facilities in D.C. As Montini recalled: “We had something we thought was really good, something commercial, called ‘The Kick Step.’ So we went into the studio. I wanted to get that Buchanan sound on there also, so we hired him to play on that track and, I think, a couple of others. He just happened to be in D.C. and we asked him to join us.”

Correction: The Perry Mates were actually an excellent guitar-oriented rock and roll band that consisted of guitarist Clarence Perry, bassist Luman Perry, drummer Stan Weinberg, and saxophonist Ed Montini (the lineup would change about during the 1960-1962 time period). I checked with Luman Perry, who informed me that the song “The Kick Step” was actually recorded at Edgewood Studios (not Rodell) and that was the only session that Roy Buchanan ever appeared on. The recording (a one-sided promo single) was dropped off at a local radio station and was never seen again.

Page 62, Lines 33-42
Quotes Judy Buchanan on lines 33-42, continued on page 63, lines 1-7.

Clarification: Phil Carson did not interview Judy Buchanan. These quotes were taken from transcribed notes from one of my personal interviews with Judy Buchanan, though Carson fails to credit me as his source.






Page 66, Line 20
…plus the Rocket Room at 14th and I, and the 4400 Club in the northern suburb of Mount Rainier, Maryland.

Correction: The Rocket Room was at 1200 New York Avenue NW (nowhere near 14th and I Streets). The 4400 Club was situated at 4400 Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood, Maryland (not Mount Rainier).

Page 66, Lines 25-26
The Bad Boys earned a spot as house band at Woody’s on Kennedy Street from May to July.

Correction: The Bad Boys actually worked from May to July 1961 at the Alpine Room (312 Kennedy Street NW, Washington, D.C.) which had changed over from Woody’s back in October 1957. During the time they were at the Alpine, they also gigged at the Rocket Room, Benny’s Rebel Room, and Rand’s.

Page 67, Line 11
Judy Owens quotes

Clarification: Carson appropriately credits me as the source of these statements, something that should have been done every time Judy Buchanan is quoted.

Page 67, Line 32
“He got down on his knees and asked me to marry him, Judy recalled. “The whole bit shocked me to death.”

Clarification: Phil Carson did not interview Judy Buchanan. These quotes were taken from transcribed notes from one of my personal interviews with Judy Buchanan, though Carson fails to credit me as his source.

Page 79, Line 17
Hawkins played Milt Grant’s Show several times in 1958-1960, planting the seed of Roy’s eventual status as local legend.

Correction: Dale Hawkins (with Buchanan on guitar) played the Milt Grant show one time in late 1957, an obscure performance that largely went unnoticed.

Page 80, Line 7
In September 1964 Roy joined Bobby Howard and the Hi-Boys for a few months of steady gigs at Rand’s downtown and at the Alpine Room on Kennedy Street NW.

Correction: Roy Buchanan joined Bobby Howard and the Hi-Boys in August 1964 and from August through October they worked at Benny’s Rebel Room and Rand’s. They did not work the Alpine Room during this time (Howard had worked there earlier in the year without Buchanan).

Page 80, Line 1
…working with Joe Stanley and Danny Denver was just a gig. Roy needed a real break and that took time. In the summer of 1964, however…

Correction: According to these passages, Carson confusingly implies that Roy Buchanan worked with Danny Denver in 1964. I conducted several interviews with Danny Denver (and would see him several times a week right up to the time of his recent passing) and Denver verified that he first met Roy Buchanan much later during the summer of 1965 while he (Danny Denver) worked the Cross Town Lounge in the Mount Pleasant area of Washington, D.C. with his band the Soundtracks (he would change the name to the Soundmasters later in the decade when he began working the Crossroads).

Page 81, Line 21
…singers like Big Al Downing and Phil Flowers, and, once again, Danny Denver.

Correction: Again, the chronology is wrong. Carson is trying to establish this time frame as early 1965, but Roy Buchanan had not yet met Danny Denver.

Page 89, Line 5
Bassist Stan Doucette once claimed, though he later backed away from his story, that Hendrix came to the Silver Dollar one night during his Ambassador run, and jammed with Buchanan for hours.

