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Author Topic:   Alvino Rey
Aaron Schiff
Member

From: Cedaredge, CO, USA

posted 06 January 2005 06:41 AM     profile   send email     edit
This morning the NPR program Morning Edition had a piece on a Montreal band called "Arcade Fire". It mentions Alvino Rey as the grandfather, and musical inspiration, of one of the band members. Unfortunately, they made the usual mistake of referring to him as one of the great "pedal" steel guitarists of the 1930s and '40s. I sent them an email, but maybe somebody with more knowledge of the advent of pedals could do a better job of correcting them. The story had a some really neat sound bites of Rey's playing and a rememberance of the grandson.
Roy Ayres
Member

From: Starke, Florida, USA

posted 06 January 2005 06:49 AM     profile   send email     edit
No correction needed; Alvino played pedals and was great at it!

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Smiley Roberts
Member

From: Hendersonville,Tn. 37075

posted 06 January 2005 08:11 AM     profile   send email     edit
I don't know how far back the Harlin Bros.' "Multi-Kord" goes,but Gibson had an "Electraharp" back in the 40's. One of Alvino's early models is on display at the C.M.H.O.F. here in NashVILE.

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Andy Volk
Member

From: Boston, MA

posted 06 January 2005 09:33 AM     profile   send email     edit
Alvino was one of the founders of the pedal steel. He was talking to Gibson re pedal guitars in the late 30's. the result of those discussions was the first (and best) Gibson Electro Harp. Al Marcus could probably add some important history hear. Al, are you within earshot?

[This message was edited by Andy Volk on 06 January 2005 at 11:00 AM.]

Aaron Schiff
Member

From: Cedaredge, CO, USA

posted 06 January 2005 10:24 AM     profile   send email     edit
I learn something new every day here. I think the first guitar I saw with pedals was a Bigsby in about 1955 or '56. I knew that some people were experimenting with pedals in the late '40s, but I didn't realize they went back into the '30s. The grandson's remembrance was really neat. At one point he talked about how Rey would mix a hidden vocal from back stage with the guitar to make the sound come out of the amp like the guitar was speaking. He said he spent years trying to figure out how grandpa made the guitar speak.
Danny James
Member

From: Columbus, Indiana, USA

posted 06 January 2005 10:31 AM     profile   send email     edit
How far back the Harlin Bros. Multi-Kord goes? The story goes that Harlins had developed the Multi-Kord as early as 1933.
Jay Harlin built the first Multi-Kord pedal steel called the"Kalina Multi-Kord" in the late 39's. The patent was issued Aug. 21,1947.
The things about Alvino Rey and the Electro Harp are supposedly true. It was patented in 1939.
Who was first is controversial. There was a copywright dispute between Harlins and Gibson at one time.
Andy Volk
Member

From: Boston, MA

posted 06 January 2005 11:02 AM     profile   send email     edit
Good info here:
http://www.b0b.com/infoedu/future1.htm

Alvino Rey

Michael Carlson
Friday May 7, 2004
The Guardian

The innovative sounds of the father of the pedal steel guitar, Alvino Rey, who has died aged 95, influenced guitarists as disparate as Duane Eddy and Jimi Hendrix, and bands like the Ventures and the Shadows. In the late 1930s, working with the Gibson company, he had helped to develop the Electroharp pedal steel guitar, which he called his console, using six pedals to bend the steel strings.

Educated in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Lakewood, Rey played the banjo locally, toured, and, in New York, played in the Porgy And Bess pit orchestra while studying guitar with Ray Smeck, who pioneered the electric guitar.

In 1934, Rey joined Harold Heidt's Musical Knights, becoming one of America's highest-paid sidemen. Heidt featured the singing King Sisters, and, in 1937, Rey married Luise King. In 1939, Heidt fired lead vocalist Alyce King, and Rey and the other sisters quit, and started their own orchestra. They broke all records at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles and became the Mutual radio network's house orchestra. He had a massive hit with Deep In The Heart Of Texas.

From 1944 to 1945, Rey served with the US navy, but after the war returned to the charts with Cement Mixer, his guitar providing appropriate sounds. His signature tune, Blue Rey, featured Luise's vocals fed through his guitar amplifier, a trick well ahead of its time. When big bands declined at the end of the 1940s, he played in small combos with his brother-in-law, organist Buddy Cole. He had one more hit, Ping Pong, capitalising on the crazes for table tennis and stereo: his steel guitar notes "bounced" between the two speakers.

He returned to the limelight as Alvino Rey And His Talking Guitar on The King Family ABC-TV variety show (1965-71). In the 1980s he led an orchestra at Disneyland. He had converted to his wife's Mormon faith, and formed a quintet that played around Salt Lake City. In 1996, he made his final appearance, with Luise singing, at the Utah centenary celebrations.

His wife died in 1997. Two sons and a daughter survive him.

Alvino Rey (Alvin McBurney), musician, born July 1 1908; died February 24 2004

George Keoki Lake
Member

From: Edmonton, AB., Canada

posted 06 January 2005 11:39 AM     profile     edit
Thanx Andy...accurate information. I think you meant ROY Smeck instead of "RAY". Also, Alvino appeared at the AISGC Winchester Convention less than 5 years prior to his passing...I cannot recall which year it was, however he did play at that convention. In my humble opinion, his recording of "Tiger Rag" was sensational !
Andy Volk
Member

From: Boston, MA

posted 06 January 2005 12:23 PM     profile   send email     edit
Michael Carlson wrote it, I just pasted it, Keoki.
Ian McLatchie
Member

From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

posted 06 January 2005 12:46 PM     profile   send email     edit
http://www.mergerecords.com/band.php?media=true&band_id=98
Brad Bechtel
Moderator

From: San Francisco, CA

posted 06 January 2005 05:10 PM     profile   send email     edit
I quite like the Arcade Fire's last release "Funeral". Turns out that they recorded a cover version of Alvino Rey's "My Baby" as a tribute to him.
The things you learn on this forum...
(Does this mean one of the King Sisters is the grandmother to these guys?)

