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For Guys Into or Who Want To Get Into Pre-War BluesA Lot of Music and Information Free


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#1 dadfad

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 03:16 PM

While searching for something else sort of related, I stumbled onto a site that has some free downloads available. It's a series of old radio-shows from the seventies that were done by Stefan Grossman that were heard on some public radio stations, college stations, the BBC, etc. I remember when they were out. I heard them on (I think) University of Michigan's station and actually recorded all or most of them on cassette tapes back then.

Grossman has put the radio-series up for free downloading, which sort of surprises me because Stefan is usually quite... ummm... (thinks of a more PC way to put it...) anally Ethno-Aramaic... when it comes to music he has the rights to publish. I've met Stephan and spoken to him a number of times about "bluesicological" subjects. As a person, he's kind of... I guess nerdy is a good word to use. Many times he seems very "stiff" and we disagree on a number of "bluesicological" subjects. Some of his transcriptions seem to be done by someone a bit unfamiliar with the genre, especially the jargon and slang often used by old-time rural black musicians which seem to sometimes be transcribed by someone very sheltered from those who spoke it, which is not the case. He may have grown up in middle-class Queens NYC, but eventually he met quite a few of these old-time country-bluesmen. His approach to getting into old country-blues seemed to be a bit more... hmmm... "scholarly" than mine. His approach to learning about tunes and history from old bluesmen seemed to rely more on a spiral-notebook and a number-two pencil and mine relied more on passing a bottle of moonshine back and forth on the backporch. I guess both ways had their strongpoints and weaknesses! Whatever, to each his own. (Vive la difference laugh.gif )

But, all this being said, Stefan has been one of the cornerstones of those who kept this music alive when it almost faded into obscurity. He found and studied with many of the old original first-generation bluesman, most notably the Reverend Gary Davis as a teenager in the early sixties. His father, not wanting him to venture alone into the "ghetto" of New York from middle-class Queens, would drive him to take guitar lessons from the Reverend Davis (who had moved north from the Carolinas in the '40s and had become a Harlem street-preacher and singer.) It became Stefan's life's ambition... to learn to play it, to record it and (sometimes to a fault) study it and he has turned his love of the genre into a financially rewarding life's work. The first transcribed blues-tune I ever laid my eyes on was transcribed by Stefan using a form of proto-tablature. This was in a time when you couldn't even find Beatles tab! A person working on transcribing tunes in a genre that virtually no one wanted to learn to play and very few had even heard of. Very different from now (for which I credit Clapton's MTV "Unplugged" starting the new wave of acoustic music popularity, shortly after which everybody started doing "unplugged" tunes. And the advent of the Internet and cheaply-manufactured CDs making easy access to this kind of music possible. (It was a real task finding this kind of music anywhere back in the old vinyl days. The few who were into the genre passed around copies-of-copies of rare 78s like they were the Holy Grail or something.)

Anyway, I've rambled on enough. These downloads contain an awful lot of great tunes by quite a few of the best of the old-time bluesmen. Robert Johnson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James and lots of others (like some of my favorites like Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller)... an awful lot of excellent music and a good beginning representation of the genre of country-blues. An excellent sample for those just getting into it, or who want to start, and even for guys who are already pretty aware of the genre. Inter-mixed with the tunes is a bit of "bluesicology" by Grossman, so you get the tunes as well as a little bit of background to go with it. And you can't beat the price. laugh.gif

I'll probably pull this topic back up every once in awhile so more people have a chance to see it. Anyway, here's the LINK.

Un-plugged is not the same as never-was-plugged-in-to-begin-with.

jacksontz.jpg

 

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When the roll is called up yonder he'll be there...


#2 Crawdaddy

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 09:01 PM

Thank you kindly for the pointer Sir, the price is excellent. cheers.gif
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#3 Grandpa FrankyZ

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 11:10 PM

You are a star John, a 100% bonafide star. I am getting more and more into the Blues, especially the old time stuff from the early part of the 20th century. This is a real bonus. cheers.gif

#4 rob295

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:12 AM

Cheers, good to be able to get hold of a good amount of these guys. Good to see Big Bill Broonzy on it.

#5 dadfad

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:43 AM

QUOTE (rob295 @ Apr 12 2008, 09:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cheers, good to be able to get hold of a good amount of these guys. Good to see Big Bill Broonzy on it.