Correction: Stan Doucette has stated that while playing the Silver Dollar in Washington, D.C. with the Uncalled Four (with Roy Buchanan on guitar) in August 1967, Jimi Hendrix came in and jammed with the band for approximately forty-five minutes. While I have no idea if this really took place or not (nor do I really care), I do know that Stan Doucette recently told me the following:
1) Stan Doucette has never spoken to Phil Carson.
2) Stan Doucette has never backed away from his story and maintains to this very day that the Uncalled Four-Jimi Hendrix jam session did indeed take place.
3) Phil Carson has never displayed any evidence that Stan Doucette has “backed away” from his story.
4) In an article in the August-September 1982 edition of Harmonix magazine (“Exclusive Interview with Roy Buchanan” by Harry Folsom), Roy Buchanan talks about jamming with Jimi Hendrix in a Washington, D.C. bar.
5) I pointed this magazine article out to Phil Carson (on several occasions), who ignored its existence in the text of his book, but does make reference to it in his bibliography. Obviously this information did not fit his agenda.



Page 89, Line 12
A band dubbed the Fourmost, sometimes the Uncalled Four, appeared in the spring and summer of 1967 at the Silver Dollar.

Correction:
The Fourmost (a band featuring Roy Buchanan) began playing at the Silver Dollar (3124 M Street NW, Washington, D.C.) in March 1967. In early June 1967 the band changed its name to the Uncalled Four and continued working the Silver Dollar until September 1967 (the last time Roy Buchanan ever worked the Silver Dollar).

Pages 91-92 (passages about John Gossage, Roy Buchanan, and Jimi Hendrix)
Roy Buchanan sees Hendrix on March 10, 1968, plays Hendrix songs at the Silver Dollar.

Correction: First off, Roy Buchanan never played the Silver Dollar after September 1967; therefore he could not have played the Silver Dollar on March 10, 1968, the date of Hendrix’s Washington, D.C. Hilton concert. A check with nightclub ads in the Washington Daily News and Washington Star reveals that the Silver Dollar booked the “psychedelic” bands Wild Honey (featuring guitarist Jimmy Carter, keyboard player Billy Manning, bass player Curt Jonnie, and drummer Mike Zack) and the Cherry People (who had just returned from New York where they had recorded their eponymous record album for Heritage Records) six and seven nights a week throughout March 1968. Roy Buchanan, who was already once again working with Danny Denver and the Soundtracks by this time, simply did not play the Silver Dollar in March 1968.

Page 97, Line 3
One night a local young hot shot named Danny Gatton, five years Roy’s junior, visited the Silver Dollar and fell under the telecaster master’s spell.

Correction: Again, the chronology is badly out of place. Carson puts these statements in the 1968 time period, when in fact Gatton met Buchanan during the summer of 1967 at the Silver Dollar. Drummer Ron MacDonald was there that night and can confirm the meeting and what actually transpired. Danny Gatton certainly did not fall under Roy Buchanan’s spell.

Page 100, Line 6
“At that time,” Judy recalled, “he was living in the fast lane. I was concerned about him, and overwhelmed. We weren’t making any money, we were surviving.”

Correction: Phil Carson did not interview Judy Buchanan. These quotes were taken from transcribed notes from one of my personal interviews with Judy Buchanan, though Carson fails to credit me as his source. Carson places these comments from Judy Buchanan in the 1968 time period. In fact, she was telling me about her husband’s Georgetown period from March-September 1967.

Page 100, Line 41
His apprenticeship lasted until the first week of August. He collected a few dozen dollars each week from the state of Maryland and rarely picked up a guitar.

Correction: There is no evidence that Roy Buchanan ever stopped playing guitar in local nightclubs. There are regular nightclub ads in all of the Washington, D.C. dailies that show Buchanan worked steadily in the local clubs from the early sixties through the early seventies.

Page 101, Line 38
Later, Roy cut hair at a shop in the Montgomery Mall in Prince George’s County.

Correction: Montgomery Mall is actually located in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Page 102, Line 16
“Elwood Brown”

Correction:
Correct spelling is “Ellwood Brown” (misspellings of this name are also on pages 111, 112, and 256).

Page 103, Line 17
Charlie (Daniels), a guitarist and fiddler, had opened the Rocket Room in DC back in 1959 with his band the Jaguars – at the same time that Dale Hawkins and Roy Buchanan blew through town, leaving the place in tatters.

Correction: Charlie Daniels actually first worked the Rocket Room the weekend of July 8, 1960. Dale Hawkins (with Roy Buchanan in tow) actually “blew through” town and worked the Rocket Room in October 1960.

