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Buddy Fite

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Ronald D. Fite
Also known asBuddy Fite
Born (1938-06-19) June 19, 1938 (age 83)[1]
Clackamas, Oregon
DiedSeptember 4, 2001(2001-09-04) (aged 63)
Amboy, Washington
Genresjazz
Instrumentsguitar
LabelsCyclone, Bell

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Ronald D. Fite, (June 19, 1938 - September 4, 2001), known as Buddy Fite, was an American guitarist from Oregon.

Fite was raised by his grandparents. As a child he learned to play first ukulele, then Hawai'ian steel guitar. He was playing professionally by the age of ten.[2]

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.[3] Fite's preferred style was jazz, but he could play in many other genres.

Fite disliked flying and had a deep love for the Pacific Northwest. Consequently he rarely played outside that area.[2]

In the 1960s he was a member of a Hell's Angels group[4] and worked in a Washington lumber mill[5]

In 1969 Robert Mersey received tapes of Fite's playing and signed him to his record label Cyclone Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures[6]. 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."[7]

First 12-inch single[edit]

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),[8] both from his self-titled debut album issued in 1969.[9] 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.[10]

Decline and death[edit]

In the 1990s Fite underwent a laryngectomy for throat cancer.[4] In 1997 a book was published, Buddy Fite Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos, which was accompanied by a CD of Fite's music.[2] Fite died of cancer on 4 September, 2001.[11]

Discography[edit]

Albums[12]
Title Label Date
Buddy Fite! Cyclone 4100* 1969
Changes Cyclone 4110* 1970
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
Tasty Pinnacle 7779 1982

asterisk = produced by Robert Mersey

Singles (all produced by Robert Mersey)[13]
Titles Label Date
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

References[edit]

  1. "Buddy Ronald Fite - Ancestry.com". www.ancestry.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fite, Buddy (1997). Buddy Fite Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos. Mel Bay Publications. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. Record World, 14 November 1970
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Guitarist Buddy Fite Chose Life, Family, Music | The Seattle Times". archive.seattletimes.com.
  5. sleeve notes, "Buddy Fite And Friend" album
  6. Record World, 14 November 1970
  7. Album sleeve notes, "Buddy Fite!"
  8. "Buddy Fite - For Once in My Life / Glad Rag Doll". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  9. "Buddy Fite - Buddy Fite!". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  10. Link, Geoffrey; "Tower Test-Markets 12-Inch Single in Sacramento and L.A."; Billboard; 14 March 1970.[1]
  11. ""MR. MUSIC"". jerryosborne.com.
  12. "Buddy Fite". Discogs.
  13. https://www.45cat.com/artist/buddy-fite

Category:1938 births Category:2001 deaths Category:20th-century American guitarists Category:20th-century American male musicians Category:American jazz guitarists Category:American male guitarists Category:Bell Records artists Category:Fingerstyle guitarists Category:People from Oregon

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