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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Billy Tipton Plays Hi-Fi On Piano

Delilah
Billy Tipton Plays Hi-Fi On Piano
Tops L1534
1957

Wow! What a great cover! Looks like little Billy is gonna be in big trouble soon enough!

I wasn't aware of Tipton or his life story until I picked up this record. On the surface and from his wiki page, "his" story is a troubled one.

Having split over differences in opinion with his wife, nightclub dancer and stripper Kitty Kelly (Kitty Oakes) on how to raise their adopted sons, Tipton moved into a mobile home and lived in poverty until his death.

That's sad enough, but not the end of the tale.  Lifted directly from Tipton's wiki page: In 1989, at the age of 74, Tipton had symptoms he attributed to emphysema and refused to call a doctor. Actually he was suffering from a hemorrhaging peptic ulcer, which, untreated, was fatal. It was while paramedics were trying to save Tipton's life, with son William looking on, that William learned that his father was female assigned at birth. Tipton was pronounced dead at Valley General Hospital. The coroner shared this with the rest of the family. In an attempt to keep the secret, Kitty arranged for his body to be cremated, but one of their sons went public with the story. The first newspaper article was published the day after Tipton's funeral and it was quickly picked up by wire services. Stories about Tipton appeared in a variety of papers including tabloids such as National Enquirer and Star, as well as more reputable papers such as New York Magazine and The Seattle Times. Tipton's family even made talk show appearances.

Two wills were left by Tipton: one handwritten and not notarized which left everything to William Jr.; and the second, notarized, leaving everything to Jon Clark.[8] A court upheld the first will, and William inherited almost everything, with John and Scott receiving one dollar each.

Amazing...

This is a great album, one of two that Tipton recorded for Tops that did well for the independent label. As you can tell from the sample the sound is fabulously spacey featuring Tipton's reverb driven piano.

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