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A book about Rory

PostPosted: 06 Oct 2014, 06:47
by RobertaSparrow
I have been thinking about what a biography about Rory should be, should include, should cover. Those that have been offered up so far I have found, generally, to be interesting, some more than others, but all lacking.

Rory is IMHO a fascinating artist in many respects. I have read watched and listened to every book, interview, video, and recording I could find about him. There are always conflicts in accounts, and gaps in timelines. But most sources do touch on the high points of his short but intense career. No written account has been able to really satisfy everyone's curiosity about him.

The one improvement I would like to see in a Rory book is an accurate citing of sources, times, places. The Muise book is my favorite so far, but I would like to have seen references to dates and places of these interviews with Rory and with those who worked with him. Of course as the years pass, and memories fade, accuracy will pay the price.

A good story, including a true story, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning would be something I'd like to hear about. The things Rory saw, heard, was intrigued and interested in, that got his interest in his future vocation. In many interviews he speaks of watching old Westerns. You know, those really old, kinda corny Saturday Matinee type kid's cowboy shows, with people like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, and so many others, guitar playing singing cowboys. I've heard Rory loved those. And when I watch some of those old clips, I can see what lured him in. Most of these are old folk songs. The influence? No coincidence there

Gene Autry

Roy Rogers

Tex Ritter

Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin

And the influence of the old U.S. Armed Forces radio stations that Rory used to be able to hear, programming intended to bring a little of back home to homesick American soldiers stationed in Europe during and after WW2 (where, ironically enough, my dad and uncles were stationed in those years). So as a child he was hearing from an outsider's point of view, the same music that my cousins and I were hearing in our young parents' homes, music that seemed too familiar to us to be really moved by, but was the music of home, so it left its mark.

The irony isn't lost on me. From what I have read, as a child Rory heard a lot of his parents' favorites, I believe I read that the music heard in his home was classical, and Irish folk music. So the music on the U.S. Armed Forces Stations must have seemed quite different. The Irish music of his home likely seemed too familiar, but that, too left its mark.

You can hear it in his renditions of Western Plain- An American song, Ledbelly, with a decidedly Irish flavor:

The clip was recorded toward the end of his life, what a precious gift he had. (BTE, that Martin had its own angelic voice, that Takamine not so much, but in Rory's hands it still sounds good)

Ledbelly doing the same:

Rory must have heard this on the radio, when he was just a child.

I bet he heard this one too, when it was a hit on American radio- I bet he did, because ALL my uncles played this one on the "record player." And my uncle Bob used to play and sing it on his old steel string acoustic- but more in the old tradition. I associated it with my parents old fashion music.

And one day, in high school, I heard this, and it was the same old song, but with a different feeling :mrgreen: -

The first time I had ever heard Rory- I was barely a teenager, and there it was, like so much of the British Invasion, our old music coming back to us, but damn, what he did with it!


I would like to hear stories about the ways in which Rory was inspired to make music, about that "Aha" moment where he knew what he wanted to be, and determined to be. And places and dates, if you please.

They say in order to be successful at something, you must dream it first. That is what I want to know, about the dreams that inspired him, kept him going.

FINALLY :roll:

But my question to you, those of you able to read all this boring stuff to the end, if you could pick up a book about Rory and read it, what would you want it to tell you about the great man himself? What would you want to know if you could find out something about the man that you did not know (and that he would be okay with people knowing. A person's private life is that).(IMHO)

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 07 Oct 2014, 11:03
by Annie Elliott
Thanks for that well-considered post, Cynthia. I share your opinion the definitive Rory biography is yet to come. I also enjoyed the clips! My brother and I used to sit glued in front of the TV on Saturday mornings watching that stuff.

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 07 Oct 2014, 12:38
by RobertaSparrow
Well, Rory was known to be a private person, and human curiosity being what it is, I suppose it is pretty much expected that inquiring minds want to know. But I would like to think a good, well researched and well documented book can be very informative without delving into too much of Rory's private life. I would like to think a good book about him would be one that he wouldn't mind people reading.

Rory was a very creative, talented, intuitive man, and there must be a wealth of interesting facts about him that would be illustrative, enlightening, perhaps even inspiring for upcoming, aspiring artists and musicians. As far as his personal life, he guarded his private life, if he wanted it kept private who are we to try to fill in the blanks. And as far as gathering interviews with women with whom he might have been romantically involved, there are a lot of people out there who can fabricate, exaggerate, twist and make up facts to suit their own fantasies. Sad to say, but you never really know. Especially when Rory can no longer speak up for himself. An author would have to be a good judge of character, and when you are talking about someone's reputation, you always have to consider the source. I always give someone the benefit of the doubt, until I catch them in a bald-faced lie. After that happens, it puts everything else they have ever said in a suspect light, and their word is worth less than nothing.

