Welcome to Deke's Wonderful World of Weirdness!|
Ever wonder what Deke collects? What sparks his interest? For a fascinating and frightening glimpse of what makes Deke tick, we offer up here some of his "private stash" for you to enjoy. Enter at your own risk!
Deke has spent more than twenty years on the road, and along the way he's stopped at practically every junk store, garage sale, thrift shop, antique mall, and overflowing trash bin in the United States. Scrounging for records in Council Bluffs, Iowa, buying guitars off flatbed trucks in Jackson, Mississippi, or stumbling across cans of Treniers-brand "Poontang" at an abandoned whorehouse in Butte, Montana... Deke has found some pretty crazy stuff along the way.
One-man band spotted on the street in Turkey--note marionette puppet!
One-Man Band Reynaldo Venabete on Pilipinas Got Talent
Marce Reyes, the Filipino one-man band of Wichita, Kansas, shown here playing his custom-made Ralph Smith tripleneck instrument. The tripleneck featured three traditional Filipino instruments: the bajo, the 12-string guitara, and the 14-string bandoria. (photo courtesy Eric Cale / Ralph Smith Family)
I know nothing more about Larry Bryant other than this poster, but he appears to be another sideways- roller-skate-on-the-feet guy... a common technique among one-man-band guys playing instruments with their feet!
An earlier photo of Larry Bryant (photo courtesy Ben Elder)
Another mystery one-man band: John Schmitt!
Boyd's Solo Band (photo courtesy Andrew Brown)
"Simplicio and Lucio Godino, World's Only Boy Siamese Twins, Who with Their Brides and Filipino Jazz band, Are Playing the RKO Theater" (1920s San Francisco Examiner photo)
Jesse Fuller: San Francisco Bay Blues
A contemporary one-man band: Marc Twymans One Man Electric Blues Band. Watch his right foot! Wow!
Another contemporary one-man band in Bath, England
Joe Barrick is my kind of a guy: inventor, guitar maker, hillbilly musician, and a one-man band specialist! He was born in 1922 in Oklahoma and grew up playing fiddle and mandolin in western swing and hillbilly bands, idolizing Bob Wills.
After a stint in the Armed Services during WWII, Joe settled in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, working as a carpenter and beginning to dabble in making musical instruments. In the early 1950s he started making a series of electrified instruments--guitars, mandolins, and doublenecks--that incorporated bull skulls, complete with horns, as the central body. Joe built about a dozen of these "cow skull" guitars before moving on to other important ventures, including his one-man band.
Joe tired of the hassles with fellow musicians and decided to forge his own road ahead. He invented a device called the "piatarbajo," a combination piano, guitar, bass, and banjo, which he played with his feet while playing the guitar, mandolin, or fiddle with his hands and singing or playing harmonica with his mouth.
On our last tour through Oklahoma we got to meet the 85-year-old Joe Barrick, still going strong. His entire house compound was a one-man folk art complex, from the thousands of beer cans that decorated the fence surrounding his property to the whirligig in the back yard incorporating (what else) a cow skull and a giant metal guitar. It was a treat to meet this interesting man with such a colorful history!
For a more complete story on Joe Barrick and one-man bands, visit www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/barrick.htm. Here's a well-deserved salute to a true original!