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My boss had us all gather 'round. He said "The computer's gonna make, they gonna make your work easier. Don't you worry 'bout a thing". But don't you know, don't you know, when the work is too easy, Lord they don't need you no more. Computer took my job away from me - Maurice John Vaughan, Computer Took My Job

Recent Posts

Pages: 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 [10]
92
John makes some very good points, in particular the influence of Lonnie Johnson. So, I've read the book and here's a few thoughts:

Firstly this is a very well written book with impressive research that seems to draw on every important source written about Johnson. They also make the most of available official documentation, mining a wealth of information from marriage, land and census documents. No problems on this front but I do have a few quibbles.

This is being touted as the "definitive" Robert Johnson book but it can't be since, as far as I can tell, they never read Mack McCormick's unpublished Robert Johnson biography. Sure Mack was interviewed, but he was notorious for keeping his research under wraps so I'm sure there's plenty he didn't divulge. Along with this is the 3rd Robert Johnson photo that has never been published.

The authors do a good job deflating the myths around Johnson but also play into a bit. Going back to John's point, they write on a few occasions something to the effect that due to his guitar prowess it shouldn't be suprising that his peers might think there was something supernatural about his abilities. So why Robert Johnson and not someone like Lonnie Johnson who was virtually unmatched as a blues guitarist and also had devil imagery in his songs? More information about RJ's influences and the guitar players during this period would have provided better context.

Speaking of context, one thing that was lacking was the racial climate RJ operated in. This is mentioned in passing but considering RJ's constant ramblings, particularly in Mississippi in the 20's and 30's, I felt more context on the Jim Crow era should have been included. This is something of a trend in blues writing, a whitwashing of history that is far too common.

Lastly I would have liked more information on the development of RJ's songs. They talk about him playing mainly covers early on but not much on how he developed his impressive repertoire of songs by by time he got in the studio.
93
This observation presupposes that Robert Johnson's guitar technique was different in its design and particulars than the techniques of his contemporaries playing in the same style.

They don't presuppose, John. They do argue the case. Of course, they could be wrong, but the book is a seriously considered  piece of work.

Quote
One of the prime incentives for being able to perform as a soloist is not having to split the money from a gig with any other musicians. 

And yet he chose repeatedly to split the gig and the money with musicians who were perfectly equipped to play with him, except that he told them not to.
94
Hi all,
I believe Johnny Beck was a Texas player, and I've always wondered what he might have recorded apart from "Locked In Jail".  I found "You Gotta Lay Down, Mama" today.  It appears to be a one-chord number in Vestapol, musically similar to "Step It Up And Go" and even sharing some of the same verses.  I'd very much appreciate help with the bent bracketed passages.  Here is Johnny Beck's performance of "You Gotta Lay Down, Mama":



INTRO SOLO

Well, I got a little girl, she's little and low, used to love me but she don't no more
REFRAIN: You got to lay down, mama, you got to lay down, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Well, I got a little girl, she can't keep still, used to go to [   ?   ] but she [  ?  ] will
REFRAIN: Lay down, mama, please, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Well, the front door shut, the back door too, the blinds put down, what you all gonna do?
REFRAIN: Lay down, mama, please, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
REFRAIN: Lay down, mama, please, lay down, mama
Please lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Well, if you've got a nickel, I've got a dime, we can get together and buy some wine
REFRAIN: Lay down, mama, you got to lay down, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
REFRAIN: Lay down, mama, please, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Well, if you've got a nickel, I've got a dime, we can get together and buy a fifth of wine
REFRAIN: Mama, when's you lay down, mama
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

SOLO
REFRAIN: You got to lay down, mama, you got to lay down, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Well, I got a little gal, lives upstairs, used to go to church, but she wasn't nowhere
REFRAIN: But to lay down, mama, please, baby
You got to lay down, mama, if you want to get along with me

Edited 6/15 to pick up correction from David Kaatz

All best,
Johnm 
95
Country Blues Lyrics / Re: William Stewart Lyrics
« Last post by Johnm on June 12, 2019, 12:12:56 PM »
Hi all,
Coco requested help with transcribing the lyrics on William Stewart's "They Call Me Talkin' Boy" a while ago, and the transcription was never completed.  Stewart did play the piece in Spanish tuning, as Lastfirstface surmised.

