Country Blues > Down the Dirt Road - Interesting Country Blues related video clips

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Since this thread was started Youtube took some more rigorous action against copyrighted videos posted and many music related videos were removed.  Also, Google has now bought Youtube and done some deals and put some of the videos back on Youtube.  In any case, I'm going to go through the topic and clean out the old broken links (ans comments) and remove some unrelated videos.

Stefan Wirz:
there has been a question about BJW's '9-stringing' at Stefan Grossman's forum that gave me the opportunity to dig a little deeper into this matter.
Here's what I found out (for those interested, I have put some more detailled pictures on my BJW discography):

E2 B2 G1 D2 A1 E1

Big Joe Williams playing his nine-string guitar
(source: front cover of 77 LA 12/19); photographer: Ray Flerlage

from D. Thomas Moon: The Verdict Of Big Joe Williams.- Blues Access No. 33 (Spring 1998), p. 20-28:
(start of quote)
He said that when he'd take a break, people'd be over there messin' with his guitar. He said, "That's what got me to start puttin' strings on my guitar." He said, "I put the seventh string on there" - being the double E - "and that messed up most of 'em for a while. But then one guy kept comin' 'round, and he got used to that extra string. I thought to myself, 'I gotta mess him up a little bit more.' I put the double B on it. I stumped him for a while, but he got used to that. I thought to myself, 'Well, I'm gonna really trick you this time. I'm gonna double the D string, the fourth string.' He couldn't handle it, and he never messed with my guitar again."
Now one thing to keep in mind is that some people think that Big Joe added an octave D on there, like a 12-string, but they were doubled. I used to fix Big Joe's guitars for him, and it was a unison string. When he'd play a 12-string, he'd use octaves in the traditional manner. But on his nine-strings, the strings were always unison. Very few people know this, but Big Joe had two nine-string tunings. He called one "Spanish tuning," which was an open G that he'd capo at the second fret to hit his key. Then he had another G variation. He called it "open G with a 10 chord bass." Sometimes he would call it the "10 card bass." What it was, he'd lower the bottom D when he'd tune the bottom string to a D. He'd drop it on down to a B and make bass runs on it. I think what he was doing was he was calling it a "10 chord bass" at first, and some people didn't understand what he was saying. He started calling it a "10 card bass." He adopted that designation for it too, 'cause they would be looking at it as 10 cards, as in a poker game. He'd go, "Yeah, that fits with what I got in mind too." He'd only tune it down like that once in a while. That's the story of the nine-string.
(end of quote)

any thoughts, any contradictions ?

Very interesting.  Good detective work Stefan.  I was looking at a picture of Daddy Stovepipe the other day and noticed that he was playing an eight string guitar.  I read that he had originally learned to play on a 12 string.  The guitar that Daddy Stovepipe was pictured with was not a home made one, but it looked like a factory made Regal or Lyon and Healy.  I have never seen a guitar like this out there and it got the gears turning in my head.  Frank and I were discussing it and Frank wondered if Big Joe Williams had run across Daddy Stovepipe at one point and, in the ability to find his own eight (or nine) string guitar, made his one.

Bunker Hill:
Here's one used to illustrate Bob Koester's chapter "Jazz In St Louis-1958" in the book Just Jazz 2 (eds Traill & Lascelles, London, Peter Davis 1958). On the odd times it has been reproduced the inserted photo of Speckled Red and friends has been "lost" as has the photographer's credit.

Prof Scratchy:
In the early seventies I lived in Germany for a few years. Big Joe was a regular visitor, playing on the Lippmann & Rau circuit in Europe, and picking up club gigs in between times. I have to say that I remember him as a grumpy and irascible old man (much as I am now)! He did, however, reluctantly demonstrate at close quarters his drop B tuning trick. He'd obviously done it so many times that he could unerringly find that note with one deft movement of the tuning peg. I learned the signature bass run from him, but never managed to nail the rest of his sound which depended so much on his heavy and rhythmic right hand. On the Daddy Stovepipe picture, which is amazing, I note he's playing the nine string guitar with the single  course bass strings and the doubled up treble ones. One exactly like it was for sale on ebay about a year ago and went for big bucks...


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