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Author Topic: I'd Rather Be The Devil  (Read 7763 times)

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Offline Deacon

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I'd Rather Be The Devil
« on: January 20, 2004, 09:47:22 AM »
Folks,

Hope you all are enjoying an exciting and promising new year.?

I've seen several posts about Steven Calt's book on Skip James - most of them negative.? I'm just starting to read this book (been in my bookcase for a few years) and I'm curious what is it about this book elicits such strong responses.

I really enjoyed his (and Gayle Dean Wardlow's) book on Charley Patton (I admit I read this over 10 years ago and should read it again).

I know I don't have to say this, but, what's the story?

Cheers,

Deacon
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 02:49:45 PM by Johnm »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2004, 06:50:33 PM »
Deacon,

I enjoyed the Charley Patton book Calt did with Wardlow. The Skip James book seemed over the top. The tone of the thing is bitter and almost vengeful. I got the impression that if Skip James was as bad as Calt makes him out to be -- with questionable research and what seems at times to be flights of fancy -- that the two deserved each other. There seems to be an ambivalence in the book between expose of a murderous bastard (can't figure out how to do an accent on this friggin' Mac but that's expos-ay) and biographical memoir of a blues friend who at times thought of Calt as a son (!). Well, with friends like these, etc. etc.

Dunno, felt myself cringing reading the thing. I suspect Calt just needed a better editor to tone things down and that he didn't mean to be as vindictive as he comes across in the book.

Offline frankie

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2004, 06:33:10 PM »
Hi Deacon,

Having referred to it hyperbolically as 'excrement', I should probably explain:? Calt is an intelligent guy who wrote a book purporting to be about Skip James.? That would probably have been an interesting book.? Instead we are given a book that relates in some detail Calt's gripes with the blues scene of the 60's and the important personalities that shaped it.? That Calt himself does not emerge unscathed is, I guess, supposed to be an indication of the honesty and trustworthiness of the author.

The book left me wishing that someone would write a book about Skip James.

You should read it if you have it - I'll probably re-read it now that I'm thinking about it and see if I don't come away with a different impression.? It's a downer of a book on a number of levels, though.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2005, 02:50:44 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2004, 10:32:31 PM »
It's an appalling read, I couldn't put it down. Sort of like a country blues version of Celebrities Uncensored but nastier. If you take it with a large dose of salt there's enough info and anecdotes to make it worthwhile. But it is pointlessly cruel and opinionated, yes indeed.

smokey

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2004, 06:11:16 PM »
I didn't know someone wrote a book on my cousin. Well, Skip is my cousin by marriage. He married Mississippi John Hurt's niece. John Hurt is my grandfather's brother. What's all of this about negative comments? I wish that I knew where I could buy some of these books. When I spent the week in Skip's house, I had the honor of using his bedroom and going over his songbook. Skip wrote his songs in a notebook in pencil.
















Offline Rivers

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2004, 09:21:29 PM »
Hey Smokey,

You can get it from Amazon, go in via the link on this page and weenie gets commission.

http://www.weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/amazon/amazon.htm

I'd Rather Be The Devil is at the bottom of the page.

Tail Dragger

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2005, 05:51:47 PM »
It's also easy to pick a subject who's not around to defend themselves.  I, too, picked up the Charley Patton book about 15 years ago.  I loved it, but noticed that Son House didn't have too many nice things to say about Patton.  It's a good thing he didn't write (dictate?) a book on Patton's life.

Tail Dragger

Offline dj

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2005, 03:45:35 AM »
I think there are two main complaints against Calt's books. 

First, Calt is writing biographies of men who are known to the world because of and primarily through their recordings, but in neither the Patton nor the James book does he include a sessionography or discography.  Actually, the Patton book does include a discography, but it's of reissues of Patton's music.  There's no place in the book where you can easily find a list of what songs Patton recorded, when and where they were recorded, and what 78s they were originally issued on.

