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I just reach up and pull them out of the sky - call them sky songs - they just come to me - Bukka White

Author Topic: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson  (Read 2903 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« on: December 18, 2013, 05:00:14 AM »
Nearly a decade in the making....

http://untpress.unt.edu/catalog/3587

A hardcover book for just $25 seems a bargain to me - most tend to cost twice that.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 02:05:17 PM »
Just ordered. Quote Code 25A for a 25% discount.
 Phone 1-800-826-8911 to order (under $19 US)
However, no rush. The book is slated to be ready for shipping the end of April.

Alex

Offline MTJ3

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2013, 09:47:33 AM »
Hot damn! Hats off and congratulations to Dean Alger!

Offline jostber

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2013, 12:21:21 PM »
Great to see this! Gotta get this one.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 10:35:25 PM »
Dean Alger has emailed me to say his Lonnie book is now published and available in US.

According to Amazon the UK edition is due 30th April.

Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2014, 01:37:07 PM »
I should state from the off that I believe that Lonnie Johnson was an incredibly gifted musician whose influence on modern music is huge. Imagine my excitement when I came across Alger's book which promised to not only confirm my belief but to also place Johnson's life in its historical context and to reveal his wider socio-political influence.  The problem I have with the book is that it is almost unreadable.  It reads like the work of a 1st year undergraduate who is discovering the complexities of the English language for the first time.  Alger, unlike his subject, has no ear or sense of rhythm. Sentences jar the senses. I settled down to read this book in a couple of sittings, but a week later I can't get beyond page 60.  I will persevere, but ugly writing is not the correct vehicle for steering us through the complex forces at play in the genius of Lonnie Johnson.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2014, 02:12:09 PM »
Oh dear...he'll not be getting a Christmas card from you then....:)

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk


Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 02:32:10 PM »
I have his card here.  It reads: I'm sending you this card, it's a Xmas card, hoping you have a merry, or at the very least, a pleasant festive, or Xmas (as I mentioned earlier) break, or holiday (see Chapter 5 where I proceed and go into this in greater detail).   ;)

Offline Gumbo

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2014, 05:07:23 PM »
 ;D ;D ;D

Offline ScottN

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2014, 11:17:00 PM »
Vidal, you forgot to include the quote from the wonderfully informative and well written Xmas card (Hallmark 1932, pg 2) with the snow covered house (that may have been Lonnie J's home in East St. Louis before he may or may not have moved to Texas when he may or may not have been married to Mary).  A reading of the text clearly infers that this might have been the same card he could have sent to the son (Clarence) he may or may not have had but I believe he did, as do others as I cite later in Chapter 7.  Especially noteworthy is the text heretofore uncommented on by Blues Scholars "Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men" which clearly indicates Lonnie J's intention to be a leading and important figure in the battle for civil rights and clearly shows why he should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and should have a movie made about his life.

I too am slogging through this book.  I will make it through because I am very interested in the subject and any info I can glean I find value in.  The author clearly has a love for the subject and did a tremendous amount of research work.  The writing "style" will probably not appeal to most people.  I'm thankful that I got the Kindle edition for 12 bucks or so...can't say I'm likely to read it more than once at this point.

Thanks,
              Scott


Offline bnemerov

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2014, 05:21:16 AM »
Good copy editors have gone the way of the Dodo, it seems.
And even if one were at North Texas Press, only so much might be done with writing that may, or may not, be conscious or, perhaps, unconscious in its tumidity, its sufflation.

