Dr. Burt passed away last week after a battle with cancer. We were all saddened to hear this, and Tim wrote the following to commemorate him:
Dr. Burt was a dear friend to everyone that he met. He opened his home and his heart to all the Music Maker interns and fans that found him at his very humble home in Birmingham, Alabama. He made friends with the Jazz Foundation of America, venues throughout France and music lovers around the world.
“What can an old man do but sing the blues?” asked Dr Burt in the song that gave his album its title. He felt the heartache and the hope, the struggle and the progress, managed to convey in his music the hardships and the fear, the segregated buses, the church bombings, escaping death being shot through the thumb while leading a civil rights march, spending time in jail defending himself victimized by a hate crime.
To get past all of this, to have struggled for the true teachings on non-violence, Dr. Burt was truly a man of love and peace. All who met Dr. Burt were affected, their worlds were changed.
His last wish on his deathbed was if we could get him a gig nearby. At the end he told his wife Dorothy that he was tired and good-bye, as it was time for him to go.
He once said, “Music Maker has given blues musicians that are undiscovered the opportunity to share our vision and love for the blues to other people and this here is worldwide. This is a dream I had when I was young. I intend to do another song. ‘Pinch me, let me Wake Up,’ cause I can’t believe it! Australia, Paris, France! The Music Maker, I love you. It’s incredible. I thought all of this was just gone. At my age now and I am pushing 77 years of age.”
– Tim Duffy