Second and more important, in both books, Calt tends to magnify his subject's importnce by belittling those surrounding him.  Part of this is, I think, because Calt takes what people say at face value and doesn't do a lot of digging for deeper meaning.  So when Son House says that Willie Brown was a better guitar player than Charlie Patton, he's written off as being jealous of Patton's ability (while I think the real meaning of that statement is that Patton, with his tendency to cut or lengthen lines as the spirit moved him, was hard to play with, while Brown was much easier to accompany or to be accompanied by).  This tendency is especially a problem in I'd Rather Be The Devil because Skip James was rather acerbic by nature and his comments on people on the scene magnify Calt's own tendency towards seeing others in a caustic light.  Al Wilson gets off lightly at being called "a nerd" and a "chubby, slovenly guitarist".  The controversy at the time the book was published centered on Calt's treatment of Dick Waterman, who was James's manager after his rediscovery.  James apparently distrusted Waterman as much as he distrusted everyone else in the world, and Calt at times takes Skip's distrust of Waterman to the point of insinuating financial impropriety.               

With that said, there's a lot of good information in both of Calt's books.  Especially worthwhile is his treatment of Patton's music as dance music, with discussion of what dances one would do to various Patton songs.  We tend to look at country blues as performance or listening pieces and forget that when this music was originally played, people were out on the dance floor One Stepping, Two Stepping, Slow Dragging, or Shimmy-She-Wobbling (or dozens ot other dances) to it.  You just have to be aware of Calt's biases and shortcomings as you read.

bluedogshuffle

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2005, 06:16:09 AM »
I'll be honest,never read the book.I dont know to much about Skip James,just that I injoy his music greatly.Whether he was in trouble with the law,pippin,drugs,or what ever,remember one thing,he is one of THE GREATS country bluesmen! Most of what happened,seems after his recordings in 1930.Please correct me if I'm wrong. But if you where ripped off what would you do? Remember, as a black man in 1930's America.

Sliver

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2005, 06:12:34 PM »
i've been meaning to re-read it for awhile now...  (i won't say where i got my copy.  grin.)  but i remember enjoying it the first time around.  of course, i've never read any other blues biography, and i'm extremely partial to skip james in general, and, having a bad attidute, i also enjoy reading about one.  so...  grain of salt...

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2007, 03:18:28 AM »
Searching through Blues & Rhythm of the 1990s I chanced upon what follows from the news page in issue 98 (April 1995). I've attempted to spot if there was any follow-up/conclusion to this but have drawn a blank. Anyone know?

LIBEL ACTION: The following message was posted on the Blues-L Internet message board and passed onto us by our good friend Eric LeBlanc: Dick Waterman has filed a $3,020,000 libel action against author Stephen Calt and Da Capo Press regarding statements printed in "I'd Rather Be the Devil, Skip James and the Blues". The suit seeks $1,500,000 in compensatory damages, $1,500,000 in punitive damages, and $20,000 for illegal use of a photographic image. I have retained James Stephen King of the Bogatin law firm in Memphis, Tennessee. After they had been served with the notice of legal action, Da Capo Press responded that the suit has no merit, but they offered to consider a financial settlement. I refused their offer and DaCapo has retained the Memphis firm of Waring Cox to represent them in the state of Tennessee. That is the status of the matter as of 13 February, 1995.1 have been involved with blues music for over 30 years, and I have no choice but to vigorously fight for my integrity and reputation. l can only ask that people not form judgements about me based on this book. l invite your active interest in this legal matter because I intend to defend my good name all the way into the courtroom. There will be no financial settlement. Stephen Calt will be held accountable for what he wrote about me. Please feel free to give out my address and phone/Fax on the Internet. l would welcome every chance to communicate directly with anyone who wants to know more about blues music over the past three decades. Please note: B&R has no interest in this dispute other than to publicise Dick Waterman's request to communicate directly with people interested in the dispute.

[Now what was it I was looking for in the first place? ;D]

Offline banjochris

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2007, 08:34:46 AM »
I did a Google search for libel and the parties involved and found this posted on a writer's website who had reviewed the Skip James book at one time. He had a link to what he calls Waterman's description of the outcome of the suit. In Waterman's book "Between Midnight and Day" he mentions the libel suit without mentioning who he sued or any of the specifics, including the outcome, IIRC. But here's what was on the writer's site:

Posted Dec. 18, 1997, to the blues-l mailing list.

