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Eric Sachheim's THE BLUES LINE


I just noticed that Eric Sackheim's collection of blues lyrics is newly available.  It's been years since I saw it anywhere, but here's a new edition.  Mosty lyrics from the well-known blues players, but a few obscure (at least to me) ones like Bumble Bee Slim, King Solomon Hill and Texas Alexander.  I wish it contained a lot more lesser known lyrics, but it's worth checking out.


I think we once had a thread about this book in an older incarnation of the weenie line.  It's certainly a worthy book to have at hand, maybe less for the quality of the transcriptions than for the presentation of blues lyrics as poetry (which they are, of course).  Interestingly, this book was published at one time by Ecco Press based in Hopewell, NJ, providing my hometown with it's one and only claim to a blues pedigree (no matter how tenuous).

Bill Roggensack:
Yes - about four years ago, JedP tracked down a stockpile of this previoously out-of-print book (somewhere in Germany?) then bought a bunch on behalf of interested parties and distributed them by mail once the 'trunk' arrived from the Old Country. This makes an interesting book to leave out for browsing when certain types of company visit your home.

uncle bud:
Just picked this up in Florida (was away for a few days), being surprised to see it in a bookstore. While there are certainly some mistakes in it at first glance, it still seems to me to be a valuable resource. Will post more about it later, but at $16.95 USD you probably can't go wrong.

uncle bud:

--- Quote from: frankie on February 21, 2004, 05:46:32 AM ---Interestingly, this book was published at one time by Ecco Press based in Hopewell, NJ, providing my hometown with it's one and only claim to a blues pedigree (no matter how tenuous).

--- End quote ---

Hey frankie, am jealous of your new avatar!

The book is now published by Thunder's Mouth Press in New York. ISBN 1560255676, for people who might want a bookstore to order it, since I can't see this staying print long. Must be a Year of the Blues ripple effect. Original publication date was 1969, and there is no indication that this has been updated in any way, not even a new printing date.

There is a surreal section at the back that includes quotations from a wide variety of poets and writers (Ezra Pound, now there's a bluesman, Wallace Stevens, Joyce, biblical passages, Chinese poets, Ancient Greeks and Romans, even Fannie Farmer of cookbook fame). Typesetting the lyrics as poetry is mostly successful I think and done not to be pretentious (unlike the quotations at the back which are just over the top - and I was an English major) but to indicate breaths, pauses, attack, etc. In other words, trying to capture phrasing in print.

The 500-page book has a wide variety of lyrics that include work from some of the more obscure country blues players lik Ed Bell, Ramblin' Thomas, JD Short and many more, as well as the usual suspects like Blind Lemon (almost 20 Lemon tunes), Patton, MJ Hurt, Furry Lewis etc etc. The transcriptions certainly aren't definitive but they are quite good and great starting points, and will no doubt make your life easier when trying to decipher some of this stuff.

If anyone would like to know more about the book, post away and I'll try and answer best I can.



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