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It has been suggested that this artist was Robert Johnson's mother, but this appears not to be the case - Blues and Gospel Records 1890-1943's entry for "Mrs. Johnson"

Author Topic: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy  (Read 7603 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 01:54:04 PM »
The description from Routledge:

"Big Bill Broonzy is one of the most prolific and well-known of all the blues performers, with a long career that stretches from the late 1920s through to his death in the late 1950s. Throughout his career, Broonzy transformed himself from recording light-hearted 'hokum' songs that appealed primarily to an inner-city African-American audience, to a pioneering figure in the growth of the Chicago blues scene from the mid-1930s through to the later 1940s, to a concert artist who toured Europe, wrote his own autobiography and became a major star performer in the last decade of his life.

Although Broonzy wrote his own autobiography and told his life story at various times in many different interviews, the 'details' of his life have remained shrouded in myth - much of it created by Broonzy himself. There has been a steady stream of re-issues of his over 260 blues recordings in the past dozen years, but the liner notes and reviews have generally recycled the same 'facts' about his life that have circulated since his death in 1958. He has been cited in every blues anthology as a seminal figure in American music, but there has been no comprehensive look at his life and work.

Now author Robert Reisman in I Feel So Good charts the entire story of Broonzy?s life, drawing on newly discovered documents, letters written by Broonzy and his family members, interviews with fellow musicians and his acquaintances and lovers. The result is a true, full picture of a complex man and master musician, who was able to adapt to the many changes in American musical culture that occurred during his life. From the small Delta town of Scott, Mississippi, where Bill?s parents worked as sharecroppers to the streets of Chicago and the symphony halls of Europe, the Bill Broonzy story is a uniquely American one that will appeal to all readers interested in the blues, African-American history and American popular culture."

(So-called "Related titles" on the Routledge site include Molecular Biology and Cultural Heritage  :P)

There seems to be a bit of a blues publishing boom going on. Good news for us.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 03:36:26 PM »
I'm really looking forward to this one.

Alex

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2007, 03:57:24 PM »
Well, sorry to dash your hopes so quickly, Alex, but this note just appeared on another list:

"Routledge has backed out of publishing this book, as they have for
blues books in general and, perhaps, trade books in general! I'm sure
the MS will find a new home soon."

Here's hoping it does. This sounds like it will be a must-have.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 03:59:02 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 11:44:23 AM »
I feel very sorry for Bob Riesman and the situation he finds himself in with Routledge. He's been researching this since 2001 and has travelled all over the world putting this book together. I met up with him a couple of times in London and he flabbergasted me with the mountain of new material he'd unearthed. Quite a bit of which he'd trustingly copied for me! Here's an email I was sent (27 June 2001) which I think speaks volumes about the man:

"I write in response to your recent post to the post-war blues listserv asking when someone would write a serious biography of Big Bill Broonzy. I am researching Broonzy for two projects: I'm working with a Chicago-based  documentary film producer to persuade the public TV station in Chicago to fund and air a documentary about Broonzy, and I'm writing the entry on him for the upcoming Encyclopedia of the Blues.

I am doing my research on the basis that Broonzy's accomplishments were significant, and that telling the story of his life and work may enrich our understanding of some of the most influential cultural trends and social issues of the 20th century. It may turn out that the best way to convey these points will be in an article or a book, and I'm proceeding with the idea that this might happen.

For the record, I'm a board member of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, which Broonzy helped to launch by performing at its opening night concert in December of 1957, along with Studs Terkel. I've spoken with Studs, whose professional life was intertwined with Broonzy's for about a decade, and expect to meet with him in the near future for a more extended conversation. I've had conversations (of varying depths and lengths) about Broonzy with Bob Koester, Jim O'Neal, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Paul Garon, and Sam Charters, and am reading and listening to as much as I can find about him.

I would be interested in any guidance you might provide on identifying resources and materials in the UK on Broonzy, and particularly on his travels and concerts in the UK and Europe in the 1950's. Given the scope of Broonzy's life as reflected in his words and music, as well as the variety of worlds in which he was an active participant, I might have waited until I had done more research before contacting you, but I wanted to respond to your posting. I'm already in your debt, as it was your posting about Ed Komara and Peter Redvers-Lee's Encyclopedia of the Blues that alerted me to that project. I hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Bob Riesman"

Offline Stuart

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2007, 10:10:56 PM »
I feel very sorry for Bob Riesman and the situation he finds himself in with Routledge. He's been researching this since 2001 and has travelled all over the world putting this book together.

This is certainly discouraging to say the least. However, if his e-mail to you is any indication, the result of his efforts will surely be a book of quality and significance. Naturally, the next move is to find another publisher, something that I hope happens sooner rather than later.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2007, 11:45:31 AM »
In 1999 a guy named Roger House wrote a Ph.D. Dissertation at Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences entitled "Keys to the Highway: William 'Big Bill' Broonzy and the Chicago Blues in the Era of the Great Migration". It basically drew upon published biographical information, song analysis, interviews and a variety of socio-political works in an attempt to get into the "Broonzy mindset" (not my expression). Robert was kind enough to loan me a copy but I found it hard going though I guess that as a dissertation it was fit for its purpose. I couldn't resist make a note of the concluding paragraph which read:

"In short Bill was a poet and singer of Whitmanian stature for African-American migrants. His songs described the world and mindset of a community in a time of historical change. He was the voice of the common man when many were in search of voices that could lend legitimacy to their outlook, as well as promote a sense of optimism for the future. Through his singing, his performances and his friendships Big Bill made the world better than how he found it and left behind an epic vision of his times for our study and enjoyment."
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 11:46:42 AM by Bunker Hill »

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2007, 04:40:43 PM »
Finally, A Big Bill Broonzy Biography!!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2007, 02:25:40 AM »
Just to run an update on Robert's quest for a new publisher he informs me that the University of Chicago Press's scholarly panel of manuscript reviewers have strongly recommended the work for publication by the Press subject to whatever recommendations made by the panel are taken on board. Hopefully that doesn't mean an entire re-write and set the book back further five years.  ;D

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2011, 02:41:20 AM »
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo6701925.html

After ten years of research and writing....... publication 15 May.

Remember Weenie Campbell earns a small commission on purchases from Amazon if ordered via the search boxes on left.


Offline Stumblin

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 01:28:27 AM »
I guess I'll wait for the paperback, my books budget is pretty much done for the next little while.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 02:20:49 AM »
I guess I'll wait for the paperback, my books budget is pretty much done for the next little while.
Tell me about it. There's also the Son House due that month and in August the John Hurt. In the words of Blind Alfred Reed "how can a poor man stand such times and live?"  :(

Offline harry

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2011, 06:25:29 AM »
thanks, Bunker Hill

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2011, 11:00:02 AM »
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo6701925.html

After ten years of research and writing....... publication 15 May.

Remember Weenie Campbell earns a small commission on purchases from Amazon if ordered via the search boxes on left.



Ordered it. Very much lookin' forward to this one.

Thanks, Bunker!

Alex

Offline daveharrisonemanband

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2011, 05:53:11 PM »
Very much looking forward to this one!