There has been periodical mention of my libel suit against author Stephen Calt and publisher Da Capo Books on Blues-L over the past several years.

I just wanted to tell you that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to overturn the lower court's decision finding in favor of Calt and Da Capo.

In Calt's book, "I'd Rather Be The Devil: Skip James and the Blues," my name and reputation are trashed including the phrase, "He was roundly accused of being a thief."

I sued for libel, claiming that such a statement could never be proved to be accurate.

In depositions, the Da Capo reprersentative said they could bring forth no witnesses to substantiate their words. Calt said that he only heard the accusation on a second hand basis and when he heard it, he personally "did not believe it to be true."

The defense was successful in having me legally defined as "a limited purpose or vortex public figure" with the libel standards significantly different.

I attempted to prove to the Appeal Court that Calt's admission that he did not believe the statement to be true constituted "reckless disregard for the truth" but the court did not agree.

It has taken me over three years and a significant amount of money to allow this legal process to run its course. I have some bitterness that the result was not in my favor because I feel that people who do not know me will believe what has been written, even though both the author and publisher admit that they do not believe their own words to be true.

This message is intended to inform the members of Blues-L as to the resolution of the legal matter. It is not intended to launch any thread and I hope that you would not show any knee jerk reaction to come to my defense.

I am sorry that we were not able to bring the matter into a court room, given the significant number of older black men and women who were eager to testify on my behalf.

Dick Waterman

Offline poymando

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2007, 12:55:23 PM »
I re read this book recently and found it interesting. I'd also suggest John Fahey's piece about searching for (and finding) Skip  in his book of essays "How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life". There are some interesting reminicences in there about Bukka White and Ishmon Bracey as well.

Offline Stuart

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2008, 12:27:08 PM »
It looks like another press is bringing it out. Perhaps they'll reprint  the Patton book and other OP titles as well.

Doesn't Calt have a Robert Johnson book supposedly in the works?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2008, 01:08:57 PM »
Perhaps they'll reprint  the Patton book...
Hmm. Will need to re-read to see how it's stood the test of time but it was published 20 years ago so probably could do with some updating. The sneering chapter which attacked all research not performed by the Dynamic Duo of Calt and Wardlow, wouldn't be missed by me!

Offline Stuart

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2008, 03:11:25 PM »
Perhaps they'll reprint the Patton book...
Hmm. Will need to re-read to see how it's stood the test of time but it was published 20 years ago so probably could do with some updating. The sneering chapter which attacked all research not performed by the Dynamic Duo of Calt and Wardlow, wouldn't be missed by me!

I'm no fan of the general nastiness that pervades both books. Critical evaluation is one thing, but...(you know the rest). However, given the limited number of copies that are available in public libraries and the going price in the used book market, availability at a fair price is the point I was speaking to.

I'm sure there are those who would argue that scarcity is preferable to availability, but I'm in favor of letting the reader judge the merits of each book for him or herself.

Offline Rivers

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2008, 03:55:59 PM »
The Skip book is probably the one blues 'bio' that should have been allowed to fade into obscurity IMO. I will probably sell truckloads because of the controversy it created, here and elsewhere. I agree with Frank's comment above, I was left wishing someone would write a book about Skip James, not about Skip's interface with the blues revival.

I hope they republish the Patton book though. That one is a much less flawed classic and I loaned mine out in a fit of 'you must read this' and never got it back. Probably it's so good because Charley had the good luck to die many years before anyone thought about writing a book about him. That would have eliminated a number of distracting and irrelevant details.