 ;)
bruce

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2014, 09:22:50 AM »
Yeah, copy editors and proofreaders are virtually non-existent these days. But the problems go beyond that, as clear and well written expository prose might not be a bad place from which to begin one's copy editing and/or proofreading. (Bear in mind the old expression, "You can't polish shit!") Patty Limerick's essay of twenty years back, "Dancing With Professors," has been mentioned several times before, but for those of you who may not be familiar with it, here are a couple of links:

https://www.soc.umn.edu/~samaha/cases/limerick_dancing_with_professors.html

https://noppa.aalto.fi/noppa/kurssi/21e72000/materiaali/21E72000_limerick_1993.pdf

I'll reserve judgment until I come up in the rotation at the local library and actually read it, but that's just SOP.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 09:37:19 AM by Stuart »

Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2014, 02:16:22 PM »
"The first side he recorded that day had the oh-so-apt title, "Playing With the Strings" - borrowed for the title of these two chapters.  Beyong the obvious reference to the guitar strings, the title is apt in the sense that his guitar work here has a playful nature, it is very upbeat and lively, and one just feels Lonnie's fingers dancing over the strings"
"Non-specialist readers of this book will probably enjoy this tune even more than "Hotter Than That"

Page 125 and counting...

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2014, 03:03:37 PM »
Thanks for the warning, Vidal. I picked up a copy at the library yesterday and I'm presently up to page 34.

Offline Chris A

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 06:52:33 PM »
I have met and been in touch with Dean. He strikes me as a serious, dedicated admirer of Lonnie's music, but I'm afraid I have to agree with Vidal. Not a book that does Lonnie's artistry justice.

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2014, 08:31:38 PM »
I'm up to page 80 and agree, Chris. If one is interested in reading it, I recommend borrowing it from the library or having them get it for you through interlibrary loan. The problems with the book are puzzling, to say the least, given that his writings would have been subject to critical evaluation in the course of his education at Whittier and UC Riverside, as well as during his teaching career. Hard to figure.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2014, 07:21:35 AM »
From Blues & Rhythm 290, p. 45. In light of previous comments here's something to chew over.

Chacun a son gout. (sorry can't fathom how to insert accent/circumflex symbols)

THE ORIGINAL GUITAR HERO AND THE POWER OF MUSIC
THE LEGENDARY LONNIE JOHNSON
MUSIC AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Dean Alger
University Of North Texas Press, 2014. 365pp, illus, index. ISBN 978 1 57441 546 9, ?20.50


In a previous attempt to publish a biography about Lonnie Johnson, Dean Alger found his proposal rejected on the basis that the publisher felt Johnson was not central enough to the history of the blues to deserve a whole book devoted to him. While such an assertion might elicit an incredulous snort from many blues fans, it?s probably true that for most other people it would be at best an indifferent shrug. I can?t remember when in my life I understood just what a colossal figure in the music?s development Lonnie Johnson was, but it was the result of a gradual accumulation of experience rather than the kind of clamour of acclaim so often accorded to far lesser figures. It was like a slow burn ? hearing his own 1920s and ?30s sides, of course, hearing his accompaniments to others? vocals, his solos on jazz records, his duets with Eddie Lang, his R&B hits in the 1950s, his Bluesville LPs and much more. And, of course, progressively recognising his influence on so many other guitar players and singers. B.B. King is quoted on the dust jacket here, to the effect that ?Lonnie Johnson was the most influential guitarist of the 20th century?. Since similar statements have been made in the past about King himself, this ? to say the least ? is a statement that carries some weight. Dean Alger has a point to prove, and this book ? having eventually found a publisher ? is his way of setting about it.

In fact, he has a number of points to prove. If you look at the header of this review, you?ll see that the title of the book is laid out over three lines. This is not a straightforward life story. It?s also an attempt to place Lonnie Johnson in a historical context that as well as being about music, is also about the US ? and the wider world ? in the 20th century, and the social changes that took place in that time. Dean Alger sees African American music as having played a key role in the modernisation of culture, in the battle for civil rights, and in shaping the changes in race relations that took place in the 20th century. And as he sees Lonnie Johnson as a central figure in the history of African American music in that period, he lays claim on Johnson?s behalf to a key role in the process that effected those changes.

