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  1. #1
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    Any Buddy Fite fans?

    From Portland OR and a monster on standard or steel.
    He was around the clubs in the Bay area too.

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  3. #2
    Good player, he got kind of a bright sound out of his Guild.
    It's hard to find recordings that aren't cheesy tunes, but there are some out there (try Spotify)
    Interesting character, self-driven.

    One thing I never understood is: in his bio, that is everywhere, they talk about how he had a pianistic technique that allowed him to play simultaneous bass lines and melody - but I never found a recording that demonstrated this...?

  4. #3
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    I've got some of his LP's I'll give a listen for that. You mention that style and it brings to mind another little known guitarist from the Tulsa area. He used to play near the airport. I want to say Bob Crooks, but that doesn't sound right to me. Bob Crooks made Standel amps. Crooks was his last name I'm pretty sure. He played in that style. I heard Chet Atkins used to fly to Tulsa see the guy play then fly home.

  5. #4
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    Buddy Fite was an incredible guitar player. I lived on the West Coast during the period when he was actively playing in clubs. You had to see Buddy live to appreciate him. The stuff you can find on recordings, to me, doesn't even sound like Buddy Fite. It's worse than judging Wes Montgomery as a jazz guitarist by just finding a copy of the Tequila album (where's the jazz?).

    Fite ended up sort of giving up on the music scene--jazz was so unprofitable that you couldn't support yourself or a family in the 70s and 80s playing jazz guitar. My understanding is that he went back to timber work.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tucson matt View Post
    One thing I never understood is: in his bio, that is everywhere, they talk about how he had a pianistic technique that allowed him to play simultaneous bass lines and melody - but I never found a recording that demonstrated this...?
    Buddy Fite & Friend does the best job I've heard of capturing this.

    Danny W.

  7. #6
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    Man! That name brings back memories. My dad was super cheap, and that was the only record I remember him ever buying. I remember he had been on a trip, and came home talking about this "lumber jack with huge hands doing amazing things with the guitar" in some bar or restaurant he had stopped at. I think he even said it was like watching someone play piano.

    I listened to that record a lot.

  8. #7
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    good interview

    Buddy Fite


    cheers

  9. #8
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    That's a funny interview. Another interview suggests that he enjoyed slinging some BS to see what would stick.

    Entertainment & the Arts | Guitarist Buddy Fite Chose Life, Family, Music | Seattle Times Newspaper

    But it is interesting to read someone talking about the deep, philosophical thoughts you sometimes have as a little kid.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsbyguy View Post
    I've got some of his LP's I'll give a listen for that. You mention that style and it brings to mind another little known guitarist from the Tulsa area. He used to play near the airport. I want to say Bob Crooks, but that doesn't sound right to me. Bob Crooks made Standel amps. Crooks was his last name I'm pretty sure. He played in that style. I heard Chet Atkins used to fly to Tulsa see the guy play then fly home.
    The guy you're thinking of is Tommy Crook. He's a legendary fixture on the Tulsa music scene and was once a teacher to Tuck Andress. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

    He's also really nice guy. In 1995, my girl friend and I passed through Tulsa and I called his home to see if he was still playing at the airport hotel. His wife told me that he was playing at an Italian restaurant. We arrived at the restaurant about a half hour before closing and Told the manager that we had come for dinner and to hear Tommy play. We were seated at small bar behind which Tommy played and had a wonderful meal while Tommy sat and played and chatted with us. He was playing a Gibson Switchmaster with bass strings for the 5th and 6th strings. There some videos of him on YouTube.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic View Post
    good interview

    Buddy Fite


    cheers
    I never heard of the guy. Very interesting interview though and I'd probably buy that Mel Bay book if it was in print.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    Buddy Fite was an incredible guitar player. I lived on the West Coast during the period when he was actively playing in clubs. You had to see Buddy live to appreciate him. The stuff you can find on recordings, to me, doesn't even sound like Buddy Fite. It's worse than judging Wes Montgomery as a jazz guitarist by just finding a copy of the Tequila album (where's the jazz?).

    Fite ended up sort of giving up on the music scene--jazz was so unprofitable that you couldn't support yourself or a family in the 70s and 80s playing jazz guitar. My understanding is that he went back to timber work.
    It's a shame that no recordings of BF playing live in clubs exists.
    I bought every one of those LPs he made in the early 70s, and loved them all.
    Even though he played pop music from that time and a few standards, he managed to make effective jazz vehicles out of all of them.
    I never thought I'd like a guitarist whose sound was so treble sounding and country oriented, but he's always been one of my fave jazz guitarists. I still play some of his ideas I copied from him every time I play jazz.
    He said that he started using finger picks, because he used to drop all of his flat picks when he was drunk!