Offline doctorpep

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2008, 09:04:57 PM »
So, I just got done reading Stephen Calt's biography on the man. It is available in paperback form on Amazon.com, for those who are interested. Overall, it's a book that's bitter towards James and white blues enthusiasts. I am scared and disgusted by what I read about James. Are Calt's research and conclusions legitimate? I am shocked by reading about how he was a paranoid, schizophrenic, woman-hating, homicidal, suicidal, delusional maniac. I wonder if Calt has a personal axe to grind and if James was just a bit eccentric, and not a murderer. I'm sure many of you have read this book, so I'm very curious about your opinions. If you haven't read the book, I'll tell you just a few examples of Skip's supposed insanity: Calt says James constantly carried a gun, killed men on levee camps and sawmill camps, fired randomly into a crowd that was dancing at his short-lived club and killed an unknown number of people, only got into Blues music to be a pimp, slept with and used hundreds of women, considered himself a religious Christian but believed heavily in witchcraft (perhaps this is common of black southerners during the time), was heavily paranoid and thought that everyone was always plotting his downfall, was an egotistical prick who thought that he was "one of the best men to ever walk the earth", mistreated his wives, never mentioned having any children though it's likely he had many, talked about how children should be beaten, advocated police brutality, did a tremendous job, in a totally calculated charade, of deceiving the Blues revival audience by pretending to be interested in his young white fans, inventing his own secret script, having almost no friends throughout his entire life, seeing scorpions in his stool as he lie on his deathbed, and, finally, as Calt theorizes, committing a federal offense (murder) in Louisiana and hiding it from Calt. I was shocked after reading this book. I'd love to hear everyone's take!
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

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Offline banjochris

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2008, 02:09:19 AM »
First, I'm sure many of the things you listed here were perfectly true of James, particularly having old-fashioned opinions about the role of women and child discipline and the Christian/witchcraft thing. Given that the milieu James was playing music in as a youth was extremely violent, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he had killed someone; look at the number of blues singers of the same era who did the same thing: Booker White, Leadbelly, Son House (although I don't think his was murder), etc. Also, considering that the "respectable" vocational options available to James would have been pretty much limited sharecropper/levee worker or preacher, pimp might not seem such a bad alternative. Jelly Roll Morton also was reported to have taken up this profession, and Son House and Charlie Patton both came pretty close to it, according to the Calt/Wardlow Patton bio.

Calt theorizes that James' criminal secret wasn't murder, but robbery, perhaps bank robbery. (Murder isn't a federal offense, but bank robbery is.) He also theorizes that James' florid vocabulary came from reading the dictionary while in prison, which I think is a bit of a stretch. At one time James obviously cared about his own education, and if the white banjoist Dock Boggs (who by his own admission once beat one of his own brothers-in-law "nearly to death" and nearly murdered at least one man) could by a book of etiquette to study I don't think it's far-fetched that James, in a similar environment, could have learned a lot of non-vernacular words.

I think James may have exaggerated some of his statements too; I believe he even cautions Calt at one point about taking things at face value. Calt was an impressionable young man (12-17 in the time he knew James, if I remember right) who clearly looked up to James; it would be understandable if James wanted to tell him exciting stories. I do like that Calt goes out of his way to deromanticize the world of blues, but I think the James book (and parts of the Patton bio as well) reveals a lot more about Calt than it does Skip James.

In the final analysis, though, there's the music. I don't think it's possible for a person to be, essentially, a sociopath, and produce music of genuine emotion and integrity. Even Calt, who is extremely (and unwarrantedly) dismissive of James' music of the 1960s, recognizes much of his pre-war work as genius; Calt also admits that James himself recognized the worth of his music. If James was an emotionally empty, hateful shell of a man, or had become that way over the years, then why get back into music at all? It would have become clear to him quite quickly that the money wasn't going to be great. Something made him create music, and later in life persist in music, and I don't think that that something jibes fully with Calt's portrait.

Chris

P.S. Mentioning Dock Boggs reminded me of this lengthy essay that accompanied the Folkways re-issue of Boggs' 78 rpm records. A lot of Boggs' and James' music seems to me to come from a similar emotional place, and there's a lot in this particular essay about a "rediscovered" musical career and artists' motivations that might be germane here. Here's the link:

http://www.folkways.si.edu/resources/pdf/SFW40108_notes.pdf

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2008, 08:16:55 AM »
Quote
I don't think it's possible for a person to be, essentially, a sociopath, and produce music of genuine emotion and integrity.


