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Sometimes you have to play for a long time to be able to play like yourself - Miles Davis

Author Topic: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson  (Read 3205 times)

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Offline harriet

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2019, 10:23:49 AM »
I always wondered why Johnson played only one guitar solo (only Kind Hearted Woman has one)? 


That's interesting. Maybe he found from performing that people were glued to the sung portion and didn't want to lose the attention of the people recording him or maybe he was instructed to just do the sung portion.   Shame someone wasn't asked that.

Harriet

Offline harry

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2019, 04:04:09 PM »
Page 164; it reads "Dust My Broom" was recorded in Open E.
Page 166; it reads "Ramblin On My Mind" was recorded in a 'unusual open tuning"

Wasn't it the other way around?


Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2019, 02:51:47 AM »
Dust My Broom is in Drop D, Rambling is in Vestapol. There are other errors in the chapter discussing the music, which I found surprising, as Bruce Conforth plays guitar. It’s a pity, given that the book aspires to being a ‘definitive’ history. Also, the recordings are empirical evidence of how the music was played, so there shouldn’t be room for error. The lengthy discussion of a ‘computer verified’ ‘secret’ tuning will unfortunately send gullible readers up the wrong garden path!


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Offline Gilgamesh

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2019, 02:52:44 PM »
Dust My Broom is in Drop D, Rambling is in Vestapol. There are other errors in the chapter discussing the music, which I found surprising, as Bruce Conforth plays guitar. It’s a pity, given that the book aspires to being a ‘definitive’ history. Also, the recordings are empirical evidence of how the music was played, so there shouldn’t be room for error. The lengthy discussion of a ‘computer verified’ ‘secret’ tuning will unfortunately send gullible readers up the wrong garden path!


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This thread is logging a bunch of errors in the book, and the discussion has barely begun.

I can't get over the 50 million thing.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #49 on: July 03, 2019, 03:16:07 PM »
I have to say that I enjoyed the book overall, and wouldn’t want to discourage people from reading it. The timeline information about Robert’s life story is the main interest.


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Offline Stuart

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2019, 03:32:59 PM »
This thread is logging a bunch of errors in the book, and the discussion has barely begun.

I can't get over the 50 million thing.

Maybe Gayle Dean and Bruce could set up a website where people can post the errors they come across. They could follow up with a consolidated "Errata" page that is updated periodically. Free proofreading and copy editing post-publication--what's not to like??!!

Online Johnm

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2019, 03:40:38 PM »
I see your point, Stuart, but I think that vetting the posted "errors" would be a major pain and a time suck, too.  Considering some of the silly things I've seen posted just about Robert Johnson's music, I would be a more than a bit leery of encouraging whomever to report errors they found in the book.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2019, 04:25:37 PM »
You are right, John. I thought of that as well, but it would have to be  something like the Pre-War Blues Group of which Gayle Dean and Bruce are members and people would be vetted before they joined. --And would be bounced the first time they stepped out of line.

The internet has turned into such a mess that I kind of long for the days of BBSs and SIGs. The technology was much more basic, but somehow there was a lot more quality control with respect to who participated in the discussions.

I was reading a little of the RJ book yesterday and thought of all the nonsense. In some ways I think it can be traced back to the two Columbia LPs. Serious, fact based liner notes might have made a difference. People might have been more focused on the music and less on the other stuff. But maybe not. What do I know?

Offline CF

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #53 on: July 03, 2019, 04:41:37 PM »
Dust My Broom is in Drop D, Rambling is in Vestapol. There are other errors in the chapter discussing the music, which I found surprising, as Bruce Conforth plays guitar. It’s a pity, given that the book aspires to being a ‘definitive’ history. Also, the recordings are empirical evidence of how the music was played, so there shouldn’t be room for error. The lengthy discussion of a ‘computer verified’ ‘secret’ tuning will unfortunately send gullible readers up the wrong garden path!


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This thread is logging a bunch of errors in the book, and the discussion has barely begun.

I can't get over the 50 million thing.

