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Author Topic: Delta Blues Guitar  (Read 948 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Delta Blues Guitar
« on: July 12, 2012, 06:14:36 AM »
I couldn't resist scanning this which I stumbled up when looking for something totally unrelated. The lengths some folk will stoop to in order to snag a free book!  ::) (Melody Maker, 15 May 1972)

Eric Clapton Reviews
Delta Blues Guitar
By Stefan Grossman

I FIRST met Stefan Grossman in the States years ago and we became extremely good friends.  Personally, I have learned a great deal from him.

Let's' face it, he needs very little introduction from me as a blues artist, discographer, and connoisseur in blues records. Nevertheless, I welcome the opportunity of being able to review  his new book.


"Delta Blues Guitar" is a detailed analysis of blues guitar styles that should be read and studied by every aspiring blues man. It's a "must" containing all the personal styles of some real "greats," like Son House, Tommy McClennan, Tommy Johnson and, of course, Robert Johnson.

Whenever I am being interviewed and I am asked who has influenced my playing in any way   whether it be with Cream, Blind Faith or with Delaney and Bonnie ? these guys' names always crop up. They have all made a mark on me somewhere or other, especially Robert Johnson.


I find I have a close affinity with the emotion of his music. "Terraplane Blues" is a number that I imagine most people know,   and  as Stefan says it is one of the hardest and most exciting guitar pieces of the Delta.


I have assumed, for the benefit of my review, that those who read this book will know about Delta styles. There is a fair bit the exponents all have in common, but at the same time they all have their own expression. I would say that the Delta style is one that has been carried through into today's rock music.

It is a Robert Johnson number - "Kindhearted Woman Blues" - that is one of the most complex pieces dissected in this book. Stefan has managed to transcribe all he guitar breaks as indeed he has with all the other artists' work. I should say, too, that he seems to be right in all the guitar shapes remembering that he learnt most of what he knows by ear!

Skip James is another name in this book that I was particularly interested in. Cream Addicts Anonymous will recall "I'm So Glad." I have always felt like, Stefan says, that his sound is quite unique and relates to none other in the book.

Stefan analyses three James numbers. Incidentally, all the numbers are laid out in an extremely clear fashion, and in terms easy to understand but it's not just the music that caught my eye interviews are quite something, too.


Tommy McClennan Stefan calls "one of the most exciting yet sloppiest guitar players to come from Mississippi." And he adds, "He has a reputation for being sloppy drunk and this was apparent in many of his recordings." So don't run away with the idea that the author has only "nice things" to say about his subjects.

All in all, Stefan has done a good job. I should think ii was an unenviable task and one that ought to pay off.

[Delta Blues Guitar is distributed by Southern Music, 8 Denmark Street, London WC2, price 31s 6d (33s by post)]

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