WeenieCampbell.com

Country Blues => Saturday Night Fish Fry => Topic started by: blueshome on December 06, 2010, 10:58:37 PM

Title: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: blueshome on December 06, 2010, 10:58:37 PM
I noticed in a recent Roll Call that the new member had"...no one to talk to about this kind of music..."

This comes as no surprise to me as I spent the first 20 years of my listening to blues without knowing anyone in my area into country blues (or any kind of blues). Even now the nearest couple of folk I know and see are 20 and 50 miles away.

Without weeniecampbell I would find it near to impossible to discuss,and see discussed, CB-related matters. Without the EBA here in the UK I would not have access to decent tuition face to face.

I just wondered how many other Weenies live, or have lived in splendid isolation regarding their love of blues?
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Slack on December 07, 2010, 02:51:58 AM
Hey Phil,  I think there are lots of us.  Possibly 150 of us worldwide!  :P   My isolation lasted about 4 years (I'd picked up my guitar again after a 15 year or so layoff because my 12 yr old wanted to learn to play), which was relieved by going to Port Townsend. In fact, that is how weeniecampbell got started - some of us who attended the Port Townsend workshop in 1996 wanted to be able to talk about the music throughout the year. Being computer geeks, Rivers and I (he in New Zealand and me in El Paso) started an email list of about 30 and used to joke that we spent the first year talking to each other - which was not too far from the truth - in order to get things rolling.  Port Townsend was like a gathering of people that had the same rare genetic defect as you! I still only know one person in El Paso who knows and can play the music, who moved here (from Pennsylvania) to retire, 4 or 5 years ago.   
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: GhostRider on December 07, 2010, 04:47:33 AM
Ladires and Gents:

Living here in western Canada, I had never heard of CB. I learned to play in highschool like 50% of my contemporaries. I loved blues as a kid in the '60's (electric, you know, Cl***on), but never knew CB existed. I decided to combine blues with recently learned fingerpicking in the mid '80's and found a Gary Davis TAB book, From a reference in that book I was directed to Blind Blake and that was it. From the mid 80's to my discovery of Weenie in Jan 2004, I learned and played by myself, never hearing another CB player live or playing with someone else.

So yes, out here in the west it was isolated. Discussion... I knew no one who even knew what CB meant. Even today, after all these years, I'm only able to discuss acoustic blues with one guy here in Calgary, a great local acoustic bluesman named Tim Williams.

And occasionally Mr. Page

I can bounce your springs a little,
Alex


BTW Tim Williams has rereleased his solo acoustic blues CD with vastly improved sound and two new cuts. If you have a hankering to own a superlative blues CD or would like to investigate Tim, let me know.
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: uncle bud on December 07, 2010, 05:47:14 AM
Alex - which disc is this re-released one?

Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: sustaireblues on December 07, 2010, 05:50:42 AM
Now wait just a gosh darned minute here!

Are you guys trying to tell me that spending all this time trying to learn and play CB isn't going to lead to fortune, fame, and lots of hot chicks?

And here I am, paddling my canoe up another dry gulch!  :)

Joe
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: dj on December 07, 2010, 06:36:02 AM
Quote
Hey Phil,  I think there are lots of us.  Possibly 150 of us worldwide!

Slack, I think you're grossly underestimating here.  I think there must be about 7,000 country blues fans worldwide, which makes us a whopping .0001% of the earth's population!   ;D

A couple of months ago, I took my car in for service.  I was wearing my Charley Patton t-shirt, and a young man who works at the dealership asked me who it was.  Because most people's eyes start to glaze over when I go into detail about Charley Patton, I just gave him my standard short answer:  he was a singer from Mississippi who was active about 80 years ago.  The guy asked me if I liked old music, and when I said I do, wh asked me "Have you ever heard of... [here I'm mentally filling in Robert Johnson]... Leadbelly?"  It turns out that this guy and his father get together every Sunday and listen to blues - mostly electric, but they also really like Leadbelly.  So I went home and burned him a CD with some Willie Mctell, Big Bill Broonzy, RJ, Blind Boy Fuller, etc., just some of the major players and a few personal favorites, and brought it in to him, with a note that if he liked the music at all, he could listen to more on the Weenie Juke.  It'll probably be a few months before I see him again, but I can't wait to see what he thought of the music.

