Floyd Council

by Patrick Moore and Elyse Yow, UNC Asheville students

 


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Photo by Kip Lornell. From Living Blues magazine, reprinted in Sheldon Harris's Blues Who's Who (Arlington House, 1979).

Full name: Floyd "Dipper Boy" Council

Nicknames/Recorded Under: "Devil's Daddy-in-Law," "Blind Boy Fuller's Buddy," "Dipper Boy"

Instrument(s): guitar (and vocals), mandolin

Born: September 2, 1911, Chapel Hill, NC

Died: May 9, 1976, Chapel Hill, NC, according to the death certificate pictured here (Some sources indicate that he died June 1976, in Sanford, NC)

[Click to enlarge]

Courtesy of http://www.deadbluesguys.com

Biographical Sketch

Floyd Council was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 2, 1911, to Harrie and Lizzie Council. Floyd was enticed by the blues very early on, learning the trade of the guitarist while still very young. He and his brothers, Leo and Thomas Stroud, started playing on the streets of Chapel Hill in the 1920s.

Floyd later began working with legendary blues artist Blind Boy Fuller in the 1930’s, earning him the nickname “Blind Boy Fuller’s Buddy.” ACR Records’ John Baxter Long invited Council to record alongside Fuller on a 1937 New York City session, after hearing him playing in Chapel Hill in January of that year. He was only used as a second guitar, and any solo tracks were under his earlier nickname, “Blind Boy Fuller’s Buddy.” According to a 1969 interview, Council backed Fuller in seven tracks out of his twenty-seven ever recorded. Although, in 1970, Floyd claims the backing of Fuller on fifteen tracks, four of which were never released. Though he is mainly known for backing Fuller, he also recorded solo. Council also worked with a well-known harmonica player, Sonny Terry. Council is said to have recorded three albums, two of which were never issued.

Council continued his recording career by playing in Elks Homes, country clubs, on the local radio, and other gigs. He was also part of a local band called the Chapel Hillbillies, playing for Chapel Hill students.

Floyd eventually ceased playing due to an unspecified illness. He suffered a stroke in the late 1960s, which in turn paralyzed his throat muscles and slowed his motor skills; nevertheless, he stayed very sharp mentally. Floyd passed away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 9, 1976, due to heart failure/cardiac arrest. He is said to be buried in White Oak A.M.E. Zion Cemetery of Sanford.

Interesting Fact

Source: Moore, Dave. “RE: [pre-war-blues] Pink Anderson / Floyd Council.” E-mail to Bryan Sinclair. 14 March 2005.

Syd Barrett of the rock band Pink Floyd apparently came up his band’s name by combining the first names of South Carolina bluesman Pink Anderson and North Carolina bluesman Floyd Council. According to blues scholar Dave Moore of Bristol, UK, “there have been many incorrect stories printed about the derivation of the name.” The origin of the name “Pink Floyd” most likely came from an LP in the possession of Barrett titled Blind Boy Fuller: Country Blues 1935-1949 (Phillips BBL 7512, c. 1962). The liner notes written by Paul Oliver describe Pink Anderson and Floyd Council as being “amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys.”

Books

Bastin, Bruce. Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Harris, Sheldon. Blues who's who : a biographical dictionary of Blues singers. New Rochelle, N.Y. : Arlington House, 1979.

Cohn, Lawrence, et al. Nothing but the blues : the music and the musicians. New York : Abbeville Press, 1993. ML3521 .N68 1993

Larkin, Colin (ed.). Guinness encyclopedia of popular music, 2nd ed. New York: Stockton Press, 1995

Bastin, Bruce. Crying for the Carolines. London: Studio Vista, 1971, p. 46-47.

Articles

Bastin, Bruce. “On Floyd Council.” Blues Unlimited 70 (February-March 1970):7-8.

Lornell, Kip. "Floyd Council." Living Blues 31 (March-April 1977): 6

Recordings on CD

Various Artists. Carolina blues (1937-1947). Vienna, Austria: Document Records, 1993.

Web Sites

Dead Blues Guys. Accessed 15 Sept. 2003 <http://www.deadbluesguys.com/>

Wikipedia. Accessed 1 Oct 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Council>

 


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Last updated 31 October 2005.