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Lord I'm standing at the cross road, babe - I believe I'm sinking down - Robert Johnson, Cross Road Blues

Author Topic: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson  (Read 14594 times)

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Offline misterjones

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2011, 10:20:57 AM »
I don't think you can match-up when two bluesmen recorded with whether one influenced the other.  Unlike today, such influence in the 1920s and 1930s was likely via "live" performance or mentoring.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 10:22:16 AM by misterjones »

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2011, 11:12:14 AM »
On the other hand, misterjones, if one musician's initial recordings came chronologically later than another musician's, the later musician may have been influenced by the earlier's recordings, but the earlier's recordings may not have been influenced by the later's recordings.  It is impossible to gauge personal contacts among musicians except in so far as they were documented either via recordings or anecdotally, but there is plenty of evidence that as soon as musicians started putting out records, other musicians started copying their work.  There are plenty of recordings from the '20s of people trying to copy Lonnie Johnson and Lemon, in particular.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline misterjones

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2011, 01:07:51 PM »
Certainly, and Robert Johnson is an example of someone influenced by records.  It became an increasingly used method for the curious bluesman-to-be to hear what others were doing.  I just meant that one cannot assume that one who recorded first could not have been influenced by one who recorded later.  And from what I've read, it seems like the influences in the 1920s and 1930s were, for the most part, gathered by in-person contact rather than through records.

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2011, 02:44:17 PM »
Hi all,
Blind Boy Fuller was greatly influenced by Lemon.  The opening lick to his intro to "Untrue Blues" comes right out of "Rabbit's Foot Blues", though Fuller swung his eighth notes and Lemon played straight eighths.  Ditto "Meat Shakin' Woman", which derives its melody from "Bad Luck Blues". I'm sure there is more of Lemon's music in Fuller's but these two instances came to mind first. Fuller was kind of a magpie, and utilized ideas and material from Rev. Davis, Josh White, Blind Blake and Buddy Moss in addition to Lemon, while always re-casting ideas in his own style.  
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 02:46:09 PM by Johnm »

Offline Rivers

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2011, 03:49:14 PM »
Certainly, and Robert Johnson is an example of someone influenced by records.  It became an increasingly used method for the curious bluesman-to-be to hear what others were doing.  I just meant that one cannot assume that one who recorded first could not have been influenced by one who recorded later.  And from what I've read, it seems like the influences in the 1920s and 1930s were, for the most part, gathered by in-person contact rather than through records.

Well of course, and I'm sorry if I implied that, but reading back through I don't think I did, that was entirely your perception. One thing I can state with absolute certainty, JR didn't influence Lemon all that much.  :P
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 03:50:16 PM by Rivers »

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2011, 04:03:42 PM »
Oh yeah, and I forgot, Harvey, I think you're right about Peg Leg Howell being influenced by Lemon, specifically on "Doin' Wrong", which shows some similarity to "Got The Blues".
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2011, 04:12:35 PM »
I think it's worth reiterating that as soon as records started being made and sold, they started influencing musicians. And a lot of those records were likely by classic blues and vaudeville singers mostly forgotten or at least ignored today even by aficionados.

Offline Rivers

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2011, 04:57:53 PM »
Alan Lomax provides some illumination on the channel for said BLJ (and other) influences: juke boxes.

I remember being very surprised to read, in The Land Where Blues Began (I think it was), of how prevalent and popular juke boxes became at a much earlier stage than I had previously assumed. I'll see if I can find the reference.

Which makes perfect sense. How else could these early players, living on the outskirts of poverty, have heard this material unless it was from shellac disks, shipped out of Illinois, Wisconsin and NYC, being spun-up at local gathering places?

I'm hoping Bunker Hill will chime in here, I'm sure he has just the right clipping in his massive archives, and the memory to be able to find it.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 05:06:12 PM by Rivers »

Offline misterjones

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2011, 06:15:50 PM »
Certainly, and Robert Johnson is an example of someone influenced by records.  It became an increasingly used method for the curious bluesman-to-be to hear what others were doing.  I just meant that one cannot assume that one who recorded first could not have been influenced by one who recorded later.  And from what I've read, it seems like the influences in the 1920s and 1930s were, for the most part, gathered by in-person contact rather than through records.

