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Author Topic: Name the guitarist  (Read 654 times)

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Offline blueshome

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Name the guitarist
« on: March 02, 2019, 10:00:03 AM »
To me his the guitarist sounds like Josh White. Others think Blake, but I don?t hear any Blake here.
Any ideas?

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 10:07:31 AM »
Agreed Phil.  I couldn't comment on who it actually is, but I do not hear anything there that makes me think it is Blake.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 10:55:01 AM »
I also agree, Phil, it sounds like Josh White to me, too.  The guitarist is playing in Vestapol, and the articulation of his triplets sounds like Josh White, to me.  That doesn't sound like Blake's touch, time or tone.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 11:12:00 AM »
FWIW, DGR says Blake, but I don't think it sounds like him either.
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Offline beljum

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 12:56:48 AM »
I don't hear Blake either but the tone reminds me of Scrapper Blackwell

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2019, 08:33:08 AM »
its Blake. compare his guitar tone to Hastings Street. Same tone, unless it's not Blake on Hastings Street either. Hastings is more limited, because he's talking over it, but this sounds like Blake jamming out while the piano is carrying the rhythm and he's not crowding it with too much thumb. there are also subtle things that echo Police Dog to my ear as well. Also sounds like bare finger playing, could be someone else playing on the same guitar as Blake, but I think it is Blake
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 08:42:57 AM by btasoundsradio »
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Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2019, 09:00:35 AM »
its Blake. compare his guitar tone to Hastings Street. Same tone, unless it's not Blake on Hastings Street either. Hastings is more limited, because he's talking over it, but this sounds like Blake jamming out while the piano is carrying the rhythm and he's not crowding it with too much thumb. there are also subtle things that echo Police Dog to my ear as well. Also sounds like bare finger playing, could be someone else playing on the same guitar as Blake, but I think it is Blake
Josh White I think.


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Offline harry

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 10:49:11 AM »
I think it's Robert Johnson

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2019, 01:58:00 AM »
 I can understand the arguments for Blake but I've come down from the fence in favour of Josh White in his Pinewood Tom days.

But then again, I have none of the knowledge and expertise of the like of Johnm and others hereabouts.

Nice record though...
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So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline alyoung

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2019, 01:24:13 AM »
FWIW, DGR says Blake, but I don't think it sounds like him either.
DGR gives the guitarist on the previous session (June 6, 1929) as Blind Blake, but says "unknown, g" for the August 17, 1929, session that produced Ain't Gonna Stand For That. To me, I think the recording is too early for it to be Josh White. In August, 1929, he was 15 years old. He did record in that year for Paramount with the Carver Boys and Joel Taggart, but -- although he's no slouch on the Carver Boys' track  -- to my old ears, he didn't achieve the single-note fluidity of the Ain't Gonna Stand guitarist until the 1930s. It might be also worth noting that DGR says of the Carver Brothers track, "Josh White confirms that his first guitar solo was on this track" (made a month after Ain't Gonna Stand).

Offline blueshome

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2019, 04:03:15 AM »
So it may not be Josh but still feels like it to me.
 However it?s certainly someone playing in the style he used. I don?t know how common this kind of playing in Vestapol was, but apart from White I?m not aware of anyone. We know Bo Carter and Clifford Gibson did but not sounding like this.
Blake played a couple of tunes out of it but they don?t sound anything like this.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 06:25:26 AM »
Hi all,
I don't believe that Josh White was too young to have been playing the guitar part on the song in question--he played equally complex or more complex guitar parts in Vestapol on recordings he did backing Joe Taggart at earlier dates than the Spand track was recorded.  From the Blind Joe Taggart Lyrics thread, with regard to Josh's playing on "Scandalous And A Shame":

Blind Joe Taggart and Josh White recorded "Scandalous And A Shame" at a session in Chicago in October of 1928.  It is probably stretching a point to call the song a Joe Taggart title, because Josh is the only guitar player on the track, sings lead and Joe's role is pretty much confined to singing response lines on the chorus and joining in on the last line of the chorus.  Josh's accompaniment gives evidence of things to come in his use of Vestapol to play religious material; a lot of his characteristic sound in that tuning is already there, despite the fact that, if his birth date as reported is to be believed, he was fourteen years old (!) at the time of the session.  If true, that would put precocity in playing Country Blues as demonstrated by Henry Townsend, Jesse Thomas and Buddy Moss in the shade.

I do believe it is Josh White on the Spand record--he backed Spand on "Good Gal", similarly played in Vestapol, right around the same time.  And the articulation is all Josh White's--the clipped sound of the triplets is his all the way.  Blake played with more sustain in rapid passages.  Josh sounded like he was damping the back end of the notes so that each note was surrounded by an instant of silence.  Listen to some of the cuts Josh White backed Leroy Carr on--he has the very same articulation and tone that you have here.  I see no very compelling reason why the guitarist on the track could not be Josh White.  His professional life was akin to that of Snooks Eaglin, who went professional at the age of twelve. 
All best,
Johnm
   
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 06:26:43 AM by Johnm »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2019, 11:34:11 AM »
I agree with John. The guitar sounds very similar to Josh White and his age at the time doesn't eliminate him as being the guitarist on the track.

Offline alyoung

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2019, 03:38:34 AM »
All good and fair points, John, and well made. I do accept that it's hard to see who the guitarist is if it isn't White -- I don't hear Blake at all -- but I did listen to the Taggart and Carver Brothers recordings before posting yesterday, and that's what led me to my single-note dexterity conclusion. However I'm not going to die in a ditch for it -- yep, the guitarist is Joshua White. (BTW ... Good Gal was not made "around the same time" as Ain't Gonna Stand For That, but at the same session -- it was the track immediately before it. So the guitarist on that is also listed in DGR as unknown.) 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2019, 06:34:00 AM »
Al, you can't get much more "around the same time" than being recorded at the same session.  Seriously, I'm surprised that if "Good Gal" was recorded at the same session that DGR had any doubt at all about who the guitarist was.  The fact that they did illustrates my problem with that reference:  too much reliance on session notes and not enough on ears.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 08:14:49 AM by Johnm »

Offline eric

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2019, 08:41:09 AM »
A tune from the same session


also, alyoung is correct, I was looking at the previous session

Quote
DGR gives the guitarist on the previous session (June 6, 1929) as Blind Blake, but says "unknown, g" for the August 17, 1929, session
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 08:46:54 AM by eric »
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Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2019, 06:55:13 AM »
hmm. interesting
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Offline Thomas8

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2019, 03:41:06 PM »
Surely it's Josh White, nobody played in vestapol or bent the low strings like that. He's got such a distinct sound as well and recorded Good Gal for himself.

Offline alyoung

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2019, 05:30:44 AM »
I'm surprised that if "Good Gal" was recorded at the same session that DGR had any doubt at all about who the guitarist was.  The fact that they did illustrates my problem with that reference:  too much reliance on session notes and not enough on ears.


The problem with "ears" is that they are subjective. The tracks we are now discussing are relatively clear-cut, so "ears" are reasonably safe. But many other "unknowns" are not so clear-cut, and postulating on aural evidence only has led to all sorts of arguments. So DGR's compilers have opted to take a conservative line and pin their faith primarily on those session notes. That policy is explained more fully in the book's introduction (on page -x-). One might not agree with it, but that's how they do it. 

Offline eric

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Re: Name the guitarist
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2019, 02:32:50 PM »
There were four Charlie Spand tunes recorded at this session, August 17, 1929.  Here are the other two:








« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 02:54:24 PM by eric »
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