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It's not what you play that's important. It's the notes you DON'T play - Miles Davis, Les Paul, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe et al

Author Topic: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project  (Read 1859 times)

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Offline arlotone

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Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« on: September 09, 2018, 07:28:13 PM »
I didn't see this posted here; forgive me if I missed it. Preston Lauterbach, author of The Chitlin' Circuit and Beale Street Dynasty, is writing a new book about Robert Johnson and is raising funds for the project:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brotherrobert/brother-robert/

Please consider supporting this author, who is documenting some great old stories in his books!

Offline Thomas8

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 09:59:57 AM »
Call me cynical but he's asking for eleven and a half grand to publish a book? Good grief.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 07:40:17 PM »
Call me cynical but he's asking for eleven and a half grand to publish a book? Good grief.

15 grand and he has 6.5 already
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Rivers

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 07:53:37 PM »
Quote
Please consider supporting this author

Yeh right!  :P

Offline Stuart

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 09:09:38 PM »
I read his other books and was favorably impressed. But what strikes me as unusual about this project is that there is no breakdown regarding how the funds will be used. Some books have limited markets and the presses require authors to submit camera ready copy along with a subvention so the presses don't bear all--or sometimes any--of the costs. A while back I posted this link that gives some info about the publishing costs at twenty university presses:

http://www.sr.ithaka.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/SR_Report_Costs_Publishing_Monographs020516.pdf

The Chitlin Circuit and Beale Street Dynasty were both published by Norton. 

As I wrote two years ago, one of the editors at the University of Washington sent it to me and said that $30K is the cost to bring a book to the pre-print stage at the UW Press. I don't know what Norton's costs would be if they decided to publish it.

My advice is not to be cynical, and I don't question Preston Lauterbach's credentials or motives, but I would definitely ask for more information before I made a contribution to the project.

Here's a link to his blog which gives a little more info:

https://prestonlauterbach.com/2018/08/

He writes in part, "I am delighted to share news of a project I?m helping out with, a memoir about growing up with Robert Johnson, by the last living soul who knew him well. I?m serving as ghostwriter and fundraiser."

He's not the author, so he can't shop it to Norton as his own work. This is certainly a limiting factor when it comes to finding a press willing to take it on.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2018, 09:25:32 PM by Stuart »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2018, 11:16:03 PM »
Speaking of limiting factors, if this woman is indeed an authentic witness to RJ's life (offering no opinion here), this project could really dampen interest and funding for trying to organize and research Mack McCormick's jumbled archive. I've assumed Mack revealed the crowning jewel (the L.V Thomas story) himself, knowing his time was short, wanting, and getting, one more turn in the spotlight. Otherwise his RJ "research" is probably the only thing that would produce a fundable exploration and book, but this could make that all moot. So, unfortunately, any other collateral that blues geeks might be hoping to see may have just become less likely to come to the surface.

Wax
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George Bernard Shaw

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Offline DerZauberer

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 05:23:24 AM »
I mean I'd probably read it if it comes out, but obviously the guys don't have an idea how to properly set up and market a kickstarter... I'm backing all kinds of topics regularly, and all of them have a clear story to tell, interesting rewards and goals and stretched goals, and manage to create all kinds of excitement around it.

This reads like "this probably won't make any money, so let's try and cover my travel expenses and maybe have a little something extra to give to Mrs Anderson". Meh.

Of course, it would be great if this would be included in a "final" major piece of work on RJ, incorporating Mack's sources and the findings from other researchers, to collect the pieces that are out there.

To be honest, I personally really prefer the shorter and matter-of-fact style accounts in the style of Beaumont's Son House book, or even Guralnick on RJ. The artist biographies in Agram's "New Paramount Book of Blues" are also great, as well as the supporting information for the American Epic series or Jack White's Paramount Records History.

There are many artists I'd like to hear more about - but there's so many more artists I'd like to hear more FROM. (For example, rather than a Willie Brown biography I'd like the remaining sides to magically turn up).

Long story short: Does not really excite me the way it is set up.
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Offline Rivers

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 05:30:47 AM »
This snippet tells me everything I need to know about this project:

Quote
Johnson is an inductee of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and posthumous Grammy award winner. His compositions have been covered by Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and The Grateful Dead, and he inspired contemporaries such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. It's no stretch to call him one of the most influential figures in American music.