Page 106, Line 8
Ten years earlier, “Uncle George” Saslaw had converted a former roadhouse known far and wide as the Del Rio into a country music emporium.

Correction:
The Del Rio Restaurant, which featured Spanish orchestras, burned down on February 16, 1941. The Crossroads was built on it slot and opened for business in November 1941. George Saslaw purchased the business in February 1960 and converted it into a country music nightclub.


Page 106, Line 11
“Belle Starr”

Correction: He means famed stripper BLAZE STARR.

Page 106, Line 19
“WBOM”

Correction: No such station ever existed. He means WDON.

Page 108, Line 41
He’d seen Elvis Presley in 1955 on a boat ride down the Potomac River.

Correction: The legendary Elvis Presley made his Washington, D.C.-area debut when he performed on the S.S. Mount Vernon-Wilson Line Potomac River cruise ship on Friday, March 23, 1956.

Page 111, line 32
Carson quotes “Elwood Brown.”

Correction: Ellwood Brown told me he never actually spoke with Phil Carson prior to the book’s publication and these quotes were pulled from thin air.

Page 122, Line 28
…the two had first played together in 1964

Correction: Roy Buchanan first played with Danny Denver in the summer of 1965, not 1964.

Page 122, Line 38
By this time he knew Danny Gatton well, and Danny’s talented keyboard player, Dick Heintze, and the two joined in on bass and Hammond B-3 organ, respectively.

Correction: I conducted two separate interviews with Danny Gatton and he personally told me that he never worked in a band with Roy Buchanan, though the two did jam together several times, including a couple of times at the Crossroads. I have never had anyone tell me that they saw Gatton play bass with Buchanan. Drummer Ron MacDonald did tell me that Gatton and Buchanan attempted to form a band together, but it lasted for one weekend. While I really don’t know if Danny Gatton ever played bass in a jam session (or even a temporary band) with Roy Buchanan, I am most certain that he never engaged in a steady, working relationship as Buchanan’s bass player.



Page 123, Line 12
“Tom Soros’ New Orleans House”

Correction: Correct spelling is “Tom Sarris.”

Page 124, Line 32
“Gatton’s departure was inevitable…”

Correction: In mid-1971 Danny Denver disbanded his backup band the Soundmasters and left the Crossroads. Roy Buchanan carried on as the solo headliner. Carson’s chronology of Buchanan’s Crossroads days is confusing and he fails to mention that the very first band Buchanan had after Denver left consisted of bassist-vocalist Billy Hancock, keyboardist-saxophonist Vince Barrett, and drummer Mike Cannon. That particular lineup lasted several months before Buchanan began trying out new recruits. Late in 1971 Buchanan selected keyboard player Dick Heintze, bassist Pete Van Allen, vocalist Chuck Tilley, guitarist Teddy Irwin, former Fallen Angels drummer Ned Davis, and tambourine player Marc Fisher to be his new bandmates. He called the new group Roy Buchanan and the Snake Stretchers and continued a six-night schedule at the Crossroads until February 1972. Danny Gatton did not figure into these bands at all. He may have sat in on a few jam sessions with Buchanan, but was never a full-time member of any of his working bands. His “departure,” therefore, was non-existent, since he was never there in the first place.

Page 125, Line 18
“Lofgren led an ensemble composed of Bob Berberich, George Daly, and Paul Dowell, and they recruited Roy to do some rehearsing…”

Correction: When Roy Buchanan jammed with the band Grin in 1970, the group consisted of Nils Lofgren, Bob Berberich, and George Daly. Paul Dowell was not a part of the band and consequently was not present for any of these jam sessions.

Page 126, Line 14
“Tacoma Park”

Correction: The correct spelling is “Takoma Park.”

Page 256, Line 2
“…left behind seven children”

Correction: Roy and Judy Buchanan actually had six children (not seven); Donald, David, Kim, Lauressa, Patricia, and Jenny.




Page 275, Line 20
“Zito, Tom, Roy Buchanan: He may be the finest Rock Guitarist in the World,” Washington Post (December 9, 1970).

Correction:
The December 9, 1970 Washington Post article by Tom Zito was actually entitled “Only a Guitar Player: A Legend among Musicians.” A slightly different version of the same piece titled “Roy Buchanan, Heavy Axe” was published in Rolling Stone in their February 18, 1971 edition.





