Take a look at those two proto nazis Wagner and his father in law Liszt. While some of the very best people who ever lived were also great artists, like Van Gogh, most were of average ethical standing and some were monsters, Caravaggio for example. Emile Nolde wanted to be the OFFICIAL artist of the nazi party. They labeled him a decadent and forbade him to paint anymore. I wish there was a direct correlative between great art and great souls but I haven't found it yet. On the other hand all things being equal at least artists enrich the world by their efforts, sometimes.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Johnm

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2008, 08:45:17 AM »
Hi all,
Since there was already a thread devoted to discussion of Skip James and Stephen Calt's book on him, I merged Dr. Pep's new thread into the old one.
all best,
Johnm

Offline doctorpep

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2008, 02:47:01 PM »
Thank you, Johnm. In regards to Skip's playing during the 1960s, although I'm not a musician, I think that Skip James' 1960's recordings are perfectly fine. Though he had lost a lot of his guitar playing prowess (mainly in the speed facet, right?), his songs were extended, his vocals sounded better, and he was able to cram more great lyrics/verses into his songs, as a result of their aforementioned extension in length. I don't understand why Calt says in his book that "Lorenzo Blues" was a piece of crap that was heavily edited by the record company. The song sounds great and compelling to me. The only evidence I can find of James' musical ability being greatly decreased is on one of Document's Skip James concert cd's (I'm not sure which city), on which Skip attempts "Special Rider Blues" for about a minute and is totally unable to play it, and sort of laughs it off. He talks to the audience in a warm and not condescending manner. Son House's guitar playing abilities were also greatly reduced during the 1960s, but his voice and ability to rattle off awesome lyrics were just as great as ever. So, I think Calt greatly exaggerates Skip's musical flaws during the 1960s. I am also not fond of his calling the Dallas String Band's "So Tired" a banal piece of music; I think it's a beautiful recording. After reading the Willie McTell biography, this book totally shook up my view of the men who created this music. The McTell book presented its main character as a warm, kind, bright man who knew how to work within a racist environment and never expressed hatred towards anyone. If I could name any Blues-related book that's the exact opposite of that one, it'd be Calt's work on James.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

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Offline banjochris

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2008, 02:53:56 PM »
Quote
I don't think it's possible for a person to be, essentially, a sociopath, and produce music of genuine emotion and integrity.


Take a look at those two proto nazis Wagner and his father in law Liszt. While some of the very best people who ever lived were also great artists, like Van Gogh, most were of average ethical standing and some were monsters, Caravaggio for example. Emile Nolde wanted to be the OFFICIAL artist of the nazi party. They labeled him a decadent and forbade him to paint anymore. I wish there was a direct correlative between great art and great souls but I haven't found it yet. On the other hand all things being equal at least artists enrich the world by their efforts, sometimes.

I didn't mean that one couldn't be evil and create genuine art, I meant that one couldn't be a sociopath, completely devoid of real human emotion, which at least to me is how Calt paints the latter-day James. And to doctorpep, I agree completely with your post above (plus I think that James breaks a string during that particular "Special Rider," which is why he ends abruptly and laughs).
Chris

Offline CF

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2008, 03:57:39 PM »
For some reason Skip's sixties output often receives lukewarm reviews. The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings rates several of his sixties albums low. I only own 'Devil Got My Woman' but think it a pretty outstanding record.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline banjochris

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2008, 04:48:21 PM »
For some reason Skip's sixties output often receives lukewarm reviews. The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings rates several of his sixties albums low. I only own 'Devil Got My Woman' but think it a pretty outstanding record.


I remember reading the Rolling Stone Record Guide years ago and it gave "Skip James Today" and "Devil" 5 stars. I think they're both great albums.

