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I don't know what brought on the Depression... I didn't feel so depressed for I didn't have a thing to start with - Georgia Tom Dorsey, from Giles Oakley's The Devil's Music, BBC

Author Topic: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others  (Read 29910 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2005, 10:03:02 AM »
I guess that's the one problem I've found with the JSP sets -- the music is great and the price is fantastic (I've got 7 sets so far, and have paid between $5 for BLJ and $20 for Big Bill).? But I've found many errors on their track lists and discographical info, and even titles on the front of the CD.? Careless.? Sloppy.? Whatever, it's annoying.

I agree. The packages are quite sloppy and seem thrown together without much thought or care. That's part of why they're cheap I guess. I'm always surprised by the raves about the sound of some of them as well. The Lemon set seems no different really than the Documents to me. The Yazoo "Best of" is far superior. The Memphis set, a great roster, suffers similar sound quality issues IMO. I am no audiophile, not by a long shot. I am very curious to hear the set with Tommy Johnson and Ishman Bracey, since it sure would be nice to hear those guys cleaned up a bit. But despite these complaints, like many of us, I have quite a few of their sets, and more to come no doubt. The Mountain Blues package is my latest and it is very enjoyable, some great fiddle material.

Anyway, like you I have very mixed feelings about JSP (didn't even mention how they get their music)...

Offline Montgomery

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2005, 06:57:38 AM »
Yeah, I'm always surprised too that people are so impressed with JSP's sound quality.  Some of their early sets sounded good because they were stealing from the best, most notably Bear Family (Jimmie Rodgers, Carter Family, etc.) and Revenant (Patton).  Most of their more recent sets sound as bad as, if  not worse than, the Documents.  I got a free copy of their recent Mountain Blues set...lots of great music, atrocious sound.

Offline Stuart

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2005, 11:21:33 AM »
A while back (perhaps several years?) I remember reading an article in the? NY Times regarding the expiration of copyright protection outside the US and how it would affect the right to re-issue earlier (50 years?) material and royalties being paid to the copyright holder. The focus was on music that was more mainstream than what we gravitate to, but perhaps this explains the appearance of sets on JSP, Proper, and the other non-US labels. Can anyone add to, correct, and/or clarify this?

With respect to Memphis Minnie, there's a good book "Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues" by Paul Garon and? Beth Garon that is readily available that fans of her music will find interesting.

Stuart

Offline uncle bud

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2005, 02:03:57 PM »
A while back (perhaps several years?) I remember reading an article in the? NY Times regarding the expiration of copyright protection outside the US and how it would affect the right to re-issue earlier (50 years?) material and royalties being paid to the copyright holder. The focus was on music that was more mainstream than what we gravitate to, but perhaps this explains the appearance of sets on JSP, Proper, and the other non-US labels. Can anyone add to, correct, and/or clarify this?

Hi Stuart - yes, this is essentially correct as far as I know, though copyright is murky territory. The added twist that prompts a certain amount of debate is the digital copying of other people's recent work to restore this music. So, for instance, were I in the UK, I could copy remastered Yazoo discs, mess with the EQ a bit and put out my own set of cheap Charley Patton, or Blind Lemon or whatever. JSP has been sued by Bear Family for allegedly doing this, and Bear Family is supposedly putting digital signatures into their remastered recording projects now.

Offline Stuart

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2005, 06:36:47 AM »
Thanks, Uncle Bud

I checked and the article was in the January 2, 2003 edition of the NY Times. The Times site has an abstract, but

http://www.library.yale.edu/~llicense/ListArchives/0301/msg00008.html

has the full text for those who are interested.

Stuart

Offline GhostRider

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2005, 10:45:39 AM »
Hey Stuart:

Being a big fan of Memphis Minnie, I bought the Garon book you mention with great anticipation.

I was extremely disappointed. Almost nothing about her music, most of the book was psycodrivel about the deep inner meaning of her lyrics. I thought it was by far the worst old blues biography I have ever read :(.

Maybe I missed something. What aspects of the book appealed to you?

Alex

Offline Stuart

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #36 on: May 30, 2005, 11:29:16 AM »
Hello Alex:

What I liked was that it was a source of information that was neither easily accessible nor available in one place until the book was written. I tend to be rather lenient when it comes to rendering a critical evaluation of the various books on one of our favorite subjects. Sometimes all the information is not there and the author is writing the book in addition to having a full time job and out of pure interest. Of course its easy to interpret this view as the words of an apologist or perhaps to someone just making excuses for less than an ideal finished product (one that often doesn't have the benefit of the editorial rigors or the scrutiny of outside readers as do those that are published by major presses), but since there is so little out there and not an overabundance of resources to work with, I tend to look at most anything that makes a contribution to our knowledge of the whole person behind the music a plus. I also tend to read around the "Psychobabble" as it can often be impressionistic, shallow, and misleading. But I'm not necessarily correct in my approach toward, or view of, the interpretations of others.

Having said that, you are under no obligation to be of the opinion that "Woman With Guitar" is a good book. You are entitled to have different and higher standards than I do. No argument here. I wish that the source material existed so that excellent biographies were available for all of the deserving musicians of the past, but sometimes the historical material is no longer extant, as those of us who work in this area are at times forced to say.

On a related topic, have you seen the documentary "Say Amen, Somebody" which featured Rev. Thomas Dorsey? If so, what did you think of it?

Stuart

Offline GhostRider

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #37 on: May 30, 2005, 02:21:40 PM »
Stuart:

Thanks for your views.

