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For decades, practically every big circus on the road had a black band and minstrel company attached to its sideshow, performing on the streets and inside the sideshow tent before people of all races, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the southern reaches of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. During the 1910s, these companies constituted a significant pathway for the dissemination of ragtime, blues, and jazz." - Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged But Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs", And The Dark Pathway To Blues And Jazz

Author Topic: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy  (Read 7605 times)

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Offline dj

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2011, 10:39:38 AM »
Quote
Let's lament the sad state of the modern world.

Done!  Thanks, uncle bud.     ;D

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2011, 01:38:35 AM »
Ron Weinstock's blog contains this enthusiastic appraisal

http://inabluemood.blogspot.com/2011/05/bill-bill-broonzy-celebrated-in-two_02.html

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2011, 02:42:22 PM »
Howdy:

I have just finished reading this book-twice. Although I enjoyed it, I was left feeling...unfulfilled. To me there was too little on this early career, too much on his later and too many digressions. Maybe not enough about the music. But these impressions are -vague, there's nothing I can put my finger on.

I'm glad I bought the book, but......

Anyone else have any impressions on this one?

Alex
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:43:54 PM by GhostRider »

Offline dj

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2011, 06:40:21 AM »
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To me there was too little on this early career...

I know what you mean.  Every good blues biography I've read leaves me feeling the same way.  But to be fair, we just know so much more about Bill Broonzy's, Josh White's, Lightnin' Hopkins', etc. post-rediscovery careers than we do about their lives before they interacted extensively with the white world.  But with that inevitable fact aside, I loved the book.  I was impressed at Riesman's discovery of the details of Broonzy's family, and at his sensitive handling of the inaccuracies and contradictions in Broonzy's own statements about his life.  I also think that his handling of Lester Melrose's financial dealings with Broonzy is about as sensitive and fair to both sides as we're ever likely to see.  If the book had included an extra hundred pages of discography and bibliography, it would have been just about perfect.  Or at least as perfect as it's possible for a blues biography to be when the research is started 45 years after the subject's death.      
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 10:49:11 AM by dj »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2011, 09:12:55 AM »
If the book had included an extra hundred pages of discography and bibliography, it would have been just about as perfect. 
I'm with you on that but I guess whatever the economics of publishing are these days they probably don't deem them "cost effective".

The book's extensive notes cite Chris Smith's discography several times but as that's now 15 years old and unavailable there's little point searching that out. See Weenie topic of five years ago http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=2327.0

Offline Stuart

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Re: Big Bill Broonzy Book
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2011, 09:45:30 AM »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Offline jostber

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I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2011, 03:47:17 AM »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2012, 09:46:45 PM »
Thought I'd give this a bump in light of my having been informed by Bob that a paperback will be published "in the Fall".

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2012, 02:19:29 PM »
I read this a few months ago (last year now, I guess, time flies).  I thought it was very interesting -- Big Bill was an interesting, and an inspiring man.  There were a few things I wanted to know more about -- I think mainly about his relationships, but its definitely worth reading.
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2012, 09:19:05 PM »
Thought I'd give this a bump in light of my having been informed by Bob that a paperback will be published "in the Fall".
The University of Chicago Press has confirmed that it will publish a paperback edition this Fall.

Offline jharris

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2012, 01:21:22 PM »
Thought I'd reactivate the thread as I just received the following note from Bob Riesman:

I'm pleased to report that the University of Chicago Press will be publishing a paperback edition of I Feel So Good this fall, and I'm starting to work on the marketing and promotion for that. And today the Arkansas Times ran a feature story on Big Bill, which is the first time an Arkansas publication has covered him and the book:

http://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/big-bill-broonzys-complicated-history/Content?oid=2177373

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2012, 07:56:38 PM »
I read this book this summer along with that other Broonzy Bio Blue Smoke. Both had their strengths, the former certainly cleared the vale of years of accumulated misinformation and is to be commended for finally nailing down the essential biographical outline of Broonzy's life. One can only imagine and admire all the research that went into that undertaking! The latter for providing a more complete social, cultural , historical picture though in truth much of that could have functioned as a stand alone work without Broonzy's inclusion. Blue Smoke also felt to be the better piece of writing. This of course is subjective and has everything to do with how language sounds and the ear of the writer. I Feel So Good is journalistic, straight ahead and perfectly functional, but I found myself wishing for a more "musical" sounding voice if you will.
 Broonzy has special significance for me and while I am grateful to both of these authors for their efforts, I couldn't help wishing that a serious professional biographer of stature, had undertaken the project. But since Doris Kearns Goodwin seems to want to write about other less interesting people, I'm grateful for both of these books as well as for "Big Bill's Blues" Big Bill & Yannick Bruynoghe's book.
Both were better than The Recent Mississippi John Hurt Bio which I found almost unreadable I'm sad to say despite its good research and good intentions. Read it for the info.
I'd have to throw in my vote for Society Blues, the Josh White bio by Elijah Wald as being the best written most compelling of all the blues bios I've read so far.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2012, 09:34:22 PM »
And today the Arkansas Times ran a feature story on Big Bill, which is the first time an Arkansas publication has covered him and the book
Four pages, wow, that makes a change.  ;)

Nice to see a photo of Bill's grandnieces taken by the author.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: I Feel So Good - The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2012, 09:47:05 PM »
The Recent Mississippi John Hurt Bio which I found almost unreadable I'm sad to say despite its good research and good intentions. Read it for the info.
"Veteran" blues reviewer Ron Wienstock made a similar observation, he concluded:

One shortcoming of this book is that while he discusses Hurt's performances and some of the reactions of folks like Patrick Sky and Jerry Ricks, he does very little in bringing the music to life, discussing the performances except for example in an overview of the Library of Congress recordings, noting perhaps he showed a little rust 35 years after recording for Okeh.

Despite this significant flaw, Mississippi John Hurt: His LIfe, His Times, His Blues will be the essential reference on Mississippi John Hurt's life. I do not regret purchasing this. It contains a loving introduction by his granddaughter, Mary Frances Hurt Wright, Hurt's granddaughter and a full listing of Hurt's recordings.

 


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