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Author Topic: Blind Willie Johnson Book  (Read 2743 times)

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Offline Stuart

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Blind Willie Johnson Book
« on: March 06, 2007, 09:10:17 AM »
Neil Harpe put this up over at the Woodshed:

http://www.lulu.com/content/704585

It looks like its out of the UK--Any info on this one, Bunker Hill?


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 10:03:41 AM »
As in the dark as you Stuart. :(

There was talk a while back of somebody researching a BWJ book that was to be self-published effort. I guess this is it. Don't know of Douglas Blakey and am rather surprised that the book hasn't come from Randy Harper who had spent years researching the life and times of BWJ. Maybe he's made his research available to Mr. Blakey.

Don't know what this Woodshed discussion board is (ain't got time to partake in any more) but maybe someone there knows more.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 02:11:38 PM »
Yes, indeed, self-published and a few pages previewable at the site Stuart cites.

Looks like an editor would have been beneficial.   :o

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 03:44:18 PM »
Looks like an editor would have been beneficial.   :o

Boy, Unkie Bud, your right. Not good at all.

Alex

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2007, 06:26:07 PM »
I finally had a chance to look through the preview material. Uncle Bud hit the nail on the head. It looks like a text that one mines for information while trying one's best to look past its stylistic aspects.

prill

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2007, 04:02:18 PM »
I've read the whole book and though it is written idiosyncratically it is in a style that you soon get used to.  Anyway, it is worth reading for the lyrics alone.  Perhaps they are nothing new to the blues afficionados who visit this site but they surely were to me when I saw them.  I've been listening to BWJ since the late 60s when I heard him on the Sam Charters Rural Blues box set and I haven't known what he has been singing about most of the time since then (let's face it, sometimes even the song titles confuse rather than help).  It's good to hear him afresh now knowing what most of the words are and what they are referring to.  It is also interesting to read about his life and times gathered together in one place.  Maybe not all of it is accurate - I don't know.  And the author does put in a few surmises of the type "Willie buttoned up his coat and walked down the stairs into Werlein's guitar store."  But, taking it on its own terms (it's not intended as academic research; it doesn't have the imprimatur of a respected university press; it is self-published for heaven's sake) it's definitely worth a read rather than some sniffy comment made on the basis of glancing over the first few pages.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2007, 04:52:17 PM »
Prill:

Thanks for the comments. I'm glad to hear that you found it a worthwhile read. Don't let our comments, ones that were based on the preview pages, lead you to think that we're closed-minded re: the potential overall contribution of the book--they were only observations. Just one question: Did you purchase a printed and bound copy or the download? If the former, what's the format, i.e.  page size, binding, etc.?


Offline uncle bud

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 07:41:23 PM »
Welcome to Weenie Campbell, Prill. I'll just second what Stuart said. And I agree with you, we can all benefit from lyric transcriptions and analysis. I'd be surprised if even the most hardcore lyric nuts here would not get something from the complete transcriptions of Willie Johnson's songs.

If I sounded sniffy, I apologize. But I still think anyone who publishes a book, self-published or not, needs to have a professional copy editor look it over. It helps all the hard work that goes into any project like this be seen in the best light possible. Obviously budget considerations often make this difficult, but I still think it's worth it. My comment really had nothing to do with the general content of the book, since I haven't read it.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2007, 12:09:42 AM »
FWIW Michael Corcoran wrote a 3,000 word feature in the Austin American Statesman (Sunday, Sept 28, 2003) entitled "The Soul of Blind Willie Johnson: Retracing The Life Of The Texas Music Icon". I suspect it was written with view to drumming up interest in the Martin Scorsese PBS programme on Johnson but it's a fair summation of what's known about BWJ's life, times and recordings. Far too long to post here but may be archived on the Statesman's website.


« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 12:11:17 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2007, 11:29:22 AM »
FWIW Michael Corcoran wrote a 3,000 word feature in the Austin American Statesman (Sunday, Sept 28, 2003) entitled "The Soul of Blind Willie Johnson: Retracing The Life Of The Texas Music Icon". I suspect it was written with view to drumming up interest in the Martin Scorsese PBS programme on Johnson but it's a fair summation of what's known about BWJ's life, times and recordings. Far too long to post here but may be archived on the Statesman's website.

Thanks so much for the info, Bunker Hill. I checked and the article is available on-line:

http://www.austin360.com/music/content/music/blindwilliejohnson_092803.html

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blind Willie Johnson Book
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2007, 11:47:02 AM »
Well there you go, I could've saved myself the expense had I not been so impatient to read it in the first place. These days I'm somewhat more cautious with my expenditure... ::)

 


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