Alger has a lively writing style, more than a little quirky in its approach ? the use of random capitals, for example, or the fact that if an anecdote is worth telling once, it?s worth telling again. He?ll break out of his narrative prose, if he thinks that?s the best way to make his point, as he does on p.82, presenting the major cultural developments of the years 1926-1928 in the form of a list that stretches over six pages (enabling us to note that Lonnie Johnson made his first records in the same year as Fritz Lang made Metropolis, and Pan Am began its air services). But the book?s most distinctive characteristic is its digressive, rather sprawling approach to telling its story. To situate Lonnie Johnson in the context of his era, Alger will sidetrack into a discussion of modernism, referencing Picasso, Debussy, T.S. Eliot. Or in a discussion of the guitar, he?ll bring in everybody from Henry VIII to Beethoven, from Segovia to Led Zeppelin. An account of a Johnson session with Victoria Spivey is interrupted to quote a description of B.B. King at the Apollo Theater, because he sang one of the same songs. Talking about the innovative technique in Johnson?s great 1928 recordings, including ?Playing With The Strings? and ?Away Down In The Alley?, he quotes Eric Clapton, but apparently only for the purpose of observing that Clapton doesn?t mention Johnson, that ?startlingly? he seems unaware of Lonnie?s influence on B.B.King. Nothing about rock stars and their ignorance of the blues seems at all ?startling? to me, but it underlines the general point that Johnson?s role remains under-appreciated.

Nevertheless, the narrative of Lonnie Johnson?s life is in there, even if just occasionally it feels like you?re winkling it out of a larger and much more all-embracing project. If that sounds like a complaint, it really isn?t meant to ? this isn?t a whodunnit where we?re impatient to unravel a mystery, and mostly the wider context is helpful and relevant (and he sensibly reserves his main discussion of the question of the relationship between music and civil rights for a 14-page Appendix, albeit in a tiny typeface). Alger has done thorough research into Lonnie Johnson?s life and has uncovered enough new biographical information to satisfy even the best-read fan. For example, it has long been thought ? because Johnson said so in a Jazz Journal interview that seems to have provided the basis for most biographical information published subsequently ? that apart from himself and his brother James, his entire family had died in the influenza epidemic of 1917, in New Orleans. But, in an interview with Moses Asch in 1967, as Alger points out, he talked about his mother, and mentioned that she was then 94, while in an unpublished interview in 1960, he told Paul Oliver that his father had died in 1934.

Digging out such interview material, published and unpublished, linking it with discographical data, contemporary newspaper reports and ads and other historical accounts, he is able to draw connections out into what seems to be a highly reliable account (although noting inconsistencies and contradictions where they arise, as they do). But as well as referencing the work of a wide range of other researchers, he has also done research of his own so that, for example, he is able to offer a good account based on new interview material with people concerned, of how Johnson ended up living in Canada, and of his last days there. There?s also plenty of analysis of Johnson?s recordings and of techniques he pioneered. These use some technical jargon, but not enough to be a problem for the musically uninitiated, and to help, Alger has prepared a CD of what he considers to be the best of Johnson?s recordings. (At the time of publication, this doesn?t seem to have been released ? a note in Appendix 3 says ?record company arrangements pending? ? but there?s no shortage of reissues out there on CD, and on streaming services.) Nobody reading Alger?s analyses, while listening to the musical examples he cites, could come away from this in any doubt of Lonnie Johnson?s genius, his innovation both in guitar technique and vocals, and his contribution to blues lyrics.