Well of course, and I'm sorry if I implied that, but reading back through I don't think I did, that was entirely your perception. One thing I can state with absolute certainty, JR didn't influence Lemon all that much.  :P

I'm a bit confused, since I was responding to Johnm's post.  In any event, if by "JR" you mean Robert Johnson, I cannot make a case for the contrary.  I was just noting that I had read awhile back that that was an initial impression of some many years ago when Johnson was originally being re-discovered.  I have not read anything recently that draws such a conclusion.





« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 06:24:24 PM by misterjones »

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2011, 09:30:43 PM »
Alan Lomax provides some illumination on the channel for said BLJ (and other) influences: juke boxes.

I remember being very surprised to read, in The Land Where Blues Began (I think it was), of how prevalent and popular juke boxes became at a much earlier stage than I had previously assumed. I'll see if I can find the reference.

Which makes perfect sense. How else could these early players, living on the outskirts of poverty, have heard this material unless it was from shellac disks, shipped out of Illinois, Wisconsin and NYC, being spun-up at local gathering places?

I'm hoping Bunker Hill will chime in here, I'm sure he has just the right clipping in his massive archives, and the memory to be able to find it.
I think you refer to the The Dipsie Doodle juke joint David Edwards (Honeyboy as he is known today) took Lomax too in 1942. Taking out his notebook Lomax immediately

..."approached the jukebox, research bound, for we planned not only to record more fragments of folk song that still remained in this urbanised country, but also to study that musical shrine of the generation, the mechanical phonograph".

At that shrine he found, amongst others, Tampa Red's "Don?t You Lie To Me", Big Bill's "When I?ve Been Drinking", Frank Edward's "Terra Plane Blues? and a record by a black vocal group entitled "Biscuit Baking Mama" and observed that "most of the singers no longer lived down home but they knew how to contrive a song that appealed to the home folks".   

Offline Johnm

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2011, 06:59:00 AM »
Hi all,
The Down Home Boys recording of "Mama, You Don't Know How", from 1927, has Long Cleve Reed, Papa Harvey Hull and Sunny Wilson re-working Lemon's "Black Snake Moan".
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2011, 08:16:14 AM »
Good one. And as you have pointed out previously in the Mandolin Blues thread, Furry Lewis's Sweet Papa Moan with Charles Jackson on mandolin is based melodically on Black Snake Moan.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 08:26:28 AM by uncle bud »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2011, 12:42:40 PM »
Mance Lipscomb does a fairly straight-up cover of Easy Rider Blues, with some alternate lyrics. Can be heard on the Captain, Captain disc.

Offline misterjones

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2011, 08:14:15 PM »
In part IV of their article on the history of Paramount Records (78 Quarterly No.6), Wardlow & Calt remind us how Jefferson caused a slew of obscure blues artists to be recorded, who probably would not have been recorded otherwise.  Paramount and others, not seeing much further than the fact that Jefferson sounded strange and different to them, recorded the strange and different hoping to stumble across another Jefferson.  It didn't work, for the most part, but it gave collectors something to smile about and be thankful for many years later.

As I noted previously, pdf reprints of 78 Quarterly (Nos.1-6) can be found fairly easily on the internet.

Offline jostber

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Re: The Influence of Blind Lemon Jefferson
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2011, 06:11:36 AM »
In part IV of their article on the history of Paramount Records (78 Quarterly No.6), Wardlow & Calt remind us how Jefferson caused a slew of obscure blues artists to be recorded, who probably would not have been recorded otherwise.  Paramount and others, not seeing much further than the fact that Jefferson sounded strange and different to them, recorded the strange and different hoping to stumble across another Jefferson.  It didn't work, for the most part, but it gave collectors something to smile about and be thankful for many years later.

As I noted previously, pdf reprints of 78 Quarterly (Nos.1-6) can be found fairly easily on the internet.

Then thanks a lot to Blind Lemon for making strange and different music! :)

« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 07:52:26 AM by jostber »

 


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