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I heard no colour line in the music... to bring recognition to the Negro's supremacy in jazz was the most effective and constructive form of social protest I could think of - John Hammond Sr., in his 1977 memoir John Hammond on Record

Author Topic: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project  (Read 1851 times)

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Offline harry

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2018, 08:33:30 AM »
The Wardlow Conforth book cover.

Offline eric

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2018, 04:57:06 PM »
Replying to John,

I like history. Reading the some of the better blues literature provided context for the development of this music.  For me, that led into a wider interest in regional history.  The history of Delta is very interesting and not widely known or understood I think.  The practice of legally  enforced peonage throughout the deep south, another example, was widespread and to my knowledge, not discussed in most high school curricula. I talked to my kids about this, and they were astounded that this went on into my adult life. Yet it's important to understanding how we got where we are today. 

Having said all that, a lot of blues biographies I've read, especially some of the early ones, project the authors' romantic notions about blues players onto their subjects without really understanding the music, and are not all that well written.   I don't read them much anymore.  And as far as Robert Johnson goes, there's a whole lot of stuff out there that's beyond parody.  But I will surely read Gayle Dean's book, because he's a really good storyteller.

In the end, it's the music.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 08:47:01 PM by eric »
--
Eric

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2018, 06:31:03 PM »
Amen Reverend. 

I will read it too, because without the work of Gayle Dean Wardlow and some of the more narrative style writers are who got me interested enough in getting at the information, then taking the bits and pieces of evidence and putting them together not like some rote examination but a cohesive story with a good flow that does not make the reader try to keep going.

You make a good point about the historical context Eric, and lots of folks praise the late Paul Oliver for his approach.  Not too many authors use his methodology.  I believe that Bruce Conforth, despite all his boosterism, wrote a good book on Lawrence Gellart and his career.  At one time, he claimed Gellart recorded RJ, but it was not in the book.  Might it be in this one?

>:D
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2018, 10:41:39 AM »
they met their goal!
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline arlotone

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2018, 01:39:12 PM »
I didn't expect this to be a controversial topic. Ultimately he's doing the same thing we're all trying to do here -- digging up knowledge about old blues music and bringing it to light. If you're not interested in another Robert Johnson project, that's fair. But I wonder how many of the critics here have published books or run successful fundraising campaigns and can appreciate how much dedication goes into these things.

Anyway, I'm happy that the campaign succeeded. I've been a fan of Preston's work since he helped me get a Beale Street Walk of Fame marker installed for Will Shade about 10 years ago.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 01:44:58 PM by arlotone »

Offline Thomas8

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2018, 03:52:46 PM »
Guess people have money to burn

Offline Rivers

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2018, 07:09:50 PM »
But I wonder how many of the critics here have published books or run successful fundraising campaigns and can appreciate how much dedication goes into these things.

Hey arlotone most of us are just amateur critics and part time consumers.The onus on the writer of a published work is to convince us to make it worth our time and money to purchase what is already available.

If money needs to be raised upfront that's fine. But the onus then is on the author to convince us to suspend any lingering disbeliefs we might have and support the project.

I personally have not been sufficiently interested in the voluminous fawning works already published on RJ to believe that this project will reveal anything, beyond minor interesting snippets. Sorry about that.

Offline harry

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2018, 03:10:51 PM »
I was unaware that Stephen Calt wrote a Robert Johnson biography too. Is it worth seeking out?

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #38 on: October 04, 2018, 06:43:10 PM »
I was unaware that Stephen Calt wrote a Robert Johnson biography too. Is it worth seeking out?

It was never published. I don?t know if it was ever finished (or even started).
Jeff

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2018, 01:53:57 AM »

The onus on the writer of a published work is to convince us to make it worth our time and money to purchase what is already available...

The onus...is on the author to convince us to suspend any lingering disbelief we might have and support the project.

I personally have not been sufficiently interested in the voluminous fawning works already published on RJ to believe that this project will reveal anything.
[/quote]

For this project, the only new element is an interview with a nonagenarian, and she may very well have read or drawn her testimony from one of several already published accounts.  Unless the testimony leads to corroborating documentation of some sort, the author may be transcribing a work of historical fiction based on already published accounts.

Is the onus, therefore, grounded in the difficulty of discovering new documentation?

The works of "fawning" authors are often more about themselves than the actual artists, and musicians who write rarely have an intense passion for archival research.  Recent biographers of blues artists have also failed to conduct a comprehensive review of the secondary literature to interpret the evidence and tell the artists' story in its proper historical context.

So is the onus on writers to 1) actually be writing about the blues artist, 2) conduct research in previously unexplored archives and reevaluate existing evidence, 3) discover new evidence that increases our understanding of their history, and 4) place that evidence in the proper historical context and in conversation with previous works on the subject?

Or is the onus on authors to insert themselves and the readers in the story?  One way to get around conducting serious research or a dearth of new evidence is to frame the story as a "searching for the mysterious musician" tale, which details the author's "field research" and pilgrimages.

Or might the onus be to lampoon the historical fiction that currently abounds in both older and newer blues studies?  Most readers have sentimental attachments to the books that gave rise to their love of blues history, especially if the authors have an untrained,  "everyman's a historian" aesthetic.

My point is, I guess, that the current body of literature leaves a lot of room for anyone interested in discovering more about the lives of the artists.  Gaining a better understanding of the lives of the artists, however, has less appeal than a myth or the perpetuation of a stereotype, or the infusion of a political agenda into the story.  Not too many people who attended a picnic with RJ are still with us, but there is a ton of documentation and archival material that remains unexplored.  The pitch for the kickstarter campaign really plays up the concept of mystery and eliminating it, but the interview can't accomplish that goal...unless it contains an account of him going to find another mysterious and unrecorded guitarist.  Solve a mystery with a mystery.  That sounds like a winning formula in this instance...
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: Kickstarter for Robert Johnson project
« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2018, 09:03:54 AM »
Update from mass email:

Thanksgiving progress report
Posted by Mrs. A.C. Anderson w/Preston Lauterbach (Creator)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone--

The Brother Robert book is rolling along. Mrs. Anderson and myself met up during the week preceding Thanksgiving to work. We've begun to focus on the afterlife of Robert Johnson. It's a story that hasn't been told from her perspective, as one of the people who lost a claim to the Robert Johnson legacy. She has a terrific collection of letters that illustrate, from the family's perspective, the growing interest in Johnson's life and music from outsiders, and the family's struggle as they lost legal rights to their own photographs and family history, while being shut out of earning royalties from Johnson's music. 

I passed along her portion of the funds you've donated, and she's quite thankful for all of you. As I am, you're making all of this possible. It's been a long, rough stretch for Mrs. A, and this effort represents real justice to her.

Our editor at Da Capo has seen a draft of the book's first section and is pleased with what we've done. We have a May 2019 deadline to complete the manuscript, and there's no reason to think we'll miss it.

Our supporters who chose the illustration of Brother Robert's Memphis should receive these rewards shortly--they shipped on Monday.

Thanks again, from me and Mrs. Anderson, I hope everyone's having a terrific holiday-- Preston

ALSO some one is currently selling several RJ tests on ebay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Vinyl-Test-Pressing-ROBERT-JOHNSON-Possession-Over-Judgement-Day-BLUES-78/223232399693?_trkparms=aid%3D333200%26algo%3DCOMP.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20171012094517%26meid%3D7dd80e9218134b9cbde21d1ace71536b%26pid%3D100008%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D223232400753%26itm%3D223232399693&_trksid=p2047675.c100008.m2219
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 01:09:11 PM by btasoundsradio »
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

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