Book title:
“UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE LIFE & TIMES OF DANNY GATTON”
By Ralph Heibutzki
Corrections by Mark Opsasnick
[email protected]
www.capitolrock.com

UNFINISHED BUSINESS is an objective, thoroughly researched, and well-written biography of legendary Washington, D.C. rock-jazz guitarist Danny Gatton. Author Ralph Heibutzki paints a detailed literary portrait of one of America’s true guitar greats by combining Gatton’s musical history with insight and anecdotes from the subject’s friends, family, and bandmates. Faithful followers and uninitiated newcomers to the musical magic of Danny Gatton will be fascinated by “Unfinished Business.”

CORRECTIONS:
The following corrections mainly pertain to pages 1-100 in UNFINISHED BUSINESS (which covers Danny Gatton’s early years in the Washington, D.C. area - the time period I am most familiar with).

Page 1, Line 12
He titled his 1990 major-label release 88 Elmira St. after the place where he’d grown up in Anacostia, Maryland.

Correction: 88 Elmira Street SE is actually located in the Eastover neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C., not Maryland (Gatton’s old house is about one mile north of the Maryland state line). Anacostia is actually another unincorporated neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C., about four miles northeast of Elmira Street SE. This is probably the book’s most glaring error and it ironically appears on page one.

Page 16, Line 13
Danny, Dick, and Roger spent three summers on the Wilson line, with Casady joining them during their second year, 1966.

Correction: Jack Casady left Washington D.C. for good in October 1965 and joined the Jefferson Airplane that month, making it impossible for him to have worked the Wilson Line in 1966. In fact, Jack Casady told me he never worked with any of Gatton’s bands after 1963. Danny Gatton was a part of the Take Five Combo and spent 1965 playing rock and roll at the Belby House, the Crazy Horse, and the Paul Mall. In 1966 they were recruited to work Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, a jazz nightclub located at 1213 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia. On select spring and summer weekends in 1966 and 1967 Gatton and friends from the Take Five Combo and the Off Beats frequently united in a rock and roll group called the Soul Mates. This special band exclusively performed on the Wilson Line’s “Moonlight Cruise” (an evening cruise ship that sailed down the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. to Mount Vernon, Virginia and back).
Page 22, Line 11, page 101, line 5
“Marlowe Heights”

Correction: The correct spelling is “Marlow Heights.”

Page 26, Line 30
The two men started off on the wrong foot almost immediately, when Danny saw Roy in 1968 at Georgetown’s Silver Dollar Saloon.

Correction: Danny Gatton first saw Roy Buchanan at the Silver Dollar (3124 M Street NW) during the summer of 1967, a meeting that can be verified by Ron MacDonald. Roy Buchanan, in fact, worked the Silver Dollar from March 1967 to June 1967 with a band called the Fourmost, then with a band called the Uncalled Four from June 1967 to September 1967. He never worked the Silver Dollar in 1968, as he worked with country singer Danny Denver throughout the year.

Page 33, Line 3
…before joining Joe Stanley’s Saxons…

Correction: The correct name of the band is Joe Stanley’s Saxtons.

Page 34, Line 38
Not far from the city’s bus depot stood the Rocket Room and joints like the Butterfly and Casino Royale (sic), on 16th street…

Correction: The Butterfly stood at 823 14th Street NW (not 16th Street) and the Casino Royal was at 804 14th Street NW (not 16th Street).

Page 37, Line 34
“Tacoma Park, Maryland”

Correction: The correct spelling is Takoma Park, Maryland.

Page 47 line 15
Through Danny’s dentist, they managed to find a one-story brick rambler on Linda Lane, where they stayed for a year.

Correction: Danny Gatton himself told me he and Jan lived in Alexandria, Virginia from 1970 to 1972 and then resided at 5609 Linda Lane in Camp Springs, Maryland from 1972 to the summer of 1976, a stay that lasted over four years.

Page 50, Line 33
“Capitol Centre”

Correction: The correct spelling is “Capital Centre.”

Page 63, Page 29
“Jimmy Thackeray”

Correction: The correct spelling is “Jimmy Thackery.”

Page 65, Line 18
…the taping of a live album at Bethesda’s Psyche Delly. Lou Sordo had opened the club in 1975…

Correction: The correct spelling is “Psychedelly” (misspellings occur on pages 65, 69, 97, 148, and 234). The Psychedelly actually opened at 4846 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland in 1971 (not 1975).


Page 77, Line 1
…My Friend’s House in Langley Park, Virginia…

Correction: My Friend’s house was actually located in Langley Park, Maryland.