Right at the start, Alger expresses his firm intention to write a book that will appeal beyond the reach of those blues books which, he feels, put off anybody who isn?t a specialist. One way in which he addresses this is through what seems almost like an obsessional urge to trace Johnson?s influence in every guitar player who came after, in every form of music. This is all great fun, well-argued, and generally convincing, even though it?s often about lines of descent rather than direct influence. For example, towards the end, inserted into the narrative between the 1967 Folkways recordings and Johnson?s death in 1969, is a section which works hard at convincing readers of the debt pop and rock stars like Page, Hendrix, Allman etc owed to Johnson (the direct influence was almost always B.B. King, whose own debt to Lonnie has already been laid out at length). I have no argument with any of this, even if calling Johnson ?the original guitar hero? makes me a little uneasy, considering the modern stereotype of that phenomenon, with all its face-screwing, finger-twiddling, posturing bombast ? the very antithesis of a man who always seemed to play with the most exquisite taste, for whom subtlety and restraint were always as important as displays of dexterity.

Not that this takes away from what Dean Alger has achieved here. His documenting of Lonnie Johnson?s life and music, the context in which it was made and its continuing cultural importance, is of real substance and considerable value. Lonnie Johnson deserves proper biographical documentation as much as anyone does, and Alger has provided that, and more. In the preface, he encourages readers to start a letter-writing campaign, aimed at Lonnie?s inclusion in the Rock?n?Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, his own book is a far better tribute to this great artist than that dubious honour could ever be.
Ray Templeton

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2014, 08:50:44 AM »
Thanks, Alan. I'm a little past page 200 and I'm still puzzled. I'm still aligned with Vidal, Scott and Chris regarding my opinion of the book.

IMHO, Ray Templeton is being very tactful in his evaluation.

Offline ScottN

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2014, 09:34:45 AM »
I am still in agreement with Stuart, Vidal, Chris and others.  This book, unfortunately is just not well written and this is a major distraction and I believe hurts Mr. Alger's credibility in making many of his arguments.

To me at least, it reads like a freshman paper where the author did a massive amount of research from sources (some good, some barely related), wrote it all out on index cards, then hurriedly wrote a paper without spending much time on connecting the ideas or in editing out poor arguments or "facts" that don't really belong.

Mr. Templeton's review is overly generous and I would say almost a disservice as a review by labeling the writing as just quirky.  He makes several comments in the review about the difficulties in the arguments and writing style but apologizes for the criticism instead of noting that the loose arguments and questionable writing are pervasive throughout the entire book.

The purpose of the book is noble.  The research was substantial.  The writing is awful, many of the facts are (admittedly) speculative, and many of the arguments are so far fetched that it undermines the writer's credibility even in those particular cases where the facts are solid and the arguments are reasonable.

The book has many interesting facts that can be pulled out as sound bites.  If it does anything it may at least spark conversation about Lonnie Johnson and people may listen and appreciate him more.  The biggest problem with the book is that the poor writing is causing us to have a conversation about the writing instead of a conversation about the subject which is probably what we all are actually more interested in.

Sorry for the long rant,
                                          Scott





Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2014, 02:23:24 PM »
Bunker Hill you miss my point.  The book is a terrible read, not only because his use of the language is childlike (I can live with that, just), but because he doesn't convince us of Lonnie Johnson's worth (a crime not to be tolerated).  He quite simply doesn't make the case that his title implies.  Indeed, he doesn't make the case for anything.  I did not expect the great analytical insights of a Greil Marcus, and I wasn't disappointed. Writing in any meaningful way about music is beyond most of us; the ability to shine a light on and illuminate the culture it came from or helped shape is given to a privileged few. But it strikes me that there is someone out there who can make the case that Lonnie Johnson was a collossus in an age when others could claim a similar status.  Mr Alger is far from being that man.  Woody Allen once said that he did a course on speed reading that allowed him to read War and Peace in twenty minutes, and when asked what it was about he said "Russia".  I have to confess that from page 125, and with a heavy heart, I sped through the rest of Alger's book in about twenty minutes.  What was it about? I have no idea.