As to higher standards, I'm sure that the only two beings on earth who think that I have "higher standards" are Mr.s Slack and Unkie Bud.

I have not seen the documentary that you mention. Is it worth searching out?

Alex

Offline Stuart

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2005, 03:00:55 PM »
Alex:

I believe that it is. I first heard "Georgia Tom" on the Yazoo Big Bill Broonzy re-issues some 35 years ago. Subsequently I learned about his conversion from a Chicago blues performer to a gospel composer following the tragic death of his wife and their infant. I found "Say Amen, Somebody" fascinating and moving. I think that it provides insight into an important part of American culture for people like myself who would otherwise not know much about it. Plus I thought that it contains great music and is an very moving human story.

Stuart

Offline uncle bud

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2005, 03:32:24 PM »
As to higher standards, I'm sure that the only two beings on earth who think that I have "higher standards" are Mr.s Slack and Unkie Bud.

Alex, really now, you know I'd never accuse you of having high standards.

Stuart, thanks for the recommendation re. Say Amen, Somebody. I haven't seen it. I did see a film called the Story of Gospel Music which featured some Georgia Tom.

Offline Slack

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2005, 05:19:11 PM »
Quote
As to higher standards, I'm sure that the only two beings on earth who think that I have "higher standards" are Mr.s Slack and Unkie Bud.

Alex, really now, you know I'd never accuse you of having high standards.

UB, Alex has high standards -- he's just a little confused, but we'll try to straighten him out again. (Looking forward to PT Alex)..

Actually Alex, when comparing you to the Texas Legislature, I think you have extremely high standards.  :P

OK something related to content... Stuart, I'm interested in the documentary also.  I just joined Netflix on their $10 a month deal (I know, I'm behind the times and cheap) and I'm looking for good movies to add to my queue list.  Cannot find this title however.

Cheers,
slack

Offline outfidel

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #41 on: June 30, 2005, 04:57:46 AM »
BIG BILL BROONZY - Volume 2 : 1937-1940
CD $28.98
4 CDs, 101 tracks, recommended

Due next week. This slice of mid period Big Bill continues his small group recordings of uncomplicated, good time music, and takes us to within a couple of years - 40 titles - of the end of his pre-war career.

These sessions were built around Bill's engaging vocals and accomplished guitar work with key support from a succession of talented pianists - Black Bob, Joshua Altheimer and Blind John Davis. The rest of the musicians and particularly the trumpet and clarinet players who feature on many sessions are something of a mixed ability group, but the overall sound is tight and confident, and was by all accounts very popular in its day. The original purchasers of these records though would have bought only a fraction of them, and consequently would have been less aware of the reworking of material - sometimes many times over - which a chronological reissue like this so cruelly exposes. Of course all blues singers who were extensively recorded did this, but somehow it is made more obvious by the consistently slick treatment it gets here.

That said there are many outstanding performances in this set, and some of the reworkings offer more wit and invention than is apparent on first hearing. Highlights include You Do Me Any Old Way/ Trucking Little Woman/ Trouble And Lying Woman/ Baby I Done Got Wise/ Oh Yes and Unemployment Stomp, an upbeat tone being maintained even when dealing with themes of poverty, violence and infidelity. Bill also had a gift for tapping his rural roots and memories of the south, and songs like Plow Hand Blues and Going Back To Arkansas would have resonated with many in his Chicago audience. The weakest disc is disc 3, but even here there are classics like Just A Dream and two strong, ingratiating performances from the 1938 Carnegie Hall "From Spirituals To Swing" concert, where Big Bill was drafted as a replacement for the murdered Robert Johnson. Listening to the laughter at Bill's lyrics in Done Got Wise and the warm applause you wonder whether Mr. Johnson would have come across as well to the white audience - I doubt it.

Many of the best tracks here have of course featured in numerous "best of " compilations including Columbia's "Good Time Tonight" (Col 467247), but I wouldn't be without some of the fine, less anthologized tracks like Dreamy Eyed Baby. Sound on this set is generally excellent, and like Volume 1 becomes more impressive when compared to a sample of previous reissues - presentation is typically less noisy, clearer and with a fuller dynamic range. This set is also much easier to listen to than the often noisy complete works on Document. Add decent notes from Neal Slaven, ignore the usual budget packaging and you have another winner from JSP. (DPR)

source: Roots & Rhythm
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Offline dj

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2005, 07:27:39 AM »
I see in the same newsletter that Bukka White's Tacoma LP is being reissued on CD, I think for the first time.  This was his first recording after being rediscovered and in my opinion his best post-war work.  Booker accompanies himself on piano on Drunk Man Blues, and there's a spoken cut which is a remembrance of White's meeting with Charley Patton when White was a young boy.  If I remember correctly, Patton gave White a teaspoon of whisky and White decided he was going to grow up to be a "great man like Charley Patton".

Offline blueshome

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2005, 09:48:17 AM »
Just picked up the latest JSP issue - Atlanta Blues.

This has Julius Daniels, Curley Weaver, Peg Leg Howell, PLH Gang,Sloppy Henry and Lil McClintock all in one place. Spound is generally good, especially the Peg Leg stuff which I was attracted to by JMM's disertations.

Offline Stuart

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Re: JSP Boxed Sets--Blind Lemon & Others
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2005, 10:41:13 AM »
Thanks for the heads up, re: JSP "Atlanta Blues" set. It doesn't appear to have been released in the U.S. as of yet.

Stu

 


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