Don't forget he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads. He could also have shot someone on 5th Avenue and not lost any fans. Meh!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 05:34:03 AM by Rivers »

Offline harriet

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 06:22:17 AM »
​I think it would be fascinating if the woman who is 92 and quite alert would recount her ​memories,, same as​ I was with the​ KC Douglas ​interview and his brief recounting experiences with Tommy Johnson​ on the​ ​Unissued Field Recordings from Axel K?stner​ show​--​ but (forgive me) shame on him for commercializing this - I suppose everyone will be denied tne info if they don't pony up their money.

IMHO: Just pay the woman out of your own pocket, or raise it privately among your friends,  and get the info she would like others to know out there via an iphone, self published transcription from blurb publishing that can be ordered on demand.

All he's done from what I see in the non-huge-outpouring of donations is mislead a 92 year old woman into believing he was in a position to get the support for a credibly defined project and he doesn't appear to have the outreach or credibility.  Why he would want to be involved with even risking  disappointing a senior citizen of that age is reprehensible to my mind.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 07:13:05 AM »
I would guess he's pretty busy having to continue to make a living for himself and family. When you're already overworked and underpaid I can totally understand the impulse to put it on kickstarter.

We did one ourselves trying to get the extra capital we need to finish-out our cheese aging cave and put it into production, while still keeping our current creamery production going. We're already stretched for time and energy every week.

We didn't raise much money and the cave is still unfinished, so nothing is a given. As DerZauberer indicates, running the flag up the pole doesn't mean enough people are going to salute, it takes some work and a compelling story to do it successfully.

[Wow, this was my 6666th post on here  >:D]
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 07:18:08 AM by Rivers »

Offline big joe weems

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 07:31:45 AM »
Rivers,

I would like to invest in your cave business as long as I can occasionally use it as a hideout from the law.

Also, now that I know he won a Grammy, I'm going to have to give a listen to that Johnson feller.

Thanks,
Joe

Offline Rivers

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 07:47:21 AM »
HeHe! We have two levels of access, nuclear holocaust (already sold out verbally to the neighbors), and a very attractive  desperado time-share deal. I'll send you a brochure :P


Offline Stuart

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2018, 08:01:33 AM »
...but obviously the guys don't have an idea how to properly set up and market a kickstarter...

You hit the nail right on the head.

Offline Thomas8

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2018, 11:57:14 AM »
She was twelve when he died on August 16, 1938.

This woman was twelve years old when Johnson died how much cohesion and depth is there to be found in a young girls assertion of a twenty something year old rambling bluesman really?

Quote
Johnson is an inductee of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and posthumous Grammy award winner. His compositions have been covered by Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and The Grateful Dead, and he inspired contemporaries such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. It's no stretch to call him one of the most influential figures in American music.

Yup classic case to appeal the masses doesn't let the music stand on it's own:

"FORGET ABOUT ROBERT JOHNSON THE DEPTH AND QUALITY OF HIS MUSIC AND THE BLUES,
 LOOK JIMI CLAPTON AND THE ROLLING ZEPPELIN COVERED HIS SONGS IN AN OVERBLOWN AND DILUTED
 MANNER AND THEY'RE SO FAMOUS EVEN YOU MIGHT KNOW THEIR NAME"

Introducing Johnson by saying he's in the rock and roll hall of fame and won a Grammy. That's like introducing Edvard Grieg as the man who wrote the music for Alton Towers.   

Another thing I'm confused by, in the campaign he states:

Funding would afford the collaborators the opportunity to meet in person and undertake the research and interview process that will build the material for the book. Mrs. Anderson and I live about eight hundred miles apart and we'll meet in Memphis, where she got to know Mr. Johnson, requiring travel for both of us.

But in an update even though he hasn't reach his goal of $$$

We've covered most if not all of what she knows about Robert Johnson's life. As a longtime Memphis history nerd, it's been a thrill to explore yet another neighborhood of the past, getting to know the characters who populated it, and spending time in the places where people relaxed, ate, went for beer, and listened to records. From here, we'll discuss Robert Johnson's afterlife, and how his growing stardom after death has affected his family.

??? ??? ???



Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2018, 06:29:28 AM »
More interested in the cheese cave at this point

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