Country Blues > Country Blues Licks and Lessons

Tuition videos that don't exist

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eagle rockin daddy:
Martin Grosswendt is pretty good, and so is our own O'Muck....


Hi all,
If there is a presumption that in order to be able to do an instructional video on a player, you need to be able to play what the player played in what will be recognized as a reasonable facsimile, then I would say the prospects of instructional DVDs on the music of Blind Willie Johnson and Sam Collins are very dim indeed.  I have never heard anyone come within miles of Blind Willie Johnson's slide-playing sound, in terms of either the right or left hand, and this despite the fact that there are (surprisingly) a fair number of covers of "Dark Was the Night" recorded out there. 
Sam Collins is, if anything, even more problematic.  I don't know too many players who would want to teach how to play slide on an instrument in which the open strings were out of tune in a very specific way, but which played in tune when barred at the fifth fret.  For that matter, I don't know how you make an instrument that will do that.  I suspect that Sam Collins' tuning may have been an accommodation to a faulty instrument.
I'd encourage anyone interested in playing the music of these or other players who have not had instructional DVDs done on them to figure the music out yourself, or pay someone to do it for you if you don't want to or feel you can not do it.  With slide especially, no video should be needed to figure out the left hand.  You know the tuning--tune to the recording and figure it out.  There are no chords, or if there are, as in Sam Collins' slide-playing, they are barred.  Everything you need to figure the music out is in your instrument, your ears and your hands.  Go for it!
All best,

There are bits and pieces as mentioned above, Woody Mann did one in Roots of Robert Johnson book/cd and I think Stefan has done a couple.  Charley's genius (speaking just of guitar here) to me is primarily rythmic.  High Water Everywhere is simply a tour-de-force, a masterpiece in this regard.  If someone could teach that with all the snapping, box beating, variations, etc., now that would be something.

If I could only sing like Charley...

Alexei McDonald:
I'd like an instruction video dealing with the St Louis guitarists and one on guitar/piano duets.

Hi Alexei,
I particularly like your idea of a St. Louis video and hope to do one some time before too long.  I am planning on doing Atlanta guitarists and Jackson guitarists videos later this spring or in the early summer, along the lines of the Texas and Memphis Blues DVDs that came out last fall.  I'm really glad that Stefan is open to these anthology videos, because it makes it possible to teach tunes by great players who didn't record enough to get an entire DVD to themselves.
All best,


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