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Ain't but one way to play the blues and that's play the blues. You can't mix Lionel Hampton in with the blues. You can't mix the Cream in with the blues. You can't mix Joe and the Fish in with the blues. You can't mix the Rolling Stones in with the blues. Now if you want to play something by the Rolling Stones, you go rehearse their stuff and go play it by them. But you won't be playin no blues - Albert King

Author Topic: Blues Biographies In Progress?  (Read 5328 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Blues Biographies In Progress?
« on: February 15, 2009, 05:51:00 AM »
Blues biographies in progress but yet to be published. Anybody add to this?

Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) ? William Donoghue 1998
Robert Lockwood - William Donoghue 1999
Big Bill Broonzy ? Robert Riesman 2000
Lonnie Johnson ? Dean Alger 2004
Mississippi John Hurt ? Phil Ratcliffe 2005
Son House ? Dan Beaumont 2006
Lightnin? Hopkins - Tim O?Brien 2006

BBB was to have been published by Routledge but they pulled out at due to change of publishing policy and is being resubmitted to new publisher. The LJ I know has stalled due to other commitments. The LH seems to be based upon an MA thesis and that's about all I can discover. I?ve got 500 sheets of SBW manuscript sitting on a shelf which was sent to me a decade ago to comment upon. This I duly did and that was the last I heard. Don?t know if the Lockwood even got as far as a draft. The SH is really the only one which might come to fruition before too long.

It's all rather depressing really, unless Delta Dan can bring us some cheery publication news concerning his MJH!

[edited to alter "5000" sheets to 500 in response to a pm which asked "do you really mean five THOUSAND"]  ::)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 02:42:42 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline Chris A

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 06:11:08 AM »
On the other hand, think of all the substandard biographies that have been published. The bad news you bring up could?in some cases?conceivably be a blessing. :)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 08:51:29 AM »
The Blind Lemon Jefferson (I asked/posted about that one awhile ago)
Now how could I forget that? Perhaps because Paul Swinton has been working on it for the better part of several decades I'd mentally written it off!  :(

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 08:54:19 AM »
On the other hand, think of all the substandard biographies that have been published. The bad news you bring up could?in some cases?conceivably be a blessing. :)
Hee, hee. I know that Dean Alger has consulted you vis a vis Lonnie J so that's a plus point for that one.

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 09:29:05 AM »
I really should write a letter to Mr. Guralnick about the whereabouts of Johnny Shines' autobiography. If I get a response, I'll let you guys know all about it=)
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 09:42:09 AM »
I really should write a letter to Mr. Guralnick about the whereabouts of Johnny Shines' autobiography. If I get a response, I'll let you guys know all about it=)
I did when you raised this in August last year and he's never even considered the proposition of writing a biography. Here's part of his response to me:

A MOST worthy project!
I would definitely get in touch with Debbie Bond (Ala. Blues Society) --
she'd be a great connection. Johnny's daughter, Caroline, is still in
Holt, I believe. And there were various local (Alabama) documentaries that
might be helpful -- maybe two (Debbie would know; she and Mike McCracken
were very good friends of John's.)
Johnny was The Greatest!
All best,
Peter

Offline dj

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 12:42:51 PM »
Quote
On the other hand, think of all the substandard biographies that have been published.

The one thing that worries me is all the research that may disappear with the demise of the biographer.  I live in terror that one of these guys will die (or someone else, like Mack McCormick or Pen Bogert) and someone will come into their house, toss all those old papers, and walk out, thinking "job well done".

I know it's not a biography, but the book I'd most like to see is Bengt Olsson's on Memphis. 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 12:22:24 AM »
The one thing that worries me is all the research that may disappear with the demise of the biographer.  I live in terror that one of these guys will die (or someone else, like Mack McCormick or Pen Bogert) and someone will come into their house, toss all those old papers, and walk out, thinking "job well done".
I know it's not a biography, but the book I'd most like to see is Bengt Olsson's on Memphis. 
When I asked Pen about his "Hidden History: The Story of Blues in Louisville" in 2006 he told me he was finishing one on the slave trade in Kentucky and would get back to the other after. As to Bengt, at his death his revised book on Memphis Blues was finished and with publisher's Taylor & Francis. I think it had been given a provisional ISBN! Didn't you alert us to this DJ?

Offline dj

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 03:27:17 AM »
Quote
Didn't you alert us to this DJ?

Yes, I did.  But these are very bad days for the publishing industry, so I'm not holding my breath until it comes out. 

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 12:21:25 PM »
Thank you very much for the Alabama Blues Society information.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline jharris

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 02:36:18 PM »
Quote
The SH is really the only one which might come to fruition before too long.

Yes there is now a signed contract for this one. No idea when this will be actually released although there is very interesting newly discovered details that need to be added. I'm friends with the author but won't divulge more. There are some suggestions from the publisher regarding some additional info that could be added but this shouldn't take long from what I can surmise. I will say that the draft I've read is quite good and very well written.