SOLO

Woke up this mornin', with blues all 'round my bed
Woke up this mornin', blues all 'round my bed
Went to eat my breakfast, blues all 'round my bread

Call me Talkin' Boy, but that is understood
Call me Talkin' Boy, believe that's understood
That ain't my name, my name is William John Stewart

Lord, tell me, baby, what's gettin' the matter with you?
Tell me, mama, what's gettin' the matter with you?
Must be something, women, weighin' on you

I wonder, wonder why that I can't get no mail
I wonder, wonder why that I can't get no mail
Gon' leave here, I'll be there rockin', it be hard to find

All best,
Johnm
96
Country Blues Licks and Lessons / Re: Rev. Gary Davis - Blues in E
« Last post by Blind Charley on June 12, 2019, 10:58:14 AM »
Thank you, Stuart.
Greetings!
97

This chimes with another thing the book brings out that he developed his guitar technique to serve instead of an accompanying piano and/or second guitar. All the guitar couldn't supply was extra volume. This must partly explain his devotion to small country jukes when there must have been more money to be made in the cities

This observation presupposes that Robert Johnson's guitar technique was different in its design and particulars than the techniques of his contemporaries playing in the same style.  Particulars of technique always vary from player to player.  Conceptually, though, Robert Johnson's technique was not notably different from most other players in the style--it was designed to equip him to perform as a solo act, accompanying himself.  Such an approach is in no way remarkable.  One of the prime incentives for being able to perform as a soloist is not having to split the money from a gig with any other musicians.  And when one considers the extent to which Robert Johnson's playing in some instances was so heavily indebted to recorded performances by Lonnie Johnson and Scrapper Blackwell, it's hard to view his approach to playing as being exactly revolutionary or altogether new.
All best,
Johnm
98
Calvin Frazier, who played with Robert Johnson...
What Up Jumped the Devil brings out is how little anybody played with him in performance anyway. Frazier, Lockwood and Shines travelled with him as companions 'disciples' may not be too strong a word and shared gigs. They performed when he wan't performing.

This chimes with another thing the book brings out that he developed his guitar technique to serve instead of an accompanying piano and/or second guitar. All the guitar couldn't supply was extra volume. This must partly explain his devotion to small country jukes when there must have been more money to be made in the cities
99
Books and Articles / Re: The Day the Music Burned - NY Times
« Last post by Stuart on June 11, 2019, 04:51:22 PM »
That's for sure.

I think it was a case of incompetence on many sides and not malicious intent on anyone's part. But that doesn't lessen the impact. Hopefully, people took it as a lesson for the future. But as the article suggests, while one problem was addressed, others came forth to take its place. --And will probably continue to do so.
100
Country Blues Lyrics / Re: Joe Dean Lyrics
« Last post by Johnm on June 11, 2019, 01:53:00 PM »
Hi all,
Another solo track by Joe Dean (and perhaps the only other solo track by him) is "Mexico Bound Blues".  The piece doesn't have the frantic excitement of "I'm So Glad That I'm Twenty-One Years Old Today", but it features some lovely relaxed playing and singing.   Here it is:



INTRO

Lord, I'm going to Mexico, babe, and it won't be long
Lord, I'm going to Mexico, babe, and it won't be long
Lord, I'll disappear, like a bird along about dawn

Lord, I'm going to tell all the boys and girls I know
Lord, I'm going to tell all the boys and girls I know
That when I leave, I'm bound for Mexico

When I leave, baby, please don't cry after me
Lord, when I leave, baby, please don't cry after me
For when you dry your tears, I'll be forty miles on the Santa Fe

SOLO

Lord, these blues, these blues is coming down on me
Lord, these blues, these blues is coming down on me
Lord, I'm just as blue, just as blue as any man can be

And it's early tomorrow morning, just about half past four
Lord, early tomorrow morning, just about half past four
Lord, my baby's done quit me and I'm bound for Mexico

All best,
Johnm
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