100th Fever

Jimmy Jacobs jacobslawoffice@GMAIL.COM
Wed May 11 10:08:13 EDT 2011


Very interesting, indeed. I had not noticed that difference in his songs but
it seems so as I think about it.  Here is a link to NPR's Weekend segment on
Robert Johnson:

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/07/136063911/robert-johnson-at-100-still-dispelli
ng-myths



-----Original Message-----
From: Blues Music List [mailto:BLUES-L@LISTSERV.NETHELPS.COM] On Behalf Of
Steve Hoffman
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 8:50 AM
To: BLUES-L@LISTSERV.NETHELPS.COM
Subject: Re: 100th Fever

Very interesting observations!!
-Steve H


Jonny Meister wrote:
> An interesting observation . . . Johnson recorded in a time when a
> linear story in a song was more important than when Blind Lemon
> Jefferson or Charlie Patton did. One author talked about "stanzaic
> disjunction" in Patton's songs.
>
> So Lemon's image of a train with a "red and blue light behind" in
> "Dry Southern Blues" (a song with no easy-to-find story line) ends up
> in a Johnson song that tells a story, "Love In Vain." The story and
> the setting of "Love In Vain" seem likely inspired by another
> Jefferson song of the same period, "Booster Blues."  In that song,
> Lemon arrives at the station just after the train with his woman has
> left. In Johnson's song, it's actually a little more confusing. He
> "follows" her to the station (doesn't take her there) with a suitcase
> (so he seems ready to go...) but doesn't board the train. The story
> and imagery are moving, but what happened is maybe a little less
> clear than in Lemon's "Booster Blues" where it seems Lemon arrived at
> the station in pursuit but just missed her.
>
> There was a general shift shift toward story consistency between 1928
> and 1937 in country blues. "How Long" (which actually came to Leroy
> Carr through Ida Cox's 1925 "How Long, Daddy, How Long") seems
> consistent to me, about a lover leaving you on a train and how lonely
> the person left behind feels.
>
> Seems like those trains wrecked a lot of relationships . . .  :-)
>
> At 10:47 PM 5/10/2011, Son  Lewis wrote:
>> Steve,
>>
>> While there were many, few rose to the lyrical and thematic levels
>> that RJ
>> reached... yes, while being derivative... with the possible exception of
>> Skip  James, I cannot think of another Delta songster off the top of
>> my head
>> whose  verses remained as tightly linked to each other so that the
>> story in
>> the third  verse is referring to the same "story" the singer is
>> singing about
>> in the first  and fifth verses....
>>
>> For me, it is not so much the maniacal guitar playing or the frenzied
>> singing... it's the lyrical construction itself that sets RJ apart
>> from so  many
>> (if not MOST) of his contemporaries...
>>
>> I just finished recording LeRoy Carr's "How Long" for my next release
>> and
>> while it's a beautiful song with a wonderful melody and impassioned
>> singing
>> by  Carr, his lyrics are all over the place... like it's several
>> different
>> songs  sharing a melody...  I don't get that sense in most of Johnson's
>> songs.
>>
>> Son  Lewis
>> Blues Vocalist/Guitarist
>
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