The bottom line is, yes, there are people out there, and always wear the proper clothing, because you never know when you'll meet one.   :)   
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: onewent on December 07, 2010, 10:48:00 AM
Interesting stories..mine's similar..after learning about the old 78 greats in the early 70's I'd attend the folk festivals and small clubs around the East, and got to see some of the originals, and the original interpreters, but knew no one who was into the music.  Then I met my friend and partner in the Vintage Blues Guitars venture about 15 yrs ago and, through him, became friends with Ari Eisinger, so now I'm not only playing to the wife and dog..  Have also met Waxwing through this forum, too..
It is esoteric music, and I'm sure that's part of the 'coolness' factor.  But, I've come to learn through selling old guitars, there are young folks embracing the old blues..just had three 20-somethings here playing old Stellas, and they were really stoked about them, and talking about country blues players.  They were actually thanking me for helping keep the tradition alive.  I always write the weenie url on my business card for folks that show interest like that..the internet certainly has shrunk the world when it comes to special interests..  Regards, Tom
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Mike Brosnan on December 07, 2010, 12:22:59 PM
I found CB when I stole an old "Acoustic Blues" cassette compilation from the mall (sorry folks....  I was 16...).  MJH, Huddie, BWM, BLJ....  I was in love immediately. 
Couldn't play a lick of guitar, but I asked every strummer I could find about CB, only to receive replies like: "That stuff's impossible.  Nobody plays like that now." 
I managed to turn a couple people on to CB but never met anyone who was already knowledgable about it until 2005.  I was just starting to play guitar.  I thought I was the only one under the age of 50 that knew anything about Harry Smith (no offense guys!  Love ya! ;)  ).  Then I went to see the Kitchen Syncopators in Eugene, OR.  There they were playing Rabbit Brown, Washington Phillips, Julius Daniels....  I was in shock.  And all these young attractive people were dancing and loving the music.  I think I discovered WC around the same time.  Now I know there are dozens of us out there!  I even know of a handful of CB geeks here in Portland that I can get together and commiserate with!
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Stumblin on December 07, 2010, 03:38:32 PM
Now wait just a gosh darned minute here!

Are you guys trying to tell me that spending all this time trying to learn and play CB isn't going to lead to fortune, fame, and lots of hot chicks?

And here I am, paddling my canoe up another dry gulch!  :)

Joe
Bugger!
Which oar do you want, port or starboard?
I guess we can swap sides from time to time.
 :D
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Johnm on December 07, 2010, 06:01:11 PM
Hi all,
I grew up musically having some contact with other folks who were fans of Country Blues (and Bluegrass and Old-Time), but more importantly at the time, with lots of opportunities to see musicians perform who came from inside the tradition, and were tradition-bearers as opposed to interpreters of tradition.  At the time, I wasn't equipped to understand how significant having access to these musical elders was ( I was in my early to late teens for most of that period), but I can sure see it now.

What I mourn now is the dying off of what is almost certainly the last generation of players for whom Country Blues is "their music".  Their ranks are very thin now, especially thin if you're talking about people who can get up and play a set or two of music as opposed to a couple of tunes.  I've heard people say, "The blues will never die"--that may or may not be so, but if the population that brought blues to the world stops playing it altogether, however the blues may continue to live, it will be quite different from what it was when every small community in the south had one or two people, at least, who played the music.  And I'm not talking about stars or brilliant players necessarily--just people who had their own way of hearing and playing the music and speaking that language.

