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Gentlemen: whenever you see a great big overgrown buck sitting at the mouth of some holler, or at the forks of some road, with a big slouch hat on, a blue celluloid collar, a celluloid, artificial red rose in his coat lapel, a banjo strung across his breast, and a-pickin' of Sourwood Mountain, fine that man, gentlemen, fine him! For if he hasn't already done something, he's a-going to - Josiah Combs, quoted in Old-Time Mountain Banjo

Author Topic: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads  (Read 644 times)

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Offline harry

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Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« on: April 30, 2019, 06:12:09 PM »

Offline harry

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 09:08:47 AM »
I saw it. Pretty much the same stuff we all heard a thousand times before.
It does contain (short) interviews with Adam Gussow, Elijah Wald and Bruce Conforth.

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 03:38:57 PM »
I watched this last night, and when it was fine, I was left wondering why I?d bothered.


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Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 07:13:54 AM »
 I agree completely. It was a yawn

Offline DerZauberer

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 08:01:40 AM »
Well, too much devil and crossroads references aside...

It's nice to see the material repackaged nicely! Even though it's all old news to us, this being placed on Netflix dramatically increases the chances of NEW and YOUNGER people getting introduced to this music "by accident" and maybe get drawn into the music we all love.
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Offline Johnm

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 10:25:46 AM »
Hi all,
I am dubious of the argument for shallow or shoddily done work on an interesting topic being a way of luring in new enthusiasts.  I think the ideas "The kids will like it.", or even "The kids may like it." involve a leap of faith that doesn't seem justified to me.  How do we know what the kids will like?  And of how much value is it to be drawn into something by a hokey presentation?
All best,
Johnm

Offline Stuart

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 11:22:43 AM »
Point taken, John. I think the default, "There's no such thing as bad publicity," is usually uttered with the realization that we'll probably never see something along the lines of "RJ: The Man and the Myth, His Music, His Life, His Times." Perhaps someday someone will put together a serious, well researched presentation about Robert Johnson, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

However, maybe one of the "kids" DerZauberer refers to might realize that what really happened is much more interesting than BS and take up the cause, and the result will be what you and the rest of us have been waiting for. But again, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2019, 08:41:07 PM »
The kids may well like Robert Johnson, and as always they fall into two camps.

There are the credulous ones who like him for his music and for mystical affirmation purposes.

The incredulous ones, self included, who like him for his music and don't believe for an instant in the 'devil at the crossroads' bs

So nothing has changed. The marketers continue to dig him up periodically to make a buck off the credulous, the PT Barnum principal. RJ's probably sitting on a cloud laughing right now.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 08:43:33 PM by Rivers »

Offline big joe weems

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2019, 08:59:07 AM »
I wonder if musicians in the past used the phrase "went to the crossroads" to mean they dedicated themselves for a time to nonstop practicing? In jazz parlance, players use the phrase "went to the woodshed" to mean that same thing.  When Bob Dylan returned to MN from his relatively short initial stint in NY, many people asked him if he had been to the crossroads, because his playing had improved so dramatically.  But in fact he had just spent all his waking hours in NY practicing and jamming with talented musicians.  People seem to look for some magical explanation when someone's skills improve very rapidly, when in fact there is no real secret.  :)

Offline Stuart

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2019, 09:31:45 AM »
It's possible, Big Joe. The problem, of course, is trying to locate evidence to support it. Since speech--the spoken word--is the primary way in which we express ourselves, and because such a small percentage of what was spoken was ever recorded in writing, textual evidence is all we have to go on in this case. And as the old saying goes, absence of evidence isn't necessarily evidence of absence. --In this case anyway.

It's somewhat like that phrase, "made a deal with the Devil," (and its range of meaning). In addition to the common usage, to do something morally, ethically and/or legally compromised in order to achieve one's goal, I've also heard it used to refer to people putting almost everything aside (life out of balance) to achieve one's goal.

So again, IMHO, it's possible, but what we need is evidence to support its use in the context you refer to.



Offline DerZauberer

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2019, 11:12:37 AM »
What I meant by "kids" is... (personal story here): I was in my late teens when I saw that movie "Crossroads", with the ridiculous Karate Kid Guitar Duel, bogus story, but great Ry Cooder soundtrack. And at the time, growing up in rural Germany about as far removed from the Delta as you can be, I actually learned a few names of musicians mentioned, heard some good music, and did enjoy the story for its entertainment value. That "stupid" movie cemented my interest in the Blues as a genre to pursue further, to pick up my old guitar again, and is part of the reason why I am in this forum some 20+ years later.

That's the (potential) credit I give to projects like this, or the American Epic sessions where Nas performs an old song as a rap, or Jack White references Son House, ... it's a chance (an nothing more than that) that some teenager (=kid) will like the stuff and delve into it. And in my world, one young person becoming interested in this music is worth a few boring old myths and inaccuracies and sensational stories. If they get "in", they'll learn about the real storys anyway, and if they stay "out" it does not matter they heard the bogus version.
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Offline Stuart

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2019, 02:29:27 PM »
Thanks for sharing your personal story, DerZauberer. I remember when "Crossroads" came out, one of my friends remarked that while it was total BS, it might lead a few people to the real thing. I guess you were one of them. I think many of us prefer a serious, factual approach because it best serves the music and the people who made it.

But in the world of entertainment, it's difficult to generate ticket sales with a straight documentary that comes across as a seminar. Like you say, even though the vehicle may be less than ideal, if it captures the interest of those who go on to seriously pursue the genuine article, then perhaps it has served a useful purpose after all.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 08:24:32 AM »
  If memory serves, the show didn't present, even one song, performed by Johnson, in it's entirety
Just 10-15 second snippets.

I can't imagine that arousing any one's interest enough to say "Oh Boy! There once was a guy who could play the guitar and sing at the same time. I need to find out more"

   Very, very little of, Johnson himself, heard in that show

Offline harry

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2019, 04:36:59 PM »
Probably to cut the budget. Although Stephen LaVere passed away, I don't know who has the rights now.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Remastered, Devil At The Crossroads
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 02:33:01 PM »
In the interest of thread drift, there's an RJ song in a clip (10:23) from "Burning Cane" featured in this interview.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/amanpour-and-company/video/19-year-old-filmmaker-phillip-youmans/

Also: https://tinyurl.com/y4bcsex4

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