Page 82, Lines 1 and 6
In late 1977…
The Gatton family had just moved into a rented farmhouse at 15939 Livingston road in Accokeek, where there’s little to divert the visitor except a couple of churches and a post office about a half mile down the street from where Link Wray grew up.

Correction: The Gatton family moved in at 15939 Livingston Road, Accokeek, Maryland in the summer of 1976 (not late 1977) and remained there for three years. Link Wray did not grow up down the street. Link Wray was born May 2, 1929 and mainly lived in North Carolina and Portsmouth, Virginia before moving to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1955 (at age 26). In January 1963 his brother Ray Vernon purchased a house at 16706 Livingston Road in Accokeek, Maryland. Link Wray himself didn’t move there until 1969 (at age 40) and moved out in 1971.

Page 223, Line 4
…Timm Biery’s Laurel, Maryland studio…

Correction: Timm Biery’s studio was in Beltsville, Maryland (not Laurel).
 

med

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This is not you Joey?

I read this hole thing thinking it was written by Joey V .

I have never heard of this book i'll have to check the link out.
Have and have read the American axe but didn't care for it a lot.

Love Roy though.

Med
 

genelovesjez

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So I guess this guy's upset that he didn't get the credit he wanted? Because I can't think of any other reason to share these minor corrections with anyone but the author.
 

Tim Armstrong

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wow...

I'm sure glad you posted that, Joey! Now I can sleep at night knowing I have the facts straight! :rolleyes:

Grins,

Tim
 

JoeyV

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Just passing along the info

Just thought I would pass it along as it might be interesting to some folks as there are alot of Roy B. fans on the page....sorry to bore you. :eek:
 

Big Tony

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Thanks, JoeyV!

I found it interesting, and printed it out for further reference. I would be grateful if you posted any other updates in the future. 8)

/Big Tony
 

Tim Armstrong

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Sorry!

Sorry, Joey! By all means, post anything you think is of interest! The nice thing about this place is that none of us have to read everything, so we don't have to worry about posting something that appeals to everyone.

And I apologize for being a smart-alec about it!

Your friend, Tim
 

mojito

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Thank You

Thanks, JoeyV,
I have both of those books on my "to do" reading list and being from the area I am sure that I would have picked up on several of those inaccuracies also. I appreciate you setting the record straight as there is enough misinformation and folklore being thrown around already. Kudos to you!
 

Tele295

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Ah, the wonderful world of scholarly research!

I've read all three of these books, mostly with a critical eye. All three contain valuable information. Opsasnick's is by far the most detailed when it comes to names, dates, and places, and he cites his sources and references (which tends to promote credibility). A historian's job is to collect the various accounts, and separate fact from error, fabrication, conjecture, etc. and to discover the truths that lie somewhere in the middle.

There will never be a definitive account of Gatton and Buchanan, as they were both very private people who tended to live outside the spotlight. But it's fun to read the books, the recollections of people who saw them and knew them (including friends here on the TDPRI), the articles, the pictures, and play detective to piece it all together.
 

TeleGeir

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Hey, that was as long as mine!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Now I have read all the corrections. Does that mean I have to read the books too? ;)

Geir :)
 

chrome red

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TeleGeir, You said the most...

even in the short form... :lol: :lol: :lol: I never knew that these things would get so serious. that corrections list remind me about the university stuff. Having said that I can' t remember if I ever had written anything fruitful in this forum regarding the main priority. except that teles are damn expensive in Finland? You know I could try to learn to play that thing for the money it is instead tapping this laptop. I guess this is easier.... :x
 

JoeyV

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Mark Opsasnick wrote the corrections

Mark Opsasnick was the fellow who wrote the corrections and I received it in an email from a friend and all I did was cut and paste it into a post..i wish I knew that much stuff about anything....J
:lol:
 

trag-o-caster

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Thanks JoeyV.....

... for taking the time to post that for us! I thought it was great reading, especially since I've read, and re-read both of those books. And both of those books left feeling like I'd read some kind of "Wowee" gossip column, or something. Regardless, it's nice to hear another take on that stuff. :D
 

JoeGanz

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Roy and Judy in fact formerly adopted their grandson Mathew, so indeed he left behind 7 children... although all but this little 3 year old were grown up and, I believe out of the house. The guy who ran Albert's Hall was named Derek Andrews not Derrick... if we want to get nit picky.
 




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