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Author Topic: Review of Charlie Patton Program and NY Guitar Fest Feb 1, 2006  (Read 1652 times)

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Orb Mellon

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Review of Charlie Patton Program and NY Guitar Fest Feb 1, 2006
« on: February 02, 2006, 06:54:41 AM »
Just thought I might share my impressions of last night's Charlie Patton program that was presented as part of the NY guitar festival. The listed performers were Toshi Reagon, Rory Block, Harry Manx, David Tronzo and John Hammond. Surprise guests included Stefan Grossman w/ Rory Block, Jim Mariner? (harp player)with Harry Manx and then additionally, Lenny Kaye played a tune with John Schaefer (the co-founder of the guitar festival).
The show had real high points and low points. If you don't know Toshi Reagon, you should. She reminds us very clearly that blues is vocal music. Simple flatpicked guitar style on standard tuning and serious soul. She was great.

Rory Block was next. Her technical virtuosity is obviously high, especially in her right hand. However, and I'm probably in the minority but I've personally always found her to lack depth, she always comes off a bit too "moved." Here her perfomance was very academic in feel, despite the throwing of hair and tapping of high healed boots. She chose to play primariliy Son House versions of tunes that were also played by Robert Johnson, (was this a Patton program?)and her duets with Grossman were very stiff IMHO.

Harry Manx was next. He had a very short set. He played the 20 string Indian slide guitar first and then lap 6 string with a harp player. They were both fantastic. They grooved heavily and you could tell they really liked what they were playing. I'd highly recommend checking him out. He has real feel.

Lenny Kaye was ok. Not a blues player at all. Showed how the Ramones might play Patton.

David Tronzo did an electric instrumental space slide piece recalling melodic bits of Pony Blues and something else. Very free jazz oriented but very cool in its own right.

John Hammond came last. He always impresses me by his ability to push the tunes he plays. He appeared to come the closest to working in the old style, something I would have liked to see more over all in the program. He also doesn't let his virtuosity get in the way of feel and a bit of slop. He played Bolweevil Blues (one of my favorite Patton tunes) last and he worked it hard on his duolian. A very inspired performance.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Review of Charlie Patton Program and NY Guitar Fest Feb 1, 2006
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 07:09:09 AM »
Thanks for the review, Orb. This series they've been doing seems like a great idea with some mixed results as you note -- wish I was local enough to check out the shows. I know Alvin Youngblood Hart did the Skip James show, but what were they thinking leaving him off the Patton bill. He is the best Patton player out there. I'm in the minority with you on Rory Block. I can see the appeal, as she's technically an intense and talented guitar player and singer, and I enjoy some of her stuff, but there always seems to be a lot of "star" emoting going on that just makes me uncomfortable.

Harry Manx passes through town fairly regularly here, as he's Canadian. I still haven't checked him out but will make a point of it.


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