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Lyr Req: 12-String Stella (John Bassette)

johnross 27 Sep 07 - 11:00 PM
Peace 27 Sep 07 - 11:12 PM
Art Thieme 28 Sep 07 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,banjoman 28 Sep 07 - 07:51 AM
Anglo 01 Oct 07 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,J 01 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM
PoppaGator 01 Oct 07 - 01:17 PM
Art Thieme 01 Oct 07 - 02:16 PM
Phil Cooper 01 Oct 07 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,J 01 Oct 07 - 10:49 PM
GUEST 23 May 12 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,shane oneill 08 Apr 13 - 03:28 AM
GUEST 28 Apr 13 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,John Grenville-Barker. Germany 05 Jan 18 - 05:29 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella' John Bassette
From: johnross
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 11:00 PM

I am looking for either lyrics or a recording of John Bassette's song about "that 12-string Stella, like Leadbelly used to play."

John was based in Cleveland, but he was a moderately well-known figure on the folk music circuit in the late 60s and early 70s, even though he never had a major record deal. He made a couple of private-label LPs, but I don't know if he ever recorded that particular song.

Anybody have a pointer?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: Peace
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 11:12 PM

Have you seen this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 12:26 AM

I do remember John playing around Chicago in the early '70s. But I don't really recall this song---or any others actually.

I always did wonder about the Stella guitar Leadbelly was said to have played. All of the Stella guitars I saw were extremely cheap plywood instruments. My first guitar was a Stella. I bought it for ten dollars from Joel Kanter at the Sammy house---University of Illinois at Champaign-----1959. I got rid of it as soon as I put the cash together to buy a Harmony Sovereign.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 07:51 AM

One of my early guitars was a Stella 12 string bought for £25 (new)in1963 in Frank Hessy's shop in Liverpool. It was plywood and the neck was a thick log without a truss rod. It played well but needed fingers like Mole Grip Wrenches to play beyond the third fret.
Sadly it was lost when I loaned it to a travelling person whose Bender was set on fire by louts.
Fond memories but it led me on to far better instruments and even to make my own banjos & guitars which all have necks which are truss rodded & playable


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: Anglo
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:18 AM

Sorry not to be able to help, but I thought I'd add that my partner and I played for a week sharing the bill with John Bassette at the Earl of Old Town in Chicago, around '72 or so. I remember him as a strong performer. Don't remember much about his songs though, except one about the street he live on in Cleveland, and I can't even remember the name of that! "It's so neat, on ---- Street."

As I recall he later got into some trouble with the law in Cleveland, and I don't think he's with us any more, though I'm not sure about that and I never heard any details.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: GUEST,J
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM

Here's a couple of links re John Bassette:

http://www.johnbassette.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/john_bassette

The line is "It's so nice on Hessler Street"

http://www.hessler.org/fair.html

The recording listed in one of the above posts is a compilation of various artists performing John Bassette's songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:17 PM

Stellas, back in the 20s/30s, must have been considered "mediocre" (at worst) rather than "flat-out lousy" guitars, because the representatives of record companies who traveled the country scouting for blues and country artists often carried Stellas for their "discoveries" to play when being recorded.

The idea, of course, was that the record company's Stella guitar would often be of better quality, and would provide a better recorded sound, than the backwoods artist's own instrument.

My own limited experience suggests that your basic Stella guitar is pretty damn difficult to fret. A 12-string would probably be even more of a nightmare to play than a six; Leadbelly must have had quite a set of calluses!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:16 PM

I'd like to think that the Stella guitars Leadbelly played came from a time when that brand was actually a better guitar than when it was being mass produced and made of plywood in the late 1950s when I got one. Mine was small and not a 12-string. Just a 6-string that was easy to learn on playing it at the first position.

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:00 PM

I saw John play at the old Amazing Grace Coffeehouse in Evanston back in the '70's. I saw an album he put out on the Tinkerbell Label (his own, I believe). I recall him being a funny, charming performer. Jamie Brockett recorded his song "Remember the Wind and the Rain" on his first Capitol album (the same one with Titanic on it).

I heard from another Cleveland friend that he did, in later life, have some economic hardships and legal problems. But, yes, John did pass away a few years back and I hope he's in a happier place.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: '12-string Stella:' John Bassette
From: GUEST,J
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:49 PM

At a given point in time John Bassette WAS folk music in Cleveland. He was a great performer in his early career. Great voice, solid guitar player, wonderful stage presence and a big personality. His label was called TinkerToo, which he explained on his first release, a 4 song EP called 'Weed and Wine": "You're a tinker, I'm a tinker, he's a tinker, too. TinkerToo!" It had the song 'Hello Cleveland' on it that got alot of airplay at that time.

Connect w/t links posted. I'm sure that someone involved in the compilation CD or the Hessler Street Fair will have better info.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 12-String Stella (John Bassette)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 12 - 05:56 PM

I know the first few lines are:

I did not go to Woodstock.
I might not go again.
Too many people
for the kind of shape I'm in.

and I think the next part goes:

But my troubles they are melting
Like snowflakes from the sky.
I'll just sit right here on my front porch
and watch the world go by.

'cause it's so nice on Hessler Street.
It's so nice on Hessler Street.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 12-String Stella (John Bassette)
From: GUEST,shane oneill
Date: 08 Apr 13 - 03:28 AM

dude i know like that whole song i cant find it anywhere my dad used to sing it to me as a kid but he wud change the name hessler to elm cuz thats where i lived " well i might not go to woodstoch and i may go back again but theres too many people for the kind of shape im in and my tear drops are falling down like rain drops from the sky so ill just sit right here on my front porch and watch the world go by cause it so nice living on hessler street yea its so nice living on hessler street now the street is made of cobble stone not anyone the same and the people you se comin just may never see again tommoros a long day coming and everything will change....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 12-String Stella (John Bassette)
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 13 - 09:01 AM

Whoa. So nice to go back in time and hear about John. I lived with John for years. I'm trying to remember which song those lyrics are in and I just can't. It'll come to me in the middle of the night probably.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 12-String Stella (John Bassette)
From: GUEST,John Grenville-Barker. Germany
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 05:29 AM

I can rememberJohn Bassette in London mid 1960's. He was in a show called Golden Boy, Sammy Davis Jr. starred. John sometimes came down to the Troubadour in Earls Court and a couple of times sang. Great voice and good guitar playing. The song about the guitar salesman trying to sell a young boy Martins,Gibsons etc. "just give me a 12 string Stella like Leadbelly used to play" was the reply. John also sang Buffy St.Marie's song "Until it's time for you to go "
I wonder if anyone else was around then?
    Great forum. thanks
          John (Grenville-Barker)


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