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Smiley Roberts
Member

From: Hendersonville,Tn. 37075

posted 07 January 2005 05:30 AM     profile   send email     edit
quote:
....Rey joined Harold Heidt's....

'Nuther "typo". If I'm not mistaken,it was HORACE Heidt. 'Course,I wouldn't know,not being that old!

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  ~ ~
It don't mean a thang,
mm if it ain't got that twang.
www.ntsga.com

Aaron Schiff
Member

From: Cedaredge, CO, USA

posted 07 January 2005 06:29 AM     profile   send email     edit
One of the DJs at the local radio station liked what he heard on the news show and played the whole "Funeral" CD last night. I enjoyed it, which is saying a lot for any music composed in the past 35 years. Now if only grandpa was contributing.
c c johnson
Member

From: killeen,tx usa

posted 07 January 2005 06:50 AM     profile   send email     edit
alvino played I want my Mama and wabash blues using an elongated tone control knob to from bass to treble. I saw him several times at the Chase Hotel in St Louis and for some reason he woild leave his Electro harp and pick up a little Gibson 6 strg to do those and other #s. CC
Jerry Clardy
Member

From: El Paso, Texas, USA

posted 07 January 2005 09:59 AM     profile   send email     edit
Scotty's Steel Guitar Hall of Fame lists Alvino Rey as:"BIG BAND PIONEER. SOUND EFFECTS AND TUNING INNOVATOR, AND FATHER OF THE PEDAL STEEL GUITAR"

Roger Shackelton
Member

From: Everett, Wa.

posted 07 January 2005 10:04 AM     profile   send email     edit
I believe Avino's main tuning over the years was E-13th. ??

Roger

Al Marcus
Member

From: Cedar Springs,MI USA

posted 07 January 2005 09:21 PM     profile   send email     edit
Smiley has got it right, about Alvino and Horace. I remember it all too well.

He always used an E6 tuning on the Electra-Harp. from the top E-C#-B-G#-E-C#-B-G#-E, then he had what is now known as the 5-6-7 pedals on C6.He had 9 strings on his to get that low E. I always wished I had that low E. I had 8 strings on my used Electra-Harp.

He and Gibson ,besides the pedal guitar,worked on a lot of electronic things, including the pickup on the Les Paul guitar.

His band had a radio wire out of the Rustic Cabin in New Jersay, every night.in around 1939 -40. I listened to him every night.
Gibson and Mult-Kord did have a Patent differnce, but Gibson MARKETED nationally their Electra-Harp years before Multi-Kord. It was also on a Birdseye maple cabinet with matched walnut inserts all the way to the floor on three sides, only open from the back. It was stable and had a great sound and that Big Tone control right by my pinky could be used to doowah and make it talk "Mama Blues', "St. Louis Blues"
etc. That novelty stuff got the public's attention too......"Nighty nite" as Alvin would say....al

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Counsel Brinton
Member

From: Livingston, Texas, USA

posted 07 January 2005 10:19 PM     profile   send email     edit
I was fortunate to see Alvino and Luise King perform at Scotty's International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis. I believe it was '88 or '89. As I recall he sat on a stack of chairs. They had some equipment problems but finally got the act off. It was great seeing live those two legends.
George Keoki Lake
Member

From: Edmonton, AB., Canada

posted 12 January 2005 08:37 AM     profile     edit
"...That novelty stuff got the public's attention too......"Nighty nite" as Alvin would say....al..."
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Which brings to mind the beautiful big band steel of the PAUL MARTIN ORCHESTRA out of L.A. in the forties. Paul was a close friend to Alvino. When I met Alvino in Hawai'i one year while he was on a mission for the LDS, I asked him about Paul. Alvino mentioned he wrote many of the arrangements for Paul's big band. If any of you have some old recordings of Paul Martin, his style was much smoother than Alvino's, at least to these olde ears. "Nighty Nite" was Paul's closing theme, probably arranged by Alvino.
Al Marcus
Member

From: Cedar Springs,MI USA

posted 12 January 2005 10:38 AM     profile   send email     edit
Keoki-I do remember Paul Martin from the West Coast. I used to listen to his band on the radio whenever I could.

He played a lot like Alvino, and I also thought a little smoother. Maybe he used picks.

I saw Alvino play right in front of me , I stood on the dance floor right next to the stage and watched his every move. He noticed it too. and he used a guitar flat pick and strummed. As he always switched from the steel to the guitar very quickly at times, and back.

I learned a lot from Alvino and went on from there.......al

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My Website..... www.cmedic.net/~almarcus/

George Keoki Lake
Member

From: Edmonton, AB., Canada

posted 12 January 2005 01:23 PM     profile     edit
As I recall, Alvino mentioned he owned the orginal Gibson pedal job (Grande Console w/4 pedals on one leg), Paul owned # 2 and Frankie McPhalen (late) of Vancouver, BC owned #3. I had the pleasure of jamming with Frankie who was one of Canada's top steel players during the forty era. When he turned his guitar over, sure enough, it was #3 !

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