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Author Topic: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis  (Read 1870 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 03:30:24 PM »
Gonna have to break the blues book moratorium for this one.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 02:21:47 AM »
That sounds very interesting!
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 08:23:45 AM »
Chicago UP have updated their website concerning this book. Slowly inching its way to publication.....

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo19609757.html

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 11:44:20 PM »
This has been forwarded to me. I'm guessing review copies have been circulated......

http://singout.org/2015/02/24/ian-zack-say-no-to-the-devil-the-life-and-musical-genius-of-reverend-gary-davis/

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 06:51:34 PM »

From the sing out review
" [/size]but when it came to women, he was notorious. Waitresses at folk clubs steered clear of him. On a European tour in the sixties with Buffy Sainte-Marie, he took many occasions to touch her inappropriately. Zack dismisses it, saying that Buffy had no complaint, but it makes me wonder, did she have any other choice? It doesn?t seem like the reverend thought too much of women guitarists either, saying he didn?t like the playing of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a player also well-known as a mentor for many. Most, if not all, of his students were men."

I'm very glad this book is finally seeing light. As for the Sing Out review......The reviewer, coming from a feminist perspective pronounces that RGD seemed to behave inappropriately with women and sites his well known Buffy St. Marie grope episodes. She doesn't however mention what a hellacious bitch his mother was, who  in some versions of his blindness story threw lye in his face, and later abandoned him, so if we're going to do the useless gender blame dance, let's at least give credit where its due. I just had to "SING OUT" about that one!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 07:00:54 PM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 11:53:02 PM »
Well it's all publicity but look who heads the list of Davis students. I know, I know alpha order but...

http://pressblog.uchicago.edu/2015/02/26/every-student-who-studied-with-the-rev-gary-davis.html

I've pre-ordered via Amazon UK who give a delivery date of 13 April.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 11:57:27 PM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2015, 01:26:36 PM »
Ha! Yeah always put the most famous one at the head of the list! :P
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2015, 01:31:58 PM »
I'd also add Danny Hirsch who studied with Davis and was my second guitar teacher, and who fanned my Davis fever, and my erstwhile bandmate Mike Schwartz who after studying with Davis was the direct catalyst for both Ernie Hawkins and me to seek him out. There's also Mary Flower's ex husband who's name escapes me.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 12:42:08 AM »
Google books UK have made the acknowledgements/introduction available plus various chapters in truncated form. I guess the same holds for Amazon US!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 12:43:44 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline ScottN

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2015, 11:47:32 AM »
Became available yesterday on Kindle for 10 bucks.  I'm about a quarter of the way through it so far and am enjoying it. The writing style is infinitely better than the Lonnie Johnson bio that I finally got through.  I would definitely give it a thumbs up so far.

Thanks,
               Scott

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 04:04:18 AM »
And now for something completely different.....  ;D

http://press.uchicago.edu/sites/zack/index.html

Offline RobBob

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 08:01:22 AM »
It is in the mail.  Waiting patiently for it.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 02:25:13 AM »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2015, 06:35:45 AM »
Well I just learned that the Davis' lived for 16 years at 405 East 169th St. in the Bronx until 1960 which means I was living a mile and a quarter away in the same borough for six overlapping years. Signs and portents, signs and portents. I've also been reading the immense Van Gogh Biography that came out a few years back and its interesting to do a mental misery tally of these two artistic giants. There's no question that Davis lead the much harder much more impoverished life, but he had the satisfaction of living long enough to see his work honored and to reap some reward for his Genius.
Van Gogh of course did not.
We know almost everything about how Van Gogh felt about things from the copious number of letters he left behind (mandatory reading for all Blues Lovers and all on line) and we can watch him describe his decent down the rabbit hole. Nobody thinks to question the mental health of Davis, though the current ideas about depression can hardly begin to encompass the real horrifically depressing circumstances he and his contemporaries often found themselves in. Both had a staggering degree of sheer will, demonstrated in the overcoming of their circumstances and internal demons. Both bequeathed the world a timeless, priceless artistic legacy.

