Francis "Tippy" Armstrong

Rock, Blues, Country Guitar, Songwriter Bobby Womack, The Magnificent Seven

Born: 1947  Tuscaloosa, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame





Mo' Tippy Armstrong from "CUBA, ALABAMA":

Hey Man, 

Finally put a page up for Tippy A. I guess I was waiting on myspace to arrive... the perfect forum for it. Anyway, thanks for checking it out. I want to integrate tons of the blog on your site somehow. Any suggestions, contributions of pics, info, rumors, music, etc. are greatly appreciated and will be duly noted on the site.

Best Regards,

Rick Hirsch

To: "robert register" 
Subject: Fw: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale #3
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 00:00:01 -0500

Chap IV
----- Original Message -----
From: Dean White
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: Re: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale #3

Came in off the towboats one time- my momma said "Tippy's been calling here for the past couple days lookin' for you".

When I got hold of him, he said "Cap'n! (he hung Cap'n on me)-" they want me to play a solo gig at DownUnder (on the UA campus) tonite. I ain't got a guitar. I ain't got an amp. Got nobody t' hep me with the sound. But I got this bottle a' tequila..."

Question: "Tippy, where's your guitar?"
Answer: "Loaned it t' Joe Rudd."
Question: "I can get guitars. Where's your amp?"
Answer: "Loaned it t' Glenn Butts."
Question; "Can we go by Glenn's and get the amp?"
Answer: I couldn't do that, Cap'n- that just, well, it just wouldn't be right."
Question: "Why not?"
Answer: "Cause I, well, just cause I loaned it to him."
Question" Can we go by Glenn's, and I'LL ask him if we can borrow it?"
Answer: "Well, that'd be mighty nice of ya."

Couple rounds thru T-town, that bottle of Tequila, and one bottle Mateus Rose' later, he entertained a crowd of mostly students, ('cause he wouldn't tell anyone else 'bout the gig), and I was blessed to have been there to experience it. Everything from "Hideaway", to"Malaguena" to "El Condor Pasa" to "Don't Stop the Honeymoon in my Heart". Told everyone he and I were workin' on a song called "This Ain't Love, but it'll Have to' do 'til we can get Some Sleep", but it wasn't ready yet (it never was). Closed with "You Send Me".

We traveled in the Lincoln- at one point during a break I wanted t' 'round up Duke, and a few others, to come see him, so I asked to use his car. His response: "MAH LINCOLN?" It was as if I'd asked t' see Miss Goldie (his mamma) nekkid. I never asked again.

Got a picture I'll try to scan and send around- it's my first wedding, andTippy's standing there beside me with his hand on my shoulder...
...and that far-away look in his eyes...


----- Original Message -----
From: Wyker
To: MightyFieldofVision

Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 11:49 AM
Subject: [MFV] Tippy Armstrong Cat Tale

I sure do remember that old black Lincoln that Tippy drove...I did not know he traded it for the suicide weapon...there are still lots of folks that don't think Tippy offed himself.....I do not know many details at all..

I rode to Tuscaloosa with Tippy once from Muscle Shoals in that old black Lincoln...he was wearin' a big wide and straight brimmed light gray Stetson hat...and a pair of reflector aviators goggles...sunglasses....he had a quart ofbeer between his legs as he drove...may have been wine or The Whip or shine...but he did not seem to be impaired at all by it...

The movie EASY RIDER had been out for a while...and Tippy wanted me to help him write a movie titled HARD WALKER...the story ofHardin Walker...some imaginary character that he dreamed up...Tippy had a funny dry sense of humor and that titled started about as the punchline to one of his jokes....after he said somethang funny or offbeat like that he'd look at you with this crazy almost smile...but his eyes would have a look that said it all....

anyway as we were motivatin' along in that old black late 50's or early 60's Lincoln on a two lane black top at speeds around 70 or 80 miles and hour I saw a truck about to pull out into the road at a 90 degree angle....we would have hit it broadsided....I pointed to the truck and tried to remain calm...and said somethang like "Watch out...a truck !"

Tippy never flinched or even looked like he thought about hittin' the breaks or slowin' the very last moment as this movin' target was half way blockin' the road cool hand Tippy just whipped the wheel with one hand....looked like one finger on a suicide knob and we went around that truck like stunt driver in a thriller felt like the car bent to shape itself around the truck so we would not have to get all 4 wheels off the hardtop.....