Offline Rivers

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2008, 05:54:48 PM »
I think you're just reacting to the book in the way that everybody else does. A lot of what Calt said in there has been shot down here and elsewhere. [edit:Almost...] ...nobody in a position to know what was going on at the time has a good word to say for the book. It's like it was written while in a prolonged bad mood after experiencing some life-invalidating slight or other, you know how these blues researchers are (right Bunker?  ;) ). The consistent attribute throughout is lack of human compassion for anybody whomsoever. As a result I for one don't believe a word of any of the commentary, outside of the known record.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 08:52:08 PM by Rivers »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2008, 07:17:15 PM »
Re. Cheapfeet's comments about the Penguin Guide. I concur. As much as I respect the work that these 5 or 6 (!) guys did in reviewing all these CDs, some of which I frankly wouldn't wish on my enemies, I think they get it very wrong with regards to Skip's postwar output. As I have posted elsewhere on this forum, it was indeed views like these, not limited to the Penguin Guide or Calt's book, that kept me away from Skip's postwar recordings for years, and I am of the opinion that these folks are just plain wrong and doing potential listeners a disservice. I say this despite having great admiration for the accomplishments of the authors of the Penguin Guide, which covers an astonishing amount of ground, with lots of information and a significant amount of great humour and wisdom.

While some aspects of Skip's guitar playing may be viewed as "diminished", for the most part I find his postwar recordings to be hugely valuable and very much comparable to his prewar recordings. The sound is wonderful, his singing is wonderful, his playing is frequently wonderful, the extended versions of songs wonderful, the different versions of songs wonderful - and who gives a shit if he can't play I'm So Glad as fast as he used to. I defy anyone to listen to All Night Long, as played on guitar (he also did it elsewhere on piano), from the Biograph CD and not come away thinking that's a masterful performance. There are a lot of postwar recordings to choose from, so there are inevitably going to be some dogs - he's out of tune, he flubs a tune, he breaks a string, he's not as committed in this performance, blah blah. Compared to Son House's 1960s recordings, Skip James is a freakin' Segovia (apologies to the Son House cult, but really). We should be so lucky to have actual prewar country blues artists like Skip James recording so much material at such an accomplished level after 30+ years of negligence.

I really resent such opinions of Skip's postwar music, since they kept me away from some truly wonderful versions of his songs for years.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 07:29:39 PM by andrew »

Offline banjochris

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2008, 07:31:21 PM »
I'd even argue that Skip's singing on many of his postwar recordings far outstrips the singing on the 78s.

Offline Stuart

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2008, 07:37:22 PM »
I completely agree with Andrew. I purchased the Vanguard LPs in the late 60's, and even long after the earlier sides were finally released in their entirety, the Vanguard LPs have stood the test of time for me--some of my favorite music.

Re: Calt's book, John Fahey, who was acquainted with Skip James as many of you are aware, wrote that it was an accurate portrayal of him. That was Fahey's opinion. So I guess Rivers should revise his post to read, "...almost nobody...," but only in the interest of accuracy.  ;)

I also agree with Chris' post. Some of the cuts are clearly superior, IMHO.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 07:40:38 PM by Stuart »

Offline Rivers

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2008, 08:49:22 PM »
Noted Stuart, and amended accordingly. Fahey was in on the rediscovery with Barth. Wasn't there some kind of switcheroo that occurred thereafter WRT management? Please don't make me read it again...   >:(

Agree with you Andrew, the postwar stuff is excellent, those guys were talking through their collective hats.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 08:53:47 PM by Rivers »

Cooljack

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Re: I'd Rather Be The Devil
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2008, 04:04:27 AM »
I read the book and found that i really enjoyed it, I found the blatant dislike towards the "folk revival" scene which was showed by Calt (who was part of it?) in the latter half of the book to be a bit irrelivent to me when I read it. Though I did find that alot of the theories which he put forward were quite interesting, I found it almost reasonable to make the assertion that James was involved in numerous incidents of violence considering the dangerous occupations (the death of Am?d? Ardoin kept coming to my mind when I read this book)

As for Skip James' recordings in the 1960's I find that their quality varies alot, I have two versions of hard times in mp3 and I have to say one sounds rather bland and he sounds a bit bored singing it, the other version sounds much better and seems as though he is putting alot more effort into it. Generally I really like the post war recordings, more so than Mississippi John Hurts' or Son Houses. Especially Crow Jane he plays that really well.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 04:07:14 AM by Cooljack »

 


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