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Charlie had so many crazy pieces you couldn't count 'em - Charlie Patton, remembered by Son House

Author Topic: Ike Zimmerman  (Read 7908 times)

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Offline doctorpep

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Ike Zimmerman
« on: September 18, 2009, 02:53:39 AM »
I am very sorry to bother all of you with more Robert Johnson stuff when we should be learning more about the lives of "Funny Papa" Smith and Jim Thompkins, but I came across this website. Obviously, I am taking this with a grain of salt. There are many spelling errors in this article and the fact that there is a link to the actual infamous crossroads makes me think this is all b.s. I'm just passing this "information" on to everyone else. Please don't think I actually believe this and/or care much about ol' R.J. at this point. He is the Hulk Hogan of Blues music, I suppose. I just want to hear what those Blues fans who know even more than I (there are many of you on this site) make of this link. Thanks!

http://thedeltablues.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/ike-zinnerman-and-his-graveyard/
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 03:19:09 PM by Slack »
"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 uncle bud

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 06:24:52 AM »
Get a grip, Pep.

Offline dj

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 07:34:17 AM »
Quote
I am very sorry to bother all of you with more Robert Johnson stuff when we should be learning more about the lives of "Funny Papa" Smith and Jim Thompkins

We shouldn't be doing anything except talking about country blues.  RJ is country blues, and, as such, is of interest.  The thing that drives people to distraction is prefacing a link to a very mildly interesting article with  apologies for talking about RJ, whether those apologies are sincere or not (hard to tell here), and comments about what we should really be doing.

With that said, the article is mildly interesting in that it gives us a bit more information about a couple of country blues musicians - they apparently liked quiet, out of the way places to practice, and found graveyards to fit in that category.  Though if Zinnerman/Zimmerman and Johnson had favored going out in the woods and sitting by a creek to practice, I doubt anyone would be mentioning that today, even though it's as interesting a habit as practicing in graveyards.
     

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2009, 01:39:39 AM »
I really like Robert Johnson, have been listening to the recordings for over 40 years and still find them fresh.  Some music dates, but for me, his music does not.

What we're tired of is all the media hype about Crossroads, Clapton and suchlike crap.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline doctorpep

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2009, 03:44:03 AM »
There was nothing insincere about my posts. I do not understand why people on this forum come down hard on me for bringing up Johnson stuff, but others who are newer to the forum or are more forceful in their speech can get away with doing such things.

I was merely passing along an article that I thought was of minor interest. There were very few details in the article and there were also grammatical and spelling errors, so I said that I was taking everything with a grain of salt.

I agree that an article stating that Zinnerman liked to practice near a quiet creek would never have made it on to the web.

I'm frankly insulted that so many of you come down on me so hard for passing along an article like this, but you feel it's fine to go on for 5 pages talking about a photo supposedly featuring Johnson and Shines, when we all know those two men are not in the photo.

I guess that I have learned my lesson never to mention Robert Johnson again.

Many of you may know more about Country Blues than I do, but you certainly lack manners when dealing with young men and women who are interested in the music you were interested in when you were 26 years of age.

I never make any comments that are sarcastic or nasty or insincere. I like to participate on this forum because you guys are the only people out there in Internet land who know that Garth Brooks is not Country Blues.

My feelings have been hurt.
"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 Slack

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2009, 06:17:19 AM »
Pep, DJ has sent you an email that gives a further explanation, hopefully you'll understand.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2009, 08:55:48 AM »
I really like Robert Johnson, have been listening to the recordings for over 40 years and still find them fresh.

I do, too. But the same goes for almost everything else that I have been listening to for the last 40 years. I wish, however, that Columbia would have released and promoted LPs of some of our other favorites. For example, if they would have released, "Bo Carter: King of the Mississippi Smut Singers," I would have been all over it like a cheap suit.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2009, 03:57:27 PM »
I'm frankly insulted that so many of you come down on me so hard for passing along an article like this, but you feel it's fine to go on for 5 pages talking about a photo supposedly featuring Johnson and Shines, when we all know those two men are not in the photo.

I guess that I have learned my lesson never to mention Robert Johnson again.

I think some of this needs to be cleared up in the open, so here goes. As people have explained before on this forum, several times, Robert Johnson is not off limits for discussion. Whether it's his relationship with Ike Zinnerman, the musical influence of Lonnie Johnson/Son House/Scrapper Blackwell etc, how to play one of his songs, the discographical record, the scholarship done about him by Gayle Dean Wardlow or Elijah Wald or Mack McCormick, lyrical sources, even alleged photographs, etc etc -- though you might get some eye-rolling from some (but not all) people on that one. Pretty much anything in other words. The soul-selling satanic stuff and all the media mythology that goes along with it will get some of annoyed reaction certainly.

Quote
I never make any comments that are sarcastic or nasty or insincere. I like to participate on this forum because you guys are the only people out there in Internet land who know that Garth Brooks is not Country Blues.

My feelings have been hurt.

The reason I commented the way I did (and I presume others as well) is that your initial post certainly gave the impression of strong sarcasm and really seemed to me to be mocking forum participants. I'll quote it here:

Quote
I am very sorry to bother all of you with more Robert Johnson stuff when we should be learning more about the lives of "Funny Papa" Smith and Jim Thompkins, but I came across this website. Obviously, I am taking this with a grain of salt. There are many spelling errors in this article and the fact that there is a link to the actual infamous crossroads makes me think this is all b.s. I'm just passing this "information" on to everyone else. Please don't think I actually believe this and/or care much about ol' R.J. at this point. He is the Hulk Hogan of Blues music, I suppose. I just want to hear what those Blues fans who know even more than I (there are many of you on this site) make of this link. Thanks!