Tippy never flinched or said a damned thang afterwards...and I'm like boucin' up and down in my sit like a little kid beatin' on the dash board sayin' "Holy shit we almost got creamed good...death on the highway was almost our last scene....and TIppy seemed to allow the corners of his mouth to turn up in a little smile...but his eyes were shielded by those reflector sunglasses glass so couldn't read his mood as well.....he was so cool under the pressure of that moment...and played that big Lincoln like a fine guitar lick !

Hard Walker...Tippy Armstrong...he looked like a movie star with his square jaw and blond hair and blues eyes....and was born to play the guitar....such a short life...if there is a heaven I hope he's playin' there if I make it !


From: ned mudd

To: Wyker
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 12:28 PM
Subject: Tippy tale No. 2

Here's another Tippy tale from circa 1974.

Bill Marshall and I were recording a duo project called "The Truck Stop Opry" and Tippy would wander in from time to time, just checking out what was up, seeing if we were making progress etc. I recall he had an old sedan and carried his Fender bass around by sticking the back end on the rear dashboard, the tuning keys on the front seat. No case. That means, the bass was sorta flying in the car as he drove thru Tuscaloosa.

One day he came by and said he'd gotten a call from Jimmy Cliff. This was after "The Harder They Come". I said "What did he want?"Tippy says something about Jimmy wanting him to go on a big tour. I think it was a world gig but we're stretching my memory banks here.

"You going?" we said.
Tippy says, "I asked Jimmy if that meant I'd have to leave Tuscaloosa."
At that point, Tippy had no interest in leaving home. I reckon he toldJimmy "no."

Another time, shortly after that, I was working the door at Jumpin' Johnny's, downtown Tuscaloosa. I think Locust Fork was playing.

Tippy saunters up with this old gut string guitar on his shoulder, no case. The back end is dangling out behind him. Like everybody carried their guitar that way.

We chatted and he said "You think I could sit in?"
Locust Fork was one hell of a loud-assed band.
I looked at Tippy and figured he could work it out with the band somehow. No cover charge.

The guy who owned Jumpin' Johnny's, Alex Kontos, came by my place the other day with a CD. There was Tippy, jamming withLocust Fork, "live" at Jumpin' Johnny's.

I took one guitar lesson from Tippy. He decided to show me a cool lick and call it a day. The lick was a little 3 chord thing that was a mix of Appalachian with Muscle Shoals R&B thrown in.

Tippy said "Eddie Hinton taught me that."


From: Wyker
To: MightyFieldofVision
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 6:14 PM
Subject: [MFV] Fw: The Magnificent Rubbers Pt. 1

The one with the guitar is the legendary Tippy Armstrong...even Jimmy Hendrix was a fan of his..he later went on to play some famous sessions in Muscle Shoals...and some say that over the years he drank too much bad wild cat whiskey...some makers put old batteries and other crap in the mix when they are cookin' it up....but anyway... sadly...they say Tippy committed suicide with a rifle....even The FBI got into the act....I think he had some with a studio owner and a couple of other shady cats...and of course there is always the jealous lover theory...Tippy was a handsome man and not shy with the ladies...

From: Bobby Dupree
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 9:50 AM
Subject: RE: [MFV] Fw: The Magnificent Rubbers Pt. 1


Don’t know if you ever heard this, but Tippy was asked by Janis Joplin to join her band, Full Tilt Boogie Band. This was around the first part of 1969. The band “Heart” had gone through some member changes, and Tippy was playing with us out in LA. We did some gigs at The Whiskey and she saw him there. I believe I have a slightly blurry photo of him on stage………………


{Lost this image- please shoot us a copy, Capn Dean!}
Group Picture from Capn Dean's Wedding:
Tippy is third from left,followed by his wife,Nancy Derrington,Fluker, THE NOTORIOUS Crockett Roberts and Eve Owen
photo courtesy of Dean Smith


Gonna fwd you a strang of Tippy stories that ran on MFV about a yr. ago.

Plus sum extra pitchers.

I miss that guy ever day...


George Fluker, yours truly, and Tippy Francis Armstrong at my 1st wedding- Greensboro, AL Aug. of '75.
Dean Smith

{lost this one too}
Left to Right:

Hey Robert,

Tippy was a big inspiration to me. He had "the magic". Thanks for
including my thoughts on your site, which is
MAJOR COOL, by the way.
Having lots of fun reading through it.


Rick Hirsch





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