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Author Topic: Think of what we could do with $250,000  (Read 2797 times)

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Offline lindy

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Think of what we could do with $250,000
« on: November 12, 2009, 12:25:30 PM »

Officials to Restore Birthplace of Robert Johnson
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 3:03 p.m. ET

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The mystery surrounding bluesman Robert Johnson's life and death feeds the lingering fascination with his work.

There's the myth that he sold his soul to the devil, and the fact the location of his 1938 death is still disputed. His birthplace, however, has been verified. He was born in a house built by his stepfather in the Mississippi town of Hazlehurst.

Local officials plan to restore the home in hopes of drawing Johnson fans to the area. They are trying to raise $250,000 for the restoration project. The 1,500-square foot home now owned by the county has fallen into disrepair, but it still bears evidence of craftsmanship.

Pianist George Winston will headline a fundraiser for the renovation project on Monday at Belhaven College in Jackson.

----------------------

That last line really got to me, Winston is the king of new age piano noodling, why he should headline this event is a mystery.

Think of all the country blues recordings collecting dust in vaults around the country that could be revived and put into circulation for a quarter million . . .

Lindy

Offline Blue in VT

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 12:37:01 PM »
 :o :( :o

This is just a weird concept to me...rehabing the place where he was born has SO little to do with the life he spent as a rambling bluesman that its really a stretch...almost as much of a stretch as having George Winston involved.

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline Richard

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2009, 02:51:14 PM »
George who?
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline blueshome

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2009, 03:11:01 PM »
Someone is smelling a profit in this, there can't be much more done to exploit old RJ's legacy surely?

Offline dj

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 03:45:44 PM »
Quote
there can't be much more done to exploit old RJ's legacy surely?

Well, there's the theme park!    :P

Seriously, if it involves preservation of a historic building (and by that I mean a building that's been around for a hundred years, more or less, and that in its design and interior reflects the way people lived when it was relatively new), I'm all for it.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 04:38:23 PM »
The following Yahoo link includes a late 50's photo of the house:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091112/ap_on_en_mu/us_bluesman_s_birthplace

In spite of all the hype, I've always been a fan of RJ--the overhype never soured me on him or his music. If his high profile serves as an entry point or gateway to this genre of music and at the same time serves as a vehicle that informs people about the myriad talented musicians that would otherwise remain unknown to them, then so be it.

Offline unezrider

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 05:50:20 PM »
hello friend,
to quote stuart,
 "In spite of all the hype, I've always been a fan of RJ--the overhype never soured me on him or his music. If his high profile serves as an entry point or gateway to this genre of music and at the same time serves as a vehicle that informs people about the myriad talented musicians that would otherwise remain unknown to them, then so be it."
a?men, brother. thats exactly how i came to this music. but yeah, money poorly spent in my opinion?
chris
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2009, 06:39:19 PM »
Unezrider, his hype and music are definitely a gateway. I agree with you on that. But why is it that so many journalists fail to walk through the gateway and enter the house that Patton, Lonnie Johnson, Skip James, Fred McDowell and Robert Pete Williams built? I'm not saying that those men (and Memphis Minnie, too!) were better than Robert Johnson, but I'm just extremely frustrated that the mainstream still looks at Johnson and his legend in such a superficial way. You would think that Elijah Wald's book, which sold very well and is critically-acclaimed, would have drawn more attention to other Pre-War Blues artists. Perhaps my complaining is useless and I should pray that some famous Rock musician throws out the words, "Skip James" or "Robert Pete Williams" to the mainstream.

Anyway, I agree that the 250,000 should be spent on looking for and issuing the 40 unreleased Crying Sam Collins songs and also on publishing Johnny Shines autobiography!
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline unezrider

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2009, 07:35:01 PM »
hey pep,
i wouldn't let it bother you. country blues isn't a 'mainstream' kind of music. & let me just say, i LOVE charlie patton. hands down one of my top three blues guys of all time. but he isn't an easy sell to the masses.
i read wald's 'escaping the delta' when it came out, & really liked it. & it was the first time i thought of johnson from that light. i always thought of him as a contemporary of muddy & wolf, but never as someone more leaning toward a big joe turner sort of thing. (if that makes sense.) but hellhounds & midnight crossroads make a much more colorful story. particularly for people not interested in digging deeper.
cream recorded 'i'm so glad'. 'hard time killnig floor' was in 'oh brother where are tho?'. & i want to say hal leonard had a tab book out on james' recordings. so he's out there. but getting him to people who think led zeppelin's 'nobody's fault but mine', or 'when the levee breaks' are miles better than the originals is surely a tough, tough task.
not every bob dylan fan searches out woody guthrie. but some do. & as one that did, i always try to mention him in a relevant dylan conversation. just like i do patton, house, etc? when johnson happens to be brought up. & it's easy enough for us, since we don't have a magazine or cd's to sell.
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2009, 06:36:30 PM »
Good points, Unezrider! Patton and James's recordings also had horrible sound quality, whereas Johnson's stuff, whether on "The Complete Recordings" or the Pristine Audio discs, has great sound quality! This makes his music easier for non-Country-Blues-obsessed people to get into him.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline Blue in VT

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2009, 07:51:06 AM »
I am by no means demeaning Robert Johnson's quality of music or contributions to what we think of now as country blues...if it wasn't for him...via Eric Clapton I would have never found my way to Mississippi John Hurt which led me down this bottomless pit of music I seem to be happily stuck in... :P...I just don't thin a 1/4 million to restore a home that has very little to do with his actual music is a good way to spend that much money...YMMV.

Cheers,

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline Stuart

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2009, 08:23:54 AM »
Tom Freeland (via the PWBG) questions the accuracy of the identification of the site:

http://nmisscommentor.com/2009/11/14/im-sorry-folks-this-is-not-robert-johnsons-birthplace/

Offline dj

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2009, 08:28:09 AM »
Don't think of it as money to restore a home that had anything to do with Robert Johnson.  Think of it as money spent to restore a house that was home to members the African American middle class, such as it was, in Mississippi in the Jim Crow years.  When they think of the African American population of Mississippi at this time, most people think immediately of sharecropper's shacks.  Having this house restored and available is a reminder that people could find some measure of dignity and success even in such an adverse environment.  

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2009, 04:43:34 PM »
Very well put, DJ! My thoughts are "Jim Crow Years...middle class...black..dignity...Josh White!"
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline mr mando

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Re: Think of what we could do with $250,000
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2009, 11:49:29 PM »
George who?

George Winston may be mainly known for his esoteric bullshit on Windham Hill, but he also played mean barrelhouse and stride piano on Bob Brozman's Rounder albums in the late 80s and recorded a blues album (that I admittedly haven't heard) for Takoma in the early 70s.

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