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I just reach up and pull them out of the sky - call them sky songs - they just come to me - Bukka White

Author Topic: Newsweek article on Skip James, Bert Williams  (Read 1357 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Newsweek article on Skip James, Bert Williams
« on: February 13, 2008, 08:22:01 AM »
There's an article in Newsweek (yup, Newsweek) in which the author recalls visiting Skip James' home in Philadelphia in the 60s and deals with James, other blues singers, and Broadway actor Bert Williams.

Quite interesting actually. I think the points being made by the likes of Marybeth Hamilton, discussed in the article, are perhaps short-sighted, at least as they appear in summary forms I've seen lately. Don't have the book yet so I shouldn't condemn the theory. But the figure of the downtrodden "primitive" black blues singer has never dominated my own perspective on blues or my reason for loving it. And while it may have for some in the early days of white audiences' discovery of blues, I don't think it's been that way all through to the present either. I think the Newsweek author, David Gates, also disagrees.

Anyway, read for yourself here:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/109582

Offline dj

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Re: Newsweek article on Skip James, Bert Williams
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2008, 09:51:16 AM »
Quote
But the figure of the downtrodden "primitive" black blues singer has never dominated my own perspective on blues or my reason for loving it.

Heck, I bought into that back in high school in the 60s.

From the article: W. C. Fields called [Bert] Williams "the funniest man I ever saw and the saddest man I ever knew."  If I'd seen the quote unattributed and out of context, I'd have thought it referred to Fields.

 


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