As far as Rory's illness and death, I believe, and I have my reasons for believing, that it had more to do with the toxic effects of acetaminophen (Paracetamol) overdosing. It is far more toxic than most people realize, and in the early 1990s they seldom even mentioned it. I would bet that Rory had no idea how very dangerous such a seemingly harmless, over-the-counter medication really was. As a cautionary tale, as a warning, if that was what lead to his premature death, perhaps it would make people realize, maybe would even save a life or two. I think Rory would be okay with that, too.

That is what I Cynthia, not Annie, think of that- ;)

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 07 Oct 2014, 13:23
by Annie Elliott
Almost anything can be treated appropriately in a biography. No one needs (or necessarily wants) the gory details, just a full picture of the individual.

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 07 Oct 2014, 17:35
by SUBY1974
Lovely idea. Sorry my text is short. I am getting a new computer soon. Subrata.x

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 11 Oct 2014, 11:26
by Tom Jonas
I would like to read a very good analysis of his guitar technique and comparison with other giants. But that would probably need real sound-examples on a CD.
And why not a musical dissection of some of his best songs. He made quite a lot of very very good stuff!

As an appendix I should like very much to see a compilation of Jay Jay's This day in Rory History. I have understood that he did an amazing lot of appearances during his tours, but we should see it all quantified. No wonder he was burnt out!

Regarding Paracetamol. The treatment of an acute overdosing is Acetylcystein. But I don't recall how effective it really is. And I have no recollections of cases with chronic over-use of the drug.
It is a good drug if used properly, especially in children, where acetylsalicylic (Aspirin) is more toxic and with a narrow dose spectrum. But I must say I prefer Aspirin myself if I have a nasty cold or influenza. But Paracetamol potentiates other sorts of painkillers

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 11 Oct 2014, 11:56
by RobertaSparrow
Not a Wiki source, but the FDA: ... 165107.htm ... 171901.pdf

As with most OTC medicines, if you read the label and follow the dosing, it's probably safe. But it seems they put it in so many things, someone could easily not realize they are overdosing, now days they have plenty of warnings, but back then?

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 11 Oct 2014, 12:44
by Annie Elliott
I would love to see an examination of Rory's lyrical development, guitar technique and comparison too although I wouldn't understand it, and the way he changed his use of voice throughout his career. Appendix of JayJay's work, and another of all interviews would be good. Also a list of all the films Rory's work was included in would be interesting. Can there possibly be an appendix of YouTube videos? I guess that would be a whole book of its own.

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 11 Oct 2014, 20:19
by RobertaSparrow
Tom Jonas wrote: . . As an appendix I should like very much to see a compilation of Jay Jay's This day in Rory History. I have understood that he did an amazing lot of appearances during his tours, but we should see it all quantified. No wonder he was burnt out! . . .

Yeah I thought about that, This Day in Rory History is very much a work in progress, with various members adding to it as we move through time. It really should be consolidated, merged from all the contributions over the years. To look at it, seems rather dilute. One of these days one of us needs to go through it all, and bring all the stories from the past up to each day so we see a fuller picture. And there are a lot of gigs Rory did that are not quantified there. I know I saw him at a couple other clubs in Los Angeles than are mentioned in the thread, but I can't give you a date or year. Funny how you think you'll never forget, and you don't really, but the little facts slip away: dates, exact places. But seeing him play, something about Rory on the stage, he had such an intense stage presence, that you can never forget- If you were in his presence while he played, that is one thing you will never forget- it gets seared into the memory. :D :D

Re: A book about Rory

PostPosted: 14 Oct 2014, 10:06
by Leedelta
I had high hopes for Marcus's book...but the Dan Muise one is still the best.

The unused/unedited interviews from "Ghost Blues" documentary is a possible goldmine of stories and should be used in a bio.

I agree that some the other musicians of the time should be interviewed for their views on Rory. I think the guys from Rush and ZZ Top would have great insights due to them being opening acts and then stadium fillers. John Mayall and Chris Barber would also be good interviewees.

I had the pleasure of spending time with a Cajun musician last week and she eplained from her viewpoint the whole mashup that is Southern music. BTW she played music on an Irish bouzuiki.

For Rory to play "Irish" Blues is natural as that is the way his mind was. Listen to Irish Tours "Walk on Hot Coals" from about 5:00 mins onwards, that reminds me of bodhrans and fiddles. Now listen to Tab Benoit "Golden Crown" from 5:20 mins...same idea, but more of a New Orleans flavour.

The best way to get an idea of his technique is to read his interviews and follow up on who he mentions in the interviews.