Ronald D. Fite
|Also known as||Buddy Fite|
|Born||June 19, 1938|
|Died||September 4, 2001 (aged 63)|
As a teenager he was active in the Washington and Oregon music scenes, where he met Willie Nelson, then a disk jockey on station KAVM (now KMTT). Nelson invited him to play steel guitar on his first recording, No Place For Me, released in February 1957.
He was impressed by the guitar playing on records by Les Paul and strove hard to emulate his sound, not knowing that Paul's guitars were usually recorded at half speed and their distinctive sound achieved by skilful production work. Fite's preferred style was jazz, but he could play in many other genres.
In 1969 Robert Mersey received tapes of Fite's playing and signed him to his record label Cyclone Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. Fite declined to travel in order to record, and went instead to a local Oregon studio, forcing Mersey to come to him or mailing the resulting tapes to him for production. His first album for Mersey contained largely standards; his second included some of his own compositions. Mersey wrote of him: "The proof of Buddy's genius is that the exquisite chord changes and great melodic lines which he plays are all instinctive; as he cannot read a note of music. The music comes from within and, no doubt, this is what makes him the great stylist he is."
First 12-inch single
In March 1970, Cycle/Ampex Records test-marketed a twelve-inch single by Fite, featuring "Glad Rag Doll" backed with "For Once in My Life" (originally Cyclone 75004), both from his self-titled debut album issued in 1969. Subtitled 'The world's first 12 inch single!', the experiment aimed to energize the struggling singles market, offering a new option for consumers who had stopped buying traditional singles. The record was pressed at 33 rpm, with identical run times to the seven-inch 45 rpm pressing of the single and album, but with a large runoff area. Several hundred copies were made available for sale for 98 cents each at two Tower Records stores in California as an attempt to lure record buyers who only purchased albums into considering singles.
Decline and death
In the 1990s Fite underwent a laryngectomy for throat cancer. In 1997 a book was published, Buddy Fite Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos, which was accompanied by a CD of Fite's music. Fite died of cancer on 4 September, 2001.
|Buddy Fite!||Cyclone 4100*||1969|
|Buddy Fite And Friend||Bell Records 6058*||1971|
|Buddy Fite Plays For Satin Dolls||Differant Drummer 1001*||1975|
|The Hits of Yesterday||CMI 1005||1977|
asterisk = produced by Robert Mersey
|For Once In My Life/Glad Rag Doll||Cyclone 75004||November 1969|
|So Rare/They Can't Take That Away From Me||Cyclone 75009||March 1970|
|Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head/Finger Pickin' Good (B side composed by Fite)||Cyclone 75010||June 1970|
|Evil Ways/El Jefe (The Chief)||Cyclone 75017||September 1970|
- "Buddy Ronald Fite - Ancestry.com". www.ancestry.com.
- Fite, Buddy (1997). Buddy Fite Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos. Mel Bay Publications. Search this book on
- Record World, 14 November 1970
- "Guitarist Buddy Fite Chose Life, Family, Music | The Seattle Times". archive.seattletimes.com.
- sleeve notes, "Buddy Fite And Friend" album
- Record World, 14 November 1970
- Album sleeve notes, "Buddy Fite!"
- "Buddy Fite - For Once in My Life / Glad Rag Doll". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
- "Buddy Fite - Buddy Fite!". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
- Link, Geoffrey; "Tower Test-Markets 12-Inch Single in Sacramento and L.A."; Billboard; 14 March 1970.
- ""MR. MUSIC"". jerryosborne.com.
- "Buddy Fite". Discogs.
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