Mo' Tippy Armstrong from "CUBA, ALABAMA":
Finally put a page up for Tippy A. I guess I was waiting on myspace to arrive... the perfect forum for it. Anyway, thanks for checking it out. I want to integrate tons of the blog on your site somehow. Any suggestions, contributions of pics, info, rumors, music, etc. are greatly appreciated and will be duly noted on the site.
To: "robert register"
Subject: Fw: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale #3
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 00:00:01 -0500
----- Original Message -----
From: Dean White
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: Re: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale #3
Came in off the towboats one time- my momma said "Tippy's been calling here for the past couple days lookin' for you".
When I got hold of him, he said "Cap'n! (he hung Cap'n on me)-" they want me to play a solo gig at DownUnder (on the UA campus) tonite. I ain't got a guitar. I ain't got an amp. Got nobody t' hep me with the sound. But I got this bottle a' tequila..."
Question: "Tippy, where's your guitar?"
Answer: "Loaned it t' Joe Rudd."
Question: "I can get guitars. Where's your amp?"
Answer: "Loaned it t' Glenn Butts."
Question; "Can we go by Glenn's and get the amp?"
Answer: I couldn't do that, Cap'n- that just, well, it just wouldn't be right."
Question: "Why not?"
Answer: "Cause I, well, just cause I loaned it to him."
Question" Can we go by Glenn's, and I'LL ask him if we can borrow it?"
Answer: "Well, that'd be mighty nice of ya."
Couple rounds thru T-town, that bottle of Tequila, and one bottle Mateus Rose' later, he entertained a crowd of mostly students, ('cause he wouldn't tell anyone else 'bout the gig), and I was blessed to have been there to experience it. Everything from "Hideaway", to "Malaguena" to "El Condor Pasa" to "Don't Stop the Honeymoon in my Heart". Told everyone he and I were workin' on a song called "This Ain't Love, but it'll Have to' do 'til we can get Some Sleep", but it wasn't ready yet (it never was). Closed with "You Send Me".
We traveled in the Lincoln- at one point during a break I wanted t' 'round up Duke, and a few others, to come see him, so I asked to use his car. His response: "MAH LINCOLN?" It was as if I'd asked t' see Miss Goldie (his mamma) nekkid. I never asked again.
Got a picture I'll try to scan and send around- it's my first wedding, and Tippy's standing there beside me with his hand on my shoulder...
...and that far-away look in his eyes...
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 11:49 AM
Subject: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale
I sure do remember that old black Lincoln that Tippy drove...I did not know he traded it for the suicide weapon...there are still lots of folks that don't think Tippy offed himself.....I do not know many details at all..
I rode to Tuscaloosa with Tippy once from Muscle Shoals in that old black Lincoln...he was wearin' a big wide and straight brimmed light gray Stetson hat...and a pair of reflector aviators goggles...sunglasses....he had a quart ofbeer between his legs as he drove...may have been wine or The Whip or shine...but he did not seem to be impaired at all by it...
The movie EASY RIDER had been out for a while...and Tippy wanted me to help him write a movie titled HARD WALKER...the story of Hardin Walker...some imaginary character that he dreamed up...Tippy had a funny dry sense of humor and that titled started about as the punchline to one of his jokes....after he said somethang funny or offbeat like that he'd look at you with this crazy almost smile...but his eyes would have a look that said it all....
anyway as we were motivatin' along in that old black late 50's or early 60's Lincoln on a two lane black top at speeds around 70 or 80 miles and hour I saw a truck about to pull out into the road at a 90 degree angle....we would have hit it broadsided....I pointed to the truck and tried to remain calm...and said somethang like "Watch out...a truck !"
Tippy never flinched or even looked like he thought about hittin' the breaks or slowin' down....at the very last moment as this movin' target was half way blockin' the road cool hand Tippy just whipped the wheel with one hand....looked like one finger on a suicide knob and we went around that truck like stunt driver in a thriller movie.....it felt like the car bent to shape itself around the truck so we would not have to get all 4 wheels off the hardtop.....
Tippy never flinched or said a damned thang afterwards...and I'm like boucin' up and down in my sit like a little kid beatin' on the dash board sayin' "Holy shit we almost got creamed good...death on the highway was almost our last scene....and TIppy seemed to allow the corners of his mouth to turn up in a little smile...but his eyes were shielded by those reflector sunglasses glass so couldn't read his mood as well.....he was so cool under the pressure of that moment...and played that big Lincoln like a fine guitar lick !
Hard Walker...Tippy Armstrong...he looked like a movie star with his square jaw and blond hair and blues eyes....and was born to play the guitar....such a short life...if there is a heaven I hope he's playin' there if I make it !
MIGHTY FIELD of VISION
From: ned mudd
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 12:28 PM
Subject: Tippy tale No. 2
Here's another Tippy tale from circa 1974.
Bill Marshall and I were recording a duo project called "The Truck Stop Opry" and Tippy would wander in from time to time, just checking out what was up, seeing if we were making progress etc. I recall he had an old sedan and carried his Fender bass around by sticking the back end on the rear dashboard, the tuning keys on the front seat. No case. That means, the bass was sorta flying in the car as he drove thru Tuscaloosa.
One day he came by and said he'd gotten a call from Jimmy Cliff. This was after "The Harder They Come". I said "What did he want?" Tippy says something about Jimmy wanting him to go on a big tour. I think it was a world gig but we're stretching my memory banks here.
"You going?" we said.
Tippy says, "I asked Jimmy if that meant I'd have to leave Tuscaloosa."
At that point, Tippy had no interest in leaving home. I reckon he told Jimmy "no."
Another time, shortly after that, I was working the door at Jumpin' Johnny's, downtown Tuscaloosa. I think Locust Fork was playing.
Tippy saunters up with this old gut string guitar on his shoulder, no case. The back end is dangling out behind him. Like everybody carried their guitar that way.
We chatted and he said "You think I could sit in?"
Locust Fork was one hell of a loud-assed band.
I looked at Tippy and figured he could work it out with the band somehow. No cover charge.
The guy who owned Jumpin' Johnny's, Alex Kontos, came by my place the other day with a CD. There was Tippy, jamming with Locust Fork, "live" at Jumpin' Johnny's.
I took one guitar lesson from Tippy. He decided to show me a cool lick and call it a day. The lick was a little 3 chord thing that was a mix of Appalachian with Muscle Shoals R&B thrown in.
Tippy said "Eddie Hinton taught me that."