The last distinction is an important one, I think.  If the Blues is to continue as something more than a re-creation of a relict musical language, people are going to need to change things, do things they have never heard somebody do on a recording and come up with their own ways of hearing and playing the music.  If you've listened to enough of this music, you don't have to be aping a specific arrangement that some musician prior to you played in order to be speaking in the language.  There is so much to be said in this musical language that still hasn't been said, and it's every bit as physically accessible and hearable as the licks that we've heard a million times.  To find it, though, you've got to be willing to spend time on your instrument searching and listening for things that catch your ear that you haven't heard before, but that speak to you.  Stop worrying about being impressive and think more about just being musical.  And perhaps stop worrying so much about sounding like your idols and think more about sounding like yourself, and nobody else.
All best,
Johnm
  
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Rivers on December 07, 2010, 06:02:18 PM
Good topic blueshome.

I was musing recently about how WC may have helped in many ways but that I still have this nagging feeling that, in these days of totally mindless mindless f****** TV addiction, we could be doing more to promote people getting in touch and, particularly, playing/learning with each other on a regular, regional basis.

When El Paso & several of the original listserv members first met we had no idea that WC would turn into the multi-million dollar industry that it has now become ;), with billions of members, admittedly 99.9999% of them with dodgy references like "porn" and/or "viagra" in their signatures. Jeesh.

This then raises the question "how can we continue to evolve to help spread the word and build the network?"

Do we need to focus on that aspect a little more? Of course we do. It's so great that the euroweenies thing happened and continues to happen, that's a great model. The WC site did nothing overt other than provide a communication channel for like-minded people. But that's an exception, so we need more of that kind of activity.

So how could we go about pushing and generally facilitating that process close to people's homes?

[edited to add: this quote came up as I posted the above. It basically says it all:
We used to go to different people's houses, you know. In those days I mean they could hear music and - if somebody could play an instrument, man, they would get up at night, from one o'clock; and they'd fix food and they'd have drinks and they'd stay up till five, six o'clock in the morning and give you money. It wasn't a dance but a serenade; we'd go from house to house. In those days there wasn't too much things like juke boxes, high fidelity sound, wasn't nothing like that then; and whenever somebody could play and could play well, he was considered as somebody; he could go anywhere and he had it made, you know? - Baby Doo Caston, on playing music in Natchez in the 1920s, interview with Jeff Todd Titon]
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: lindy on December 07, 2010, 06:34:47 PM

If y'all are in a giving mood this month, one of thousands of worthy causes that you can donate to is the Port Townsend Country Blues Workshop scholarship fund.

Peter McCracken is very concerned about getting young people involved in the music, and with helping them attend the workshop. That's how music gets passed down. He's also all ears if you know of some youngster who seems interested in the music and has the maturity to be around adults at Fort Worden.

Fiddle Tunes at Centrum has been around since 1976/77, meaning that grandparents are now bringing their grandkids to the Fort to learn how to make music. The country blues workshop is a lot younger, but hopefully it'll last just as long. Gotta keep the space open so that musicians like Jerron Paxton and Dom Flemons can know that there's others who love what they're doing.

Lindy

Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: GhostRider on December 08, 2010, 04:44:42 AM
Alex - which disc is this re-released one?
Unkie Bud:

"An Evening Among Friends" The sound is really a ton better, sounds like your in the room with him. One of the added tracks is "Sittin' on Top of the World", with Ken Hamm, played at a rather slow tempo.

Alex
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: GhostRider on December 08, 2010, 04:51:59 AM
Now wait just a gosh darned minute here!

Are you guys trying to tell me that spending all this time trying to learn and play CB isn't going to lead to fortune, fame, and lots of hot chicks?

And here I am, paddling my canoe up another dry gulch!  :)

Joe

Joe:

Well I recently got married, so......

Alex
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Shovel on December 08, 2010, 08:49:55 PM
agreed i feel like i rarely find folks irl who are into it so this is a very cool place in that regard.
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: eric on December 09, 2010, 07:18:48 PM
I haven't found anyone in northern Nevada who's into country blues.  Some people have an idea what it is but that's about it.  Long ago I lived in Fresno, which had a very lively musical community, and a lot of credit for that should go to the late Gene Bluestein.  There was also Kenny Hall and not a few veterans of western swing.  There was also a guy named Harry the Hipster who made 78s, Mercy Dee lived there for a while, as did Crockett's Mountaineers.

