[Harp-L] Jeff Carp

Hi John,
   Welcome to the list!  I assume that you're commenting on my post, "Big
Walter Horton and Jeff Carp film", from 7/05/06.  The version of Jeff Carp's
death I related was told to me by Sam Lay, in between sets with the Bob
Reidy Band at the Alices Revisited Coffeehouse.  I remember the night pretty
clearly because Bob Reidy interrupted our chat dramatically by confronting
Sam about the complaining he (Sam) had been doing behind Bob's back about
the playing conditions in the band.  It got awfully uncomfortable.
   Now Sam, like a lot of bluesmen, has a reputation for being a
bullshitter.  But Scott Dirks, co-author of the new Little Walter biography,
basically told me the same story.  His source was record producer Dick
Shurman.  And Scott has been a lot closer to the Chicago blues
harmonica scene than I've been.  I would've thought he'd have stumbled upon
any alternate version of Jeff's death by now.
   But I certainly don't rule your version out, especially if it turned out
Sam was Dick Shurman's source all along.  I understand the whole thing took
place off the coast of Florida.  I would assume that someone wrote an
account of it for the newspapers out there.  I tried doing a little online
searching myself but I don't think a computer can get to the bottom of
it.  I assume someone would have to wade through a bunch of old newspapers
on microfilm.  Or contact Jeff's widow.  As I said in my post, I think Jeff
was positioned to be the next great harpist out of Chicago before his
untimely death.
   Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and the University of Chicago are still
pretty supportive of blues music.  The famous Checkerboard Lounge recently
relocated there.  I'm not sure if it's still going on, but Jimmy's Woodlawn
Tap was having a regular Sunday afternoon blues session hosted by noted
harpist Dave Waldman.  Steve Cushing, host of the wonderful "Blues Before
Sunrise" radio show, was playing great drums and guys like Scott Dirks and
guitarist Billy Flynn were popping in.  And the university always includes a
blues act in its annual Folkfest.
   When I was a young guy, I remember there was a rumor that a tape of Eric
Clapton and Paul Butterfield jamming together all night in a Hyde Park
apartment was floating around.  Bet that would've been fun to listen to, if
it existed.

Mick Zaklan

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