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Rube puts a lot of weird moaning and groaning into this number and some fancy guitar playing, too. - Paramount ad for Rube Lacy's "Mississippi Jail House Groan"

Author Topic: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson  (Read 3053 times)

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Offline GhostRider

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  • That'll never happen no more!
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