Yes, he was great. I do two Broonzy tunes, both on that radio-clip, "Willie Mae" and "Long Tall Mama." (Actually three counting his tune "Hey Hey" which I quit doing generally a few years back.) I like his early 20s-30s stuff the best (as opposed to his newer ('50s) stuff, like "Hey Hey" which is okay but nowhere near the guitarwork of his older tunes. He was probably in the caliber of Blake or Jackson back then. (Of course still no slouch in the 50s!) I found "Long Tall Mama" one of the most challenging tunes I ever worked on. The actual playing of it was hard enough, but trying to use double and reversed-thumbing to get the timing just right made it even tougher. I probably spent a year working off and on with that tune before I was even half-way satisfied with how I did it. Great tune.

Un-plugged is not the same as never-was-plugged-in-to-begin-with.

jacksontz.jpg

 

John Jackson -My Teacher and My Old Friend

When the roll is called up yonder he'll be there...


#6 Hobs911

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 06:13 AM

Thanks man this will make my work day go by much faster.

Hobs911
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#7 SmashySmashy

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 12:26 PM

Interesting stuff. I have been playing some delta blues lately, working on a couple of Robert Johnson tunes, although I am just hoping the tabs I have are right. Cliche maybe but I am learning Crossroads Blues and Sweet Home Chicago, trying to build on my finger picking chops by re-learning Bron Yr Aur as well.

#8 caprico

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:10 PM

right on time.. i'm gettin into acoustic blues myself recently..

wtf is that noise?

youtube.com/user/caprico82

#9 -ism

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:57 PM

Wow, i can download these for free? Music AND commentary? That's just awesome. I could never find tunes from Charley Patton, and i finally can listen to them.

Thanks dude or sir biggrin.gif

#10 HeteroBoy

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:20 PM

Wow.
That's amazing.
Thank you soooo much!
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QUOTE (johnnynapalm @ Dec 30 2007, 09:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fck I love the thought of someone being so bad at standing that they seriously injure their beanbags.

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#11 cam_zim

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:49 AM

Assanti! (thank you)

just the stuff i've been looking out for.
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#12 annoying_2001

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 12:09 PM

Looks like I know what I'm doing for the rest of the night.
user posted image
yeah, he's that cool

#13 cam_zim

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:35 AM

i know this a week old now, but i just wanted to say thanks for this link again....

I have many of the mp3s in my car (I downloaded some of the other stuff too)

I dig this kind of music anyway, but the tunes etc have really made me keen to try harder with my playing. much needed really


cheers

cam
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20. Bo Diddley is Jesus 3:16
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#14 dadfad

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 12:25 PM

QUOTE (cam_zim @ Apr 24 2008, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i know this a week old now, but i just wanted to say thanks for this link again....

I have many of the mp3s in my car (I downloaded some of the other stuff too)

I dig this kind of music anyway, but the tunes etc have really made me keen to try harder with my playing. much needed really


cheers

cam


Glad to do it, Cam. I've also put up links here in the past to d/l's of some of my own old recordings of different old bluesguys from time to time, that I'd put on SoundClick (very temporarily so as to not "get in trouble"). Mostly long-dead guys who would get no royalties and sold their rights for twenty bucks or so to... whoever... Columbia or RCA or someone back in the 20s or 30s. I know a lot of guys, especially those just getting into old blues, don't wanna run out and buy a bunch of CDs without even knowing if they'll like that artist or not. So I'd put stuff out to at least be able to check it out for free. And I probably will again. But when I found these d/ls I thought it was a good chance to get a pretty decent free sampling of a lot of different old bluesmen with no hassles or anything. There's a lot of great music from that era. Anyway, glad you liked it.

Un-plugged is not the same as never-was-plugged-in-to-begin-with.

jacksontz.jpg

 

John Jackson -My Teacher and My Old Friend

When the roll is called up yonder he'll be there...


#15 shunter

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 02:21 AM

I know its poor form to bump up old posts but those blues radio shows (see Op's link) are excellent and well worth advertising one more time so up we go!

Thanks for linking to those shows Dadfad.

#16 dadfad

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 03:39 AM

No problem, Richard, and thanks. I meant to pull it back up for newer guys who might be interested in it anyway once in awhile, but forgot about it. (I'm getting old and senile. tumbleweed.gif ) Yeah, they're excellent. Back when they were first aired on the radio I wasn't as "country-blues aware" yet and I thought they were great. (I have them all recorded on cassettes buried in some music-junk crate somewhere in my basement, attic or closet.) Anyway, thanks. There's a lot of great stuff there, and like I said above, you can't beat the price!

Un-plugged is not the same as never-was-plugged-in-to-begin-with.

jacksontz.jpg

 

John Jackson -My Teacher and My Old Friend

When the roll is called up yonder he'll be there...




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