SAD NEWS: It is with heavy heart that we report the passing of the extraordinary Peter B. Lowry, lover of Blues, family and Australia. Peter spent his last months at home in his wheelchair with his family, labeling photos from his time in the field. His complete collection of recordings is archived at UNC Chapel Hill. But his heart was in an old stone house at the edge of the world where he was known to frequently rejoice: “Only in Australia!!”.
Back in the day (the mid-sixties), I began a series of columns for BLUES UNLIMITED, the fine magazine based in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex in the UK and edited by the late Simon A. Napier and the late Mike A. Leadbitter in their spare time. It was a ground-breaking publication and possibly the first of its kind with that kind of delineated and deep a focus on blues (as opposed to the many extant jazz magazines that peripherally dealt with it… at best), at least in English! I was even a part of the latter-day editorial board for a brief while, until Mike Rowe took over the final editorship by himself and things were then streamlined. Anyway, the series was called “Oddenda & Such”, which I thought extremely clever back then and which I still think ain’t half bad! To me, it gave me the greatest leeway as to what I might write about; that has been my written tendency since then to the present day.
BU ended up with something like three so-labeled “episodes” that mainly focused then on discographical or lyrical minutia as one did back in those days. I began in a similar vein when I resurrected the title more recently for BLUES & RHYTHM, also from the UK. They have altered the titling in more recent months (and it is no longer regularly scheduled) to “The Stuff is Still Here”, a.o., but the intent and scope is still (hopefully) the same. The column continues sporadically into the present, a mixture of opinion (mainly book reviews), random miscellaneous collected bits and pieces on the music that do not “fit” as a singular article, stories from my decade working as a folklorist “in the field” through the southeastern states in the US (1969-1980), biographical and reflective pieces regarding myself re: blues (and jazz) music, and biographical reflections on various artists I have known through those years (too often these days in the form of an obituary piece).
Additionally, I will include the liner notes written in the 1970s for the various released Trix albums, plus up-dates where published again by Muse Records, a.o. (and the Trix liner essays written by others as well), plus any other sets of liner notes or essays that I have written for other labels that I can dredge up, both published and unpublished. [It all depends on whether or not I am reunited with my “stuff” in NJ* where all those things are moldering away!] With this format I will also publish record and book reviews. Again published and unpublished. Additionally, some of my photographs will be here as well as occasional unreleased recorded selections.
Anyway, it’s an excuse for me to show off what I have done, as well as what I think, concerning this music called blues (and jazz!). I hope to include some of my jazz writings as well, for anything goes in a place like this! As indicated, maybe I can even include musical samples… it depends greatly on how sophisticated this Luddite becomes with his 21st Century machinery. In typical blog listing formatting, the oldest piece chronologically (O&S – #1) is at the end of their placement here, with the most recent seen first up. This goes against my theory of mind, but my expert son says that’s how it is with these things. So, more recent pieces may refer to prior ones in the text – I will try and put up a sort of table of contents/index sort of listing later on. On the off chance that some of you out there might be interested in my prose, etc., there you are… read on, MacDuff!!
PETER B. LOWRY
f/k/a Pete Lowry (plus occasionally “William Bentley”, and even “Ruby C.”!)
* That reunion took place in late 2016. That’s either something wonderful, or something dangerous. Only time will tell!
I WANT TO THANK MASSIVELY MY SON, JULIAN CASEY-LOWRY, FOR HIS TALENTS AND ASSISTANCE ON THIS PROJECT. AS A CARD-CARRYING LUDDITE, MY ABILITIES WITH SUCH SATANIC MACHINERY CONTINUES TO BE LIMITED TO LETTER WRITING!