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"You might not be able to do all the things you wish to do, but at least try to do some of them."
January 23, 2012 5:41 AM   Subscribe

In the course of his life, he stepped into the ring as a Golden Gloves boxer, marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC and even fell victim to southern racism. It would not be until decades later as a mechanic that a customer would ask Gordon Burt Jr to play a song on his guitar.

In addition to receiving a recording deal, Dr. G.B. Burt continues to live in Alabama, but also enjoys his dream of performing on stage - an ambition that stretched as far back as the 1950s.
posted by Smart Dalek (7 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Birmingham REPRESENT!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on January 23, 2012


This guy seems awesome. I guess the "Dr" must be a stage name thing, like "Dr Teeth"? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as cheerful as he seems if I were still living in the region that wrongly imprisoned me, even if it were 50 years ago.
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on January 23, 2012


I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be as cheerful as he seems if I were still living in the region that wrongly imprisoned me, even if it were 50 years ago.

Maybe that can be partly explained by what G.B. says at the end of that BBC clip, about the "rough part of the mountain". He says it's better than the "slick" part of the mountain cause on the rough side you've got something to hold on to. If I might take the liberty of extrapolating that into, say, a man's life, it might mean family and friends. The good people that are also there in (as you put it) "the region that imprisoned" him.

At any rate, it's not for everybody to pack up and leave their home for some new and unknown place, even if their home was the scene of hardships, brutality and injustice.

I think also of blues great RL Burnside*, who did what many would no doubt find a surprising and unlikely reverse migration when he moved back to Mississippi from Chicago. But it was in that city that RL saw several of his male relatives get shot and killed. The grass wasn't always necessarily greener north of the Mason-Dixon line.

*whose position as elder statesman of the rural southern blues tradition G.B. seems likely to fill now, actually.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the course of his life, he stepped into the ring as a Golden Gloves boxer, marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC and even fell victim to southern racism.

Nice to imagine that the last item in the list might be, as implied, rarer than the others.
posted by iotic at 7:31 AM on January 23, 2012


Thanks for posting this. Gordon Burt is wonderful, and the Adolphus Bell clip is priceless - the Mississippi Rubber-Leg - I love it!

"Every time I pawn my guitar at the pawn shop, when I get it back, take it home and play it, I can sound even more bluesy!"
posted by crazy_yeti at 7:36 AM on January 23, 2012


American racism.
posted by TheKM at 12:14 PM on January 23, 2012


Thanks for the introduction to this remarkable person, Smart Dalek!
posted by madamjujujive at 3:52 PM on January 23, 2012


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