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Sometimes these dreams, just like being awake. I saw another man eating up my chocolate cake - Emery Glen, Back Door Blues

Author Topic: Country Blues interviews  (Read 650 times)

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Offline TenBrook

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Country Blues interviews
« on: June 03, 2016, 07:37:36 AM »
Does anyone know of any books or recorded materials that contain interviews with Country Blues musicians (mainly interested in those who were active in the 20s and 30s). I know of quite a few books written about Country Blues, some of which may quote from interviews, but I don't know of anything where the interviewees are left to speak for themselves without an author interjecting.

I'm a fan of hearing stories directly from the mouths of those who lived them and so would appreciate any pointers in that direction.

Thanks,
Lew

Offline banjochris

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 08:44:00 AM »
Paul Oliver's "Conversations With the Blues" is a classic.

I'd also highly recommend the Mance Lipscomb bio "I Say Me for a Parable" by Glen Alyn. Some find the transcription of Mance's speaking style hard to read, but for me personally, after having listened to him talk on records and film, I didn't have any trouble with it at all.
Chris

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 09:29:40 AM »
Thanks Chris. I've been meaning to check out 'I Say Me for a Parable' especially since I've been living in Texas for the past 11 years. I think they may just have a copy at the local library...


Offline jpeters609

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 12:16:24 PM »
The Honeyboy Edwards biography, "The World Don't Owe Me Nothing," is taken from numerous interviews with him and is written in his words (though artfully edited and arranged to provide a more chronological account). I enjoyed this book and found it to be an illuminating firsthand description of a blues musician's life in the pre-war Mississippi Delta.
Jeff

Offline frankie

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 07:10:27 PM »
You might want to seek out "Been Here And Gone" by Frederic Ramsey and two titles by George Mitchell: "Blow My Blues Away" and "Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967."

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2016, 03:04:38 PM »
Good question, Lew! No one really thought to interview (or to write down the interviews if they did them) blues artists in the 1920s-30s. So the interviews we have are generally from the 1960s or later. One exception, and it's a very interesting one, is John Lomax's interview of Wille McTell in 1940. I think this is it:
I agree that the Honeyboy Edwards book is essential for anyone interested in the blues. Those interviews were conducted long after the facts, but Edwards had a terrific memory and way of describing things. The Stephen Calt book on Skip James also is based on extensive interviews with the subject. Paul Oliver's Conversation With the Blues consists of snippets of interviews he conducted in the early '60s, along with recordings and photos.
And then there is Living Blues magazine, which was founded in 1970 with exactly the philosophy you espouse, to let musicians tell their own stories in their own words. Of course many of the interviewees are of later eras, but there are 1920s-30s artists in there too. I suggest you find a library that has the full Living Blues collection and sit down with it. Have fun! 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2016, 12:31:09 AM »
FWIW attached is a list of the interviews conducted by Paul Oliver in 1960 for Conversation With the Blues.

The recordings have been digitised as mp3s and on average 20mb each. These are lodged in the Oliver Archive (Cheltenham UK) and for many years have been available on request from the curator of this archive. His name escapes me.....

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Country Blues interviews
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2016, 07:22:27 AM »
Thanks everyone. This list will definitely give me plenty of things to search out and listen to.

Lew

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