    He claimed to be a member of the Hell's Angels, until they put a contract on him for testifying against one of the members in a murder case. He said he went into hiding for a few years until it was safe again.
    Who knows if any of that was true...

  13. #12
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    Well, in one of the interviews he talks about starting out with finger picks on the steel guitar, when he was like 8.

    ...I suppose he could have been drunk at the time.

  14. #13
    anyone know which chapter of Hells Angels Buddy allegedly belonged? thank you

  15. #14
    I grew up in Camas, WA. When I was 15 years old I use to go over to Buddy's apt in Washougal WA and he would let me sit and listen to him rehearse to minus one reel to reel tapes to get ready to record his albums. He would go over to Rip Chord studios in Portland OR and record his guitar parts and send them back to Robert Mersy his producer from Bell Records. Reason he would do this is he was afraid to fly. A 350 pound ex Hells Angel! I would always ask Buddy to show me some stuff. He would say to me "Dave...you'll figure it out. Now let's go race my car at the Black Forest!" And that's what we'd do...

  16. #15
    It's very true. His jeep had a bomb under it and his wife and kid got killed. Buddy was never the same after that.

  17. #16
    You know why his style was country oriented? Because when Buddy lived in Tacoma, WA...he was a peddle steel player. That's how he developed his unique picking style with finger picks on all four's.

  18. #17
    My Dad would take me to a club in Lake Oswego OR called the Beach Comber. I was about 15 so I had to sit in the dining room but I could see and hear him. It was him and a drummer and they made more music than some 5 piece bands I ever heard.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveRave View Post
    It's very true. His jeep had a bomb under it and his wife and kid got killed. Buddy was never the same after that.
    When did that happen? Was this because he testified against the HA's?
    Did Buddy ever make any jazz recordings with just a rhythm section?
    I have all the stuff he made on Cyclone, which was great, but the solos were usually one chorus.

  20. #19
    I saw Buddy play several times at the Beachcomber in Lake Oswego 1973-1974 in a trio with Bob James (not the more well-known one) on keys. Buddy had a great mix of jazz and country influences in his playing. Of the recordings I've heard none of them really capture how talented he really was. He was playing a Fender LTD archtop at the Beachcomber.

    The last time I heard Buddy play was probably 1986 in a club in Portland. He was still sounding good on a Super 400 with a Bigsby.

  21. #20
    Here's a complete Fite record from 1975.


  22. #21

    Gentle giant

    Buddy Fite was a really good friend of my Dad's, and I knew him when I was a little girl. Yes, he had the technique of playing the bass line and melody at the same time...I didn't get how special that was when he'd play for us. He led a very interesting, tragic, and colorful life, and always treated us kids with kindness and respect. The last time I saw him, in the late '70's, I was pretty much grown up and was struck by how much smaller he seemed...lol. He was a great and talented man.

  23. #22

    truth

    It is true about him going into hiding...he was, I believe, the leader of the Camas Washington Hell's Angels. There was also some smuggling going on involving airplanes, and other "interesting" activities.

  24. #23

    Buddy Fite

    Actually, that's not true about the bomb in his Jeep. His wife and daughter were killed when they were driving on a steep, windy road and the brakes went out...she lost control and I think it rolled off a cliff. He used to come to our house and work on it with my Dad, who raced Jeeps at the time...I think they met over the CB radio...they were great lifelong friends.

  25. #24
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    The guys that told me about Buddy were players from the Bay Area. Michael Allen provided me with several LP's. I heard Buddy played steel and guitar in Oakland and around there. Do you know of him being there?

    There were so many monsters in that style. Tommy Crook,(thanks Monk) I had a cassette of him until my car was stolen and I lost it! There was another guy around OKC, Joe Settlemires, and Leon Chambers in Dallas. So many great players that passed thru.

  26. #25
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    +1 for Buddy.....

    Have at least one of his vinyl LP's from way back when....

    Grew up mostly in Portland, so, once I got into jazz in my teens, I learned of him, but never heard him play live unfortunately.

    Definitely a unique character and a great picker....