Bruce admitted the error and says the number was actually . . . 500,000!
Quite a difference.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Rivers

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #54 on: July 03, 2019, 04:44:35 PM »
Considering some of the silly things I've seen posted just about Robert Johnson's music, I would be a more than a bit leery of encouraging whomever to report errors they found in the book.

That's an understatement of cosmic proportions  :)

Offline harry

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #55 on: July 04, 2019, 02:39:08 PM »

[/quote]

Bruce admitted the error and says the number was actually . . . 500,000!
Quite a difference.
[/quote]

Where did you read it?

Offline CF

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #56 on: July 05, 2019, 04:28:16 AM »
Bruce and Gayle Dean are both members of the Facebook group, The Real Blues Forum.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline alyoung

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2019, 07:12:11 AM »
The error is also acknowledged in a footnote to the Blues & Rhythm review of the book. As far as the computer-verified tuning is concerned ... I tried it, and yeah, I suppose it works, but what a hassle. You wouldn't want to be going in and out of it for just a few songs. As a sidenote, Robert Lockwood -- the only man known to have had guitar lessons from Johnson -- played Rambling in dropped D tuning; no slide and sounding like RJ's Broom.   

Online Johnm

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2019, 12:16:11 PM »
Hi all,
Apropos of Al's comment, and Prof Scratchy's earlier comment on Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom", I re-listened to Johnson's rendition the day before yesterday, and he definitely played it out of D position in dropped-D tuning.  For Johnson to have played it in Vestapol, he would have had to finger what he played in the IV chord under his singing in the verses fretting 5-5-5-X-10-9, while rocking between the fifth and seventh fret of the fifth string, which he certainly did not do.  All of the turn-arounds that he plays holding a high I note on the first string while playing a descending bVII-VI-bVI-V line just over an octave below transfer intact from the way he played them in his A blues, if "Dust My Broom" is played in dropped-D.  To play the same turn-around in Vestapol is pointlessly complex, and would involve fretting the first and third strings at the twelfth fret, while walking down the fifth string chromatically from the fifteenth fret (!), 15-14-13-12.  Once again, he did not do that.  The turn-around he plays at the end of the next-to-last verse, from 2:24--2:27, he plays at the base of the neck, starting with a garden variety D chord in standard tuning on the first two strings, third fret of the second string and second fret of the first string.  From there, he resolves to a G7 in which he frets the bVII in the bass at the third fret of the sixth string, going from the third fret of the second string to the open first string followed by a triplet in which he goes from the first fret of the first string to the third fret of the second string followed by the open first string.  He finishes the turn-around in a standard base-of-the-neck A7 chord, X-0-2-2-2-3, the sound of which to be duplicated in Vestapol would have to be fretted X-0-2-3-4-5.  The turn-around at the end of the next-to-last verse is enough, by itself, to place "Dust My Broom" in dropped-D tuning in D position.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 03:59:13 PM by Johnm »

Offline harry

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Re: Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2019, 04:51:29 PM »
Did people like Rory Block and John Hammond Jr. actually read the manuscript pre-publication? I'm convinced they must had noticed the errors.


“This is the book the blues world has been waiting for. Authored by two uniquely qualified scholars following years of extensive interviews and exhaustive research, the result is fascinating, important, and factual, without agenda or embellished narrative. . . . It is in my view a far more moving account than many others that have been obscured by so much fantasy. It’s a can’t-put-it-down kind of book—an exciting, great read.” —Rory Block, celebrated acoustic blues guitarist/singer and five-time Blues Music Award winner


"Finally an in-depth biography of one of the greatest blues musicians ever. The clearing up of the myths and mysteries is a relief. The work of the authors is meticulous. They detail Robert Johnson's journey with facts, creating a full view of his life and times, his friends and influences, so the reader has a comprehensive understanding of how he came to be the greatest of the Delta bluesmen. I am blown away!" —John Hammond, Jr.

Edit, John Hammond Jr.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 11:22:43 AM by harry »