I was certainly reacting to the bits I've set in red that to me read like sarcasm directed straight at members here -- even moreso in light of very recent kerfuffles on the forum over Robert Johnson and the Devil business from a new member, which you might have missed.

So I'll have to take you at your word, even if this really does read like sarcasm to admittedly cynical me - you are not being sarcastic and this is therefore a doozy of an example of how words on the internet can be misconstrued and misunderstood. My apologies.



Offline Stuart

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2009, 04:41:24 PM »
Hi Pep:

One thing to remember when communicating in a written medium is that the mind fills in what the ear doesn't hear. As a result, it's easy for misunderstandings to occur owing to the fact that the degree of vagueness in the spoken language only gets amplified when one expresses oneself in writing. And there is not the opportunity to immediately remove the element of uncertainty or clarify things like when we're speaking with someone in person, face to face. While Uncle Bud interpreted your post as having a sarcastic and mocking tone, I didn't sense that at all, but interpreted it as being very defensive in tone, perhaps as a preemptive attempt to deflect anticipated negative reactions, something that you may have sensed was necessary owing to some negative responses to recent posts about RJ.

In any event, I think clear, simple and direct is the way to go--Straight talk. Don't overthink things or try to second guess how others may respond. When in doubt, write your posts on a word processor such as Word, let them cool off, and then go back and re-read them. If something doesn't sound quite right, revise it, and then post it. Some of us do it all the time.

Offline blueshome

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2009, 03:55:27 AM »
Pep,
It didn't read as sarcastic to me, just as Stuart says, a little defensive. I don't think you deserved that bomb dropped on you.
Keep posting we don't know everything here and I trust we can be tolerant within our own little world of country blues, there are few enough of us.

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 07:51:38 AM »
I was intrigued back in '08 by the lack of hoopla surrounding the Ike Zimmerman article in Living Blues. Perhaps the mythology of Robert Johnson had no longer captured the public's imagination -- or so I thought. For it was less than a year later that something akin to a media firestorm erupted over the discovery of a supposedly new Robert Johnson photo.

Why excitement over the one, but not the other? After all, the Living Blues article included two never-berfore-seen photos of Ike Zimmerman, a photo of the house where Johnson lived with the Zimmermans, and first-hand accounts from the Zimmerman family about how Johnson learned guitar from Ike. Exciting stuff, it would seem.

And yet the article did not receive a fraction of the notice that the supposed Johnson photo did. Part of this, of course, is that the Johnson photo and its accompanying story appeared in Vanity Fair, a publication with a wider audience and more media pull. But this just begs the question: why did THAT article get the attention of Vanity Fair?

I think it has something to do with the fact that the story of the supposed Johnson photo only served to deepen the Johnson "mystery," which is what so many people are actually interested in. The Zimmerman article, on the other hand, actually resolved some of the mystery -- with eye-witness testimony that puts a dagger through the whole crossroads mythology. (Zimmerman was a family man who turned to the church. Johnson was polite and a determined student.)

I have often enjoyed reading the Johnson saga, both the mythmaking and the truth-telling. In some ways, the friction between the two has made my appreciation of his music a little richer.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2009, 07:53:33 AM by jpeters609 »
Jeff

Offline jed

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2009, 09:31:17 AM »
In the event you need another hole in the head, Pep, my opinion falls between Blueshome's and Stuart's on this one.  I didn't read, but can absolutely see, potential sarcasm, and, while I think the Hulk Hogan ref discounts the value of RJ's contributions, I like the reference itself (and I understand that - here we go with the gen gap - your "generation's" media experience may make it seem appropriate).  Unca Bud "recent kerfluffle" ref is right on target.  Might I venture here that Weenies maintain a some slight pride (lacking a better word) in the fact that the site began as an email listserv and has attained the heights of a destination regularly visited by literally dozens the world over. 

I can't agree more with Stuart's great point about pre-post reviewing.  Believe me, you don't want to see the reams of stuff I throw away before paring things down to the clearest and fewest possible words!  A balance exists between expressing gut and knee-jerk reactions.  And, as I've said before, 'nuff said...


Regarding the subject at hand:  It's possible that no Vanity Fair staffer reads Living Blues, but that one of them has bought a guitar from the "third photo" owner...

Cheers,
Jed

ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline dj

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2009, 02:42:34 PM »
Quote
Ike Zimmerman article in Living Blues.

When did that appear?  I let my subscription to Living Blues lapse, but I'd like to look up that one.

Offline jrn

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 10:40:25 AM »
Willie Smith on the cover. The Ike Zimmerman story was pretty interesting.
Quitman, Mississippi

Online Johnm

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Re: Ike Zimmerman
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2009, 02:10:09 PM »
Hi all,
I've not read the article and do not have access to it.  I suspect that the things I would be most interested in knowing are unlikely to have been covered in the article in any event.  It would be fascinating to know how Ike Zinnerman's sound and influence manifested in Robert Johnson's sound.  It's not too difficult to figure out which licks and individual songs in Robert Johnson's repertoire drew upon the influences of Son House, Scrapper Blackwell and Lonnie Johnson.  But because Ike Zinnerman was not recorded (was he?), we have no way of knowing how much, if any, of Robert Johnson's playing not obviously influenced by the previously mentioned players, was, in fact, influenced by Ike's approach to the guitar and teaching.  I'm curious--does the article in question cite other musicians or fans of Ike Zinnerman describing his playing style or sound?  Does it mention if he played slide or not?
All best,
Johnm     

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