  27. #26
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    Mar 2012
    Location
    green valley, az
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    2 piece quintet

    I saw him at the same gig in Lake Oswego. I still find it unbelievable to hear so much out of guitar and drums. And what a sense of humor. Yes, I am a fan!!

  28. #27
    I was intrigued by the stuff he did with Bob James (not the Bob James everyone knows), who played keyboards and flugelhorn.
    He was involved with two bands that backed Buddy up, "Three Play", and "The King James Version".

    Does anyone know if either of these two groups ever recorded? I did a search on the net and couldn't find anything.

  29. #28

    Searching for materials

    Hellow everyone. I found this unbelievable guitar player half of the year ago and always try to find any type of materials about him. If you got something (tapes, photos, lessons, video) just let me know on private message. I know he was a stepfather for a guy named Christian (I think) so if you read this message please share some Buddy Fite's legacy with us. Cheers.

  30. #29

    My dad knew Buddy Fite

    My dad was also a jazz guitar player in Lake Oswego and was a friend of Buddy Fite's. My dad told me that Buddy was number 11 member in the original Hells Angels. My dad passed away June 2017.

  31. #30
    Glad I happened to come across this thread. Never heard of Buddy Fite before, but I gave it a listen and totally dig his playing. And especially his tone. What a great player! I love the bright tone of his Guild, it's def. not another Gibson 'dark' sound, but so much livelier! His rhythm feel is off the hook too, love it. What can I say, I'm a fan now, thanks for the thread!

  32. #31

    The Early Days

    Hi;
    Buddy's name just came to mind today...so in searching (and U Tube) I found this site.
    I used to see Buddy in Lake Oswego, OR @ a place they called the Beachcomber, around the early 70's I think.........I played guitar...but he was so far above my league that I didn't even know what he was doin'...or how he did it...I just knew it was great...really great.
    Now, I know what he's doin'........but I still can't do it...but I sure do appreciate it.

  33. #32
    I'm glad I downloaded the entire Tasty album that AndyV linked to on you tube before they shut it down. That had the only recorded example of his amazing approach to solo guitar. Kind of similar to Lenny Breau with the thumb pick playing the bass line.

    I posted some BF things on TGP; not a single reaction. Just pearls before swine...

  34. #33

    Buddy Fite

    I played with him for a decade or so... Bob Christianson built a G9 pedal for him ultimate steel and only 33 that I know of.. Buddy and I played the shit out of that pedal all around Portland and believe me,,, he was the best by far of any one on the pedals.. He told me E9 sucks and beat the shit out of this machine.. he also told me once in his house by Hawthorne, that every note will fit,,,, then he always proved it!!!! My steel GOD!

  35. #34

    Timber work and Buddy Fite

    So much is not known about the mysterious Buddy!...but, he does mention himself, that he once worked in a machine shop when he was in his late teens...and, by the 80s, the Timber industry was in steep decline in SW Washington State...we do know that Buddy Fite was one of those reclusive, not so interested in publicity types, and it appears that he largely achieved his goal of being anonymous!

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by curbozer View Post
    So much is not known about the mysterious Buddy!...but, he does mention himself, that he once worked in a machine shop when he was in his late teens...and, by the 80s, the Timber industry was in steep decline in SW Washington State...we do know that Buddy Fite was one of those reclusive, not so interested in publicity types, and it appears that he largely achieved his goal of being anonymous!
    He claimed in an interview to be of Native American heritage, and said he wanted to go through life invisible, like a fish through water.

  37. #36
    It's cool to read and listen to a guy who came up the ranks in Oregon and Washington. I just moved to Washington, so I'm really interested in all the jazz that came out of this state. I'm sure all the natural surroundings contributed to Buddy's playing, cause it's beautiful in Washington state. I mean, there's a great scene in LA, but it's got nothing on what I see outside my window.

    I also like that he plays pedal steel, I love that sound!

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    It's cool to read and listen to a guy who came up the ranks in Oregon and Washington. I just moved to Washington, so I'm really interested in all the jazz that came out of this state. I'm sure all the natural surroundings contributed to Buddy's playing, cause it's beautiful in Washington state. I mean, there's a great scene in LA, but it's got nothing on what I see outside my window.

    I also like that he plays pedal steel, I love that sound!
    Yeah, but are there any recordings on which you can hear Buddy play pedal steel? He plays regular guitar on all of his recordings as leader.

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