If any of you are around the Reno-Carson-Truckee area, I wouldn't mind hearing from you.

Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: lindy on December 13, 2010, 09:21:46 AM
If any of you are around the Reno-Carson-Truckee area, I wouldn't mind hearing from you.

Elder--

I just looked at the member map and saw two names in your area.

Just want to remind everyone that it's a good idea to stick a virtual pin in that map, because you never know, you might find out that someone in your 'hood also has a thing for Geechie Wiley, and would love to commiserate with you. It's a great little tool that Weenie offers for bringing people together, but you have to make your whereabouts known. If you've come in from the darkness of lurking and become a full-blown member of the Weenie brotherhood, don't forget to make a side trip to the member map and stick a pin.

Lindy
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: Stumblin on December 13, 2010, 02:09:55 PM
Returning to the original question:
I noticed in a recent Roll Call that the new member had"...no one to talk to about this kind of music..."

This comes as no surprise to me as I spent the first 20 years of my listening to blues without knowing anyone in my area into country blues (or any kind of blues). Even now the nearest couple of folk I know and see are 20 and 50 miles away.

Without weeniecampbell I would find it near to impossible to discuss,and see discussed, CB-related matters. Without the EBA here in the UK I would not have access to decent tuition face to face.

I just wondered how many other Weenies live, or have lived in splendid isolation regarding their love of blues?
I first became aware of "CB" when I was about 19-20ish. Nobody else in my peer, or indeed, age group was even remotely interested in, if even aware of, the existence of this music. Apart, obviously, from the (intensively eccentric and clever) guy who gave me my first hearing of Lightnin' Hopkins. The Gibmeister relocated to the Great Wen not long afterwards, and I was left utterly alone in musical terms, for almost a decade. There was a brief musical meeting with a lad who had a job & money etc. He played guitar & wanted me to help him. He gave me a copy of the Complete Robert Johnson, which had only just been made available, and he had a copy of the Woody Mann transcriptions. We spent a few months doing that. He moved out of town too. It was another twelve or so years before I met any other "Pre-War & Aesthetically Similar Post-War Blues" people. This is what the internet has done: it has enabled us poor, sad, lonely "Pre-War & Aesthetically Similar Post-War Blues" people to meet each other & play together etc. And I think it really is making a difference to people's lives. Sorry for being such a soppy bugger, but come on...
Actually, we have a sesh this Thursday, 20:30 onwards, Red Deer, 18 Pitt Street, Sheffield S1 4DD, bring a teachest, kazoo, knee-cymbals etc.  ;)
Title: Re: Is there anyone out there?
Post by: eagle rockin daddy on December 17, 2010, 12:40:52 PM
There is so much in this post i can relate to:


Hi all,
I grew up musically having some contact with other folks who were fans of Country Blues (and Bluegrass and Old-Time), but more importantly at the time, with lots of opportunities to see musicians perform who came from inside the tradition, and were tradition-bearers as opposed to interpreters of tradition.  At the time, I wasn't equipped to understand how significant having access to these musical elders was ( I was in my early to late teens for most of that period), but I can sure see it now.

   

Me too, it took a long while to realize how lucky I was to have that experience, and learn to play this music in the way I did. Being young and ignorant, I thought everyplace was like this, and that everyone could play guitar like Paul Geremia.

If you've listened to enough of this music, you don't have to be aping a specific arrangement that some musician prior to you played in order to be speaking in the language.  There is so much to be said in this musical language that still hasn't been said, and it's every bit as physically accessible and hearable as the licks that we've heard a million times.  To find it, though, you've got to be willing to spend time on your instrument searching and listening for things that catch your ear that you haven't heard before, but that speak to you.  Stop worrying about being impressive and think more about just being musical.  And perhaps stop worrying so much about sounding like your idols and think more about sounding like yourself, and nobody else.
All best,
Johnm
   

This is so well put, and this is why I play so much, and keep trying, so I can develop the technique and familiarity with music I like, so I can express myself musically in this way.  I agree completely with this.  For me , this has been a lot of work, but soooo much fun.

Mike

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