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2015, 06:29:49 PM »
Well said Phil, well said.  I got my copy a few days ago, and have been reading it at night.  It's fantastic.  Wonderful. 

Mike

Offline EddieD

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2015, 07:42:49 PM »
I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this.

Has anyone read the Rev Gary Davis book available through Stefan Grossmans Guitar Workshop titled "Oh What A Beautiful City"? If so, how do these books compare. I was planning on buying the book from the Guitar Workshop site for a while. Now I see this one as well. I will end up with both eventually.:)


Offline frankie

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2015, 08:02:26 PM »
They're very different books. "Oh, What A Beautiful City" is at heart a collection of reminiscences and anecdotes from his students and acquaintances. The version that can be obtained through the Guitar Workshop is a second edition with added material and a contribution from Stefan Grossman (from memory, he refrained from participating initially).

I prefer the first edition, frankly, as the overall presentation is nicer, although the additional material in the second edition is welcome enough.

Ian Zack's book appears to be more thoroughly and painstakingly researched, and is more biographical in nature, including the analysis that comes along with that kind of endeavor.

William Ellis's dissertation on Rev. Davis draws more direct comparison to Zack's book, but is more musicological in nature (the analysis of song keys and positions will look VERY familiar to weenies), and is MUCH more dense (it IS a dissertation, after all).

Hope this helps...

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2015, 10:02:27 PM »
They're very different books. "Oh, What A Beautiful City" is at heart a collection of reminiscences and anecdotes from his students and acquaintances? The version that can be obtained through the Guitar Workshop is a second edition with added material and a contribution from Stefan Grossman (from memory, he refrained from participating initially).
Am I correct in assuming that we're discussing the late Robert Tilling's 1992 RGD book? If so here is a Weenie discussion of it from 2006.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2038.msg15668;topicseen#msg15668

The 2010 edition has a cover with RGD and Tilling's daughter taken when the Rev was a house guest of their's at their house in Jersey.

Offline EddieD

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2015, 11:08:36 PM »
Thanks for the help frankie! Having a description of them I am still interested in both books. I pretty much grab anything to do with Rev Gary Davis.

Offline frankie

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2015, 09:06:18 AM »
Am I correct in assuming that we're discussing the late Robert Tilling's 1992 RGD book?

Yessir - thanks for the link, BH!

Having a description of them I am still interested in both books. I pretty much grab anything to do with Rev Gary Davis.

Both books are eminently worth having (have not yet got a copy of the Zack book, yet). About "anything to do with Rev. Gary Davis...  I certainly know something about THAT. Oboy.

Offline P D Grant

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2015, 05:29:28 PM »
This book arrived yesterday and while I'm only 40 pages in, it's great. Really frustrating that there's been no real biography of the Rev's life to date - I have the Bastin and the Tilling books - but if the first few pages are anything to go by, it puts those frustrations to rest. It never even occurred to me that 12 Sticks was a reference to the dozens... doh!

Offline eric

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Re: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2015, 08:06:52 AM »
I finished reading Ian Zack's biography of Reverend Gary Davis, Say No to the Devil a couple of days ago. I highly recommend it.  Zack is professional writer and the book is very well researched and highly readable.  For folks on this board, who, like me, have read a lot of what's been written about him, it fills in many gaps in the arc of his life.  There are many fascinating, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic anecdotes about him, his contemporaries and students.  Zack points out that without a few very dedicated people who recognized his genius, he would not not have been recorded as much as he has, and would likely have ended up in poverty and obscurity, like so many of his contemporaries.

For me personally, Reverend Davis was a deeply inspired, and inspiring artist, and certainly transcended the genre we call Country Blues.  He was extraordinarily generous with his students, and the book makes it clear why they loved him.
--
Eric

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