Interstate Brickface, King of the One-String Guitar

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New at Reason: Recent popular music revisionism has made mincemeat of the old image that classic bluesmen were unlettered savants. But when the new history tries to send Robert Johson back to hell, Jeff Taylor pulls the plug.

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  1. I’ll make mincemeat out of that mouse!

  2. By Wald’s logic, the Velvet Underground would have been “an extremely minor figure” in rock since they didn’t sell many records during their existence. But there’s other ways to be influential, such as influencing other musicians.

  3. “Every casual blues fan has met a hard case, the guy?it is always a guy?who pours over the tiny ads in the back of Goldmine magazine in search of “real” blues recordings. He is the keeper of esoteric sideman knowledge, the arbiter of notes bent and pre-bent, and sadly in need of being told to give it a rest.”

    Heh heh, so true. I know a few hard cases, and not a single one plays an instrument, has studied any musical form in existence prior to 1920 or will admit to how simple and formulaic the genre is. Modern Western pop music doubtless owes much to the form, and I shudder to think what my childhood would have been like without the influences of blues on the music of the day.
    But it’s only pop music, and as anyone who suffered through Ken Burns’s tedious treatment of the subject can tell you, it is possible to overthink it.

  4. If you’re thinkin’ you ain’t in the blues.

    Klondie: Didn’t you mean “minemeat”? Nobody likes a smartass who can’t type.

    nobody: Sorry. I didn’t mean to speak for you.

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