-Jeff H.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2009, 02:24:41 AM »
The Blind Lemon Jefferson (I asked/posted about that one awhile ago)
Now how could I forget that? Perhaps because Paul Swinton has been working on it for the better part of several decades I'd mentally written it off!  :(
I've only just learnt that in early December Paul suffered a minor heart attack but apparently is well on the road to recovery, and I guess BLJ will be the least of his concerns...

Offline jostber

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2009, 01:59:31 PM »

Offline jharris

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2009, 08:09:30 AM »
Dan tells me the book will be out in 2010. Dan was on my show talking about Son House and his book which you can listen to here: http://www.baddogblues.org/feeds/brb_5.31.mp3

Should be a great event on Sunday fro any of you near Rochester, NY.

-Jeff H.

That Son House book seems to be up and coming:

http://sundayblues.org/archives/390
http://sundayblues.org/archives/158

And the event at Sunday:

http://sonhouse.sundayblues.org/pressrelease.htm




Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2009, 09:56:56 AM »
That Son House book seems to be up and coming:
This is heartening news and with a bit of luck Bob Riesman's forthcoming biography "I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy" should be published around then. In the meantime check out a recent book Reisman has co-edited http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Folk-Images-Sixties-Music/dp/1550228730/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243887319&sr=8-3

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2009, 10:03:01 AM »
I don't know what's happened to the Lightnin' biography I mentioned but if you go to this interview with Alan Govenar http://musictomes.blogspot.com/2008/12/interview-with-alan-govenar.html and scroll nearly to the end you'll see that he's about to publish one. I'm reliably informed that AG's been working on it for 25+ years and given the depth and breath of his previous Texas books it should be a good 'un!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2011, 11:53:15 AM »
Back in February 2009 I wrote
Quote
Blues biographies in progress but yet to be published.

Big Bill Broonzy ? Robert Riesman 2000
Lonnie Johnson ? Dean Alger 2004
Mississippi John Hurt ? Phil Ratcliffe 2005
Son House ? Dan Beaumont 2006
The Broonzy, House and Hurt are all but upon us. It would be nice to think that the Lonnie J wasn't too far behind.  :)

Offline jostber

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2011, 10:29:08 AM »
Back in February 2009 I wrote
Quote
Blues biographies in progress but yet to be published.

Big Bill Broonzy ? Robert Riesman 2000
Lonnie Johnson ? Dean Alger 2004
Mississippi John Hurt ? Phil Ratcliffe 2005
Son House ? Dan Beaumont 2006
The Broonzy, House and Hurt are all but upon us. It would be nice to think that the Lonnie J wasn't too far behind.  :)

All great news, will be much good reading this summer. More on the Lonnie Johnson book:

http://www.deanalger.com/Pages/Music.htm
http://sundayblues.org/archives/952




Offline wreid75

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2014, 07:57:49 AM »
anyone know of any new blues biographies that are in progress?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2014, 08:31:43 AM »
The Lonnie J was published in US beginning of month. In UK next week. (Dean Alger)
Two Gary Davis biogs due towards end of the year. (Ian Zack/Bill Ellis)
Pioneers of the Blues due July to coincide with Chicago Blues Fest (Steve Cushing)
Memphis Minnie - completely revised and updated due May/June (Paul & Beth Garon)
Big Mama Thornton biography by Michael Sp?rke due next month.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2014, 12:15:02 PM »
Anyone know when the new Charley Patton Book is coming out?

Offline dj

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2014, 12:20:06 PM »
Quote
Pioneers of the Blues Revival

Eyewitness accounts of the blues' evolution into a global music phenomenon

Steve Cushing, the award-winning host of the nationally syndicated public radio staple Blues before Sunrise, has spent over thirty years observing and participating in the Chicago blues scene. In Pioneers of the Blues Revival, he interviews many of the prominent white researchers and enthusiasts whose advocacy spearheaded the blues' crossover into the mainstream starting in the 1960s.

Opinionated and territorial, the American, British, and French interviewees provide fascinating first-hand accounts of the era and movement. Experts including Paul Oliver, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Sam Charters, Ray Flerlage, Richard K. Spottswood, and Pete Whelan chronicle in their own words their obsessive early efforts at cataloging blues recordings and retrace lifetimes spent loving, finding, collecting, reissuing, and producing records. They and nearly a dozen others recount relationships with blues musicians, including the discoveries of prewar bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, and Bukka White, and the reintroduction of these musicians and many others to new generations of listeners. The accounts describe fieldwork in the South, renew lively debates, and tell of rehearsals in Muddy Waters's basement and randomly finding Lightning Hopkins's guitar in a pawn shop.

Blues scholar Barry Lee Pearson provides a critical and historical framework for the interviews in an introduction.

Pioneers of the Blues Revival is one I hadn't heard of.  It sounds interesting.  The University of Illinois website lists the hardcover for $75 - I sure hope it comes out in paperback!

Thanks for the list, Bunker Hill.  I'm glad you keep track of this stuff.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Blues Biographies In Progress?
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2014, 10:41:33 PM »
Anyone know when the new Charley Patton Book is coming out?
It was August last year that Yuval Taylor, Senior Editor of Chicago Review Press, informed the PWB that he was publishing a biography of Fahey and canvassed opinions on the original blues paperback.  Nothing listed on their website.

 


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