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I grew up in a town so small that you didn't lose your girlfriend, you lost your turn - Tim Williams, in concert

Author Topic: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson  (Read 2171 times)

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Offline harriet

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2013, 02:55:30 PM »
Except that 25.97% goes to Reward Manufacturing and 9.09% goes to Kickstarter and credit card fees. That's $43,825 of the $125K budget.
I'll leave most of my pro project comments up but actually I don't know how I overlooked it, but Stuart's post definitely made me rethink my enthusiasm for the project. Between that "reward manufacturing" expense and the use of the name blindwilliejohnson.com for the project, kind of damped my enthusiasm. For the record, I edited out earlier remarks about pledging a small amount since I cancelled it and remarks suggesting people who performed BWJ contacting the producer. Phffft.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2013, 06:32:11 PM by harriet »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2013, 05:15:17 PM »
I just took another look at the website thinking I was being too harsh.

Somebody tell me it's just a bad dream, or maybe a prank by the Onion. If so it's the funniest thing they've ever done.

"100 Guitar Picks Made of Wood From Blind Willie Johnson's 1930's Home". Now that will really help you play like Willie Johnson...

Good grief.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2013, 06:50:39 PM »
"Scraps of wood from the house became collectible, as did even the Stovall dirt on which it sat. When the House of Blues opened its new club in Chicago, it placed an order with me for 25 pounds of dirt from Muddy Waters's yard. It was absurd, of course, but I dug it up and sent it. I needed the 50 bucks it was offering..."

Jim O'Neal, The Voice of the Blues 
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2013, 07:50:05 PM »
Tom, I have no doubt that it's very easy to spend 125K in "the modern world" making a record, and if they tried just a little harder I bet they could double that. With the approx. 9% going to credit card companies and kickstarter, plus another 8 or 9% to lawyers who will be making sure Sony and the gang get all the money they are "due", that's nearly a fifth of the project already. I hope would-be contributors look at those numbers.

It's just pretty hard to reconcile this tribute to a blind street musician who had a cup for spare change wired to his guitar with those numbers for me. Especially when none of it seems to be going to any kind of tangible tribute, be it support for some historical recognition project, support for an educational music program or whatever. And especially when they are asking the public to subsidize it. Let the millionaires, lawyers and media companies who will benefit subsidize it.

I think Bruce has it right, this smacks of self-promotion more than anything else. Sounds like they're going for another Grammy nomination, and the Grammy folks can go, "ooh look, something for the traditional music category with names that people will finally fucking recognize! Halle-freakin-lujah!"

As for spreading the word about Blind Willie Johnson, I am very doubtful about that. And if that's a goal then they've probably gone with the wrong demographic, since all of these musicians appeal to middle-aged farts, few of whom will be looking for something like the original Blind Willie if they are not already into the genre. The most active interest in this music beyond the core of rapidly aging usual suspects that I see is in young people and (sorry) hipsters who are starting jug bands, picking up old guitars, playing fiddles and banjos, buying them newfangled vinyl record reissues etc. Perhaps better to have Jack whatsisname organize a tribute.

Offline harriet

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2013, 05:24:04 AM »
I think Bruce has it right, this smacks of self-promotion more than anything else. Sounds like they're going for another Grammy nomination, and the Grammy folks can go, "ooh look, something for the traditional music category with names that people will finally fucking recognize! Halle-freakin-lujah!"

As for spreading the word about Blind Willie Johnson, I am very doubtful about that. And if that's a goal then they've probably gone with the wrong demographic, since all of these musicians appeal to middle-aged farts, few of whom will be looking for something like the original Blind Willie if they are not already into the genre. The most active interest in this music beyond the core of rapidly aging usual suspects that I see is in young people and (sorry) hipsters who are starting jug bands, picking up old guitars, playing fiddles and banjos, buying them newfangled vinyl record reissues etc. Perhaps better to have Jack whatsisname organize a tribute.

I think that's correct on both parts. Their presentation from the point of view of someone who has never heard Blind Willie Johnson's name at all is so cluttered with other musicians - the cd participants and the demos - and the packaging puts BWJ on the B side of the reward, which speaks for itself . My cousin whom I sent the link to is very busy and she skimmed/or didn't read the blurb and came away with the impression that Tom Feldmann - whom she hadn't heard of either - was Blind Willie.

On the other hand I heard a rumor that if they exceed their goal they might add additional rewards of a newly found autographed picture of him and one inch square of the actually bedding from the house,  which turned up recently, with a numbered certificate of authenicity.

edit: And I certainly they missed an opportunity by not developing a BWJ Commemorative Collection Cup - which they could have used as a prop at the grammys - you know, a group of skimpily dressed dancers choreographed to end the number by circling around the musician performing, dropping to one knee and raising the cups a la Ziegfield Follies. phhht.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 09:04:30 AM by harriet »

Offline frankie

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2013, 05:54:03 AM »
Tom Feldmann - whom she hadn't heard of either - was Blind Willie

I love the internet!

Offline Kokomo O

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2013, 02:23:38 PM »
Harriet, you've veered off into the realm of genius with the replica collection cup and the dancers. Can you imagine how much they could raise by selling those authentic replica collection cups, complete with wires to attach to slotted headstocks? They could even have the Gibson Custom Shop or National Reso-Phonic antique the surface, for that battered Texas '20s busker look.

And the sale of the true relic of the bed is too much to be believed as well.

My god, these guys are leaving money on the table.

Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2013, 01:01:40 PM »
Has anybody here heard the other album Feldmann produced? The Gospel musicians covering Dylan songs? That might be a (somewhat limited) basis for judging how this could be.
I find some of the musicians to be intriguing, and just about all I think are worthy of respect, so worthy of a listen on this project. Tom Waits for one has the voice that can produce singing closest to Johnson's. Derek Trucks is much more than just a blues rocker, I think he is among the finest bottleneck slide players active today.
Perhaps the producer is trying to stay away from the obvious choices - the Cooders, Dylans, Muldaurs...not sure I can come up with others.
Paying 10% to Kickstarter and credit fees is probably standard for any Kickstarter project. All that money for rewards is BS though. Just give albums and t-shirts out. And 33rpm designed to look like 78rpm records? Silly.
For the budget, it should sound really good though. Modern studio time is expensive, from what I understand.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Help Produce The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2013, 02:34:57 PM »
Jeffrey Gaskill produced the Dylan project, not Tom Feldman. I assume that he first pitched the project to the majors, but without success. Thus, the Kickstarter route.

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