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2014, 04:06:31 PM »
Scott: Your post is not a rant at all--It's a clearly stated and honest evaluation of the book, one with which I agree. You are correct in saying that Ray Templeton does prospective readers a disservice.  When he writes, "His documenting of Lonnie Johnson?s life and music, the context in which it was made and its continuing cultural importance, is of real substance and considerable value. Lonnie Johnson deserves proper biographical documentation as much as anyone does, and Alger has provided that, and more.," it comes off as high praise, something the book does not merit. And it is misleading as well.

Vidal: For better or worse, I understand where you're coming from, but I think the material could be reworked into a readable book, something I do not think is beyond someone who is well versed in the subject area and knows how to write. In spite of the writing and stylistic problems, I find myself bending over backwards, continually trying find something of value in it as I plod along. As Chris stated, Lonnie Johnson deserves a solid biography. But unfortunately, this isn't it. What a mess.

I'll post a few more thoughts after I finish it.

Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2014, 04:55:49 PM »
Apologies to Bunker Hill as I thought the piece he posted was his work.  The truth be told I didn't see Ray Templeton's name at the bottom of the piece, or perhaps I did but blanked it out as I was losing the will to live half way through it.  I suspect that Mr Templeton, like me, glanced fleetingly at swathes of this book.  How else could he claim that
"This is not a straightforward life story. It?s also an attempt to place Lonnie Johnson in a historical context that as well as being about music, is also about the US ? and the wider world ? in the 20th century, and the social changes that took place in that time. Dean Alger sees African American music as having played a key role in the modernisation of culture, in the battle for civil rights, and in shaping the changes in race relations that took place in the 20th century."

I particularly like "the modernisation of culture".  What does that mean?

There is a well known quote about Lonnie, "I remember my own impression in listening to him was that it would be hard to imagine anybody playing better. There is a quality that the real virtuoso communicates, an added dimension to his playing, that makes it immediately and recognizably distinct from that of one who is merely proficient. Lonnie Johnson had it ... "

That says more about Lonnie Johnson than Alger's 365 pages.


Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2014, 11:42:36 PM »
Dissatisfaction with author, his approach and inability to write, plus a reviewer of 40+ years failing in his duty, perhaps Jas Obrecht should be petitioned to tackle the subject. In 1993 contributed a chapter on LJ in Stefan Grossman's Johnson instructional. (Won't be the first time blues artists have been accorded two biographies of wildly differing approach - Lightnin' Hopkins and, imminent, Gary Davis).

To quote the acerbic Mae West, "personally I don't give a damn".  :o


Offline ScottN

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2014, 07:56:06 AM »
Or Mr. Templeton could do a rewrite of the book, at least he can write.  Plus his Pollyanna approach would be far more tolerable (and common) as the biographer than it is as a reviewer...on second thought, I'd rather see the two collaborate on a new Leadbelly bio where he was the original entertainer (before Johnny Cash) trying to improve prisoner's rights...or better yet, a Buddy Moss biography reframing how shooting people and waving guns around wasn't really a bad thing but...oh well, will have to wait until it comes out to see how that pig looks with lipstick ;-)

Thanks,
              Scott

Offline TonyGilroy

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2014, 11:07:39 AM »
or perhaps Mr Templeton is entitled to his opinion?

Just a thought.

Offline Stuart

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2014, 12:45:25 PM »
He is entitled to his own opinion, Tony, but he is not entitled to his own facts. His review is misleading to potential readers and purchasers of the book. If I had decided to purchase the book based on his review, I would have felt misled.

I have tried very hard to be fair minded while reading through the book and have also attempted to give Dean Alger the benefit of the doubt. However, I would be less than honest if I glossed over the book's many, many shortcomings and/or pretended that they did not exist. There are generally agreed upon standards about what constitutes good, well thought out and well organized writing. And these standards are not some self-serving elitist construct or daydream.

As I said, I will write a few more thoughts when I finish the book. In the meantime, borrow a copy and read it for yourself. I believe that it will become apparent that the criticisms posted here are not the result of a conspiracy to trash a well written book about Lonnie Johnson.

