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One night an obscure Mississippi country boy showed up... and he impressed Mr. Wright with his politeness and showmanship. "He always had a motion, you know" - Early Wright, WROX Clarkdale DJ on Elvis

Author Topic: Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis  (Read 2024 times)

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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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