Offline TonyGilroy

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2014, 02:12:37 PM »
I've not read the book so I don't have an opinion but Ray Templeton's review is far from an unqualified recommendation.

 

Offline Chris A

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #27 on: December 25, 2015, 08:50:54 PM »
I don't know Mr. Templeton nor am I familiar with his work (other than the review of Dean Alger's book), but I did get to know Lonnie quite well and I have read Dean's book. Based on those three facts, I am rather of the opinion that Templeton's review is either insincere or unqualified.

The book Lonnie's talent and life deserves may never be written, but it ought to be. Fortunately, he left us a rich legacy of recordings, which is far more important that any speculation as to how many family members died in the flu epidemic.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 09:10:04 PM by Chris A »

Offline wreid75

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2016, 11:21:13 AM »
Its still far better than the book Revelation Blind Willie Johnson The Biography by D.N. Blakey

Offline Vidal

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2016, 03:01:29 PM »
Thanks for the warning!

Offline GhostRider

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2016, 12:50:59 PM »
I am still in agreement with Stuart, Vidal, Chris and others.  This book, unfortunately is just not well written and this is a major distraction and I believe hurts Mr. Alger's credibility in making many of his arguments.

To me at least, it reads like a freshman paper where the author did a massive amount of research from sources (some good, some barely related), wrote it all out on index cards, then hurriedly wrote a paper without spending much time on connecting the ideas or in editing out poor arguments or "facts" that don't really belong.

Mr. Templeton's review is overly generous and I would say almost a disservice as a review by labeling the writing as just quirky.  He makes several comments in the review about the difficulties in the arguments and writing style but apologizes for the criticism instead of noting that the loose arguments and questionable writing are pervasive throughout the entire book.

The purpose of the book is noble.  The research was substantial.  The writing is awful, many of the facts are (admittedly) speculative, and many of the arguments are so far fetched that it undermines the writer's credibility even in those particular cases where the facts are solid and the arguments are reasonable.

The book has many interesting facts that can be pulled out as sound bites.  If it does anything it may at least spark conversation about Lonnie Johnson and people may listen and appreciate him more.  The biggest problem with the book is that the poor writing is causing us to have a conversation about the writing instead of a conversation about the subject which is probably what we all are actually more interested in.

Sorry for the long rant,
                                          Scott

I totally agree.

Alex

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2016, 12:10:54 AM »
In November last year Jas Obrecht kindly sent me a copy of his latest enterprise Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar. Therein is a well researched/written chapter entitled Lonnie Johnson: The Era's Most Influential Blues Guitarist (pps 129-187).

Perhaps  Jas O and Chris A should collaborate upon the definitive bio....nudge, nudge  ;) ;)

Offline Surbhar

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2016, 01:07:06 PM »
Yes, I enjoyed Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar. Read it about a month ago. I also liked Way Down That Lonesome Road by Mark Miller. Has anyone seen any research done on Lonnie regarding his time with the Whitman Sister's?
Thanks!
Denise   
Denise

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2016, 09:36:20 PM »
Yes, I enjoyed Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar. Read it about a month ago. I also liked Way Down That Lonesome Road by Mark Miller. Has anyone seen any research done on Lonnie regarding his time with the Whitman Sister's?
Thanks!
Denise   

FWIW the second volume of Jessie Carney Smith's mammoth enterprise Notable Black American Women Book Two (Gale 1996) devotes an entire chapter to the history of the Whitman Sister "clan".

Offline Surbhar

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Re: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2016, 06:59:28 AM »
Thank you! I will have to check that one out. Awhile back, I broke down and bought The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville by Nadine Graves. . It must have originally been a college dissertation on the Whitman Sisters because it reads like one. You end up with little actual historical information. In fact, Lonnie Johnson was never even mentioned.

Actually found out more about Lonnie by looking up several of the early tap dancers who worked with the Whitman Sisters.
Denise
Denise