Essays On Mississippi

Essays On Mississippi-42
For Bromberg, the trick is to own the song yourself, at least while you are playing it.We reminisced about another influence, someone who was actually around in the New York City area from whom Bromberg learned a lot, Reverend Gary Davis.Shines and Johnson might be talking, with a song on in the background, and subsequently Johnson would pick up his guitar and could play the song – – somehow he had learned it while having a conversation at the same time!

For Bromberg, the trick is to own the song yourself, at least while you are playing it.We reminisced about another influence, someone who was actually around in the New York City area from whom Bromberg learned a lot, Reverend Gary Davis.Shines and Johnson might be talking, with a song on in the background, and subsequently Johnson would pick up his guitar and could play the song – – somehow he had learned it while having a conversation at the same time!

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While King Solomon Hill is a fairly obscure figure at this point, he must have enjoyed some popularity with blues audiences during his life, because years later Big Joe Williams was telling interviewers that he was actually King Solomon Hill (not at all true!

King Solomon Hill’s actual name was Joe Holmes.) While Robert Johnson wasn’t actually popular during his lifetime, Leroy Carr, a pianist and singer who often recorded with Scrapper Blackwell on guitar, definitely was.

Davis was from South Carolina and is usually classified as an “Piedmont style” artist, but his influence on the folk and blues revival artists such as Bromberg, as well as Rory Block and many others, was tremendous.

I asked Bromberg who his favorite Mississippi artist was, expecting it would be Robert Johnson, but he named Skip James instead.

Artists such as Big Joe Williams, Lonnie Johnson, and Skip James, as well as Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell, frequently played at The Gaslight, a fabled club in Greenwich Village where Bromberg spent time as the regular opening act. Johnson’s distinct tone was the model for King’s sound, even though he played electric guitar and Johnson’s classic recordings had been on acoustic guitar.

Bromberg notes the influence of Lonnie Johnson to B. Rory Block has told me how grateful she was, after being turned down by the Philadelphia Folk Festival one year, that Bromberg had invited her play on stage with him as a guest at the festival. Bromberg dug a little deeper into that tradition, talking about the fife and drum traditions found in the hill country, and remembering players such as Sid Hemphill, noting that some of these traditions seem to come right from Africa.It was important to Bromberg not to try to cast Shines as someone straight out of the 1930s.“I didn’t put him on a bale of hay, in dungarees with a straw hat on,” notes Bromberg.Bromberg describes discovering Muddy Waters from his tribute album to Broonzy, which surprised Bromberg because the songs were performed so differently from the Broonzy originals by Muddy Waters.We talked about Robert Johnson, with Bromberg noting that in his time Johnson was not well known.Listen to this special Mississippi Blues Project session with David Bromberg here.David Bromberg dropped by the studios at WXPN in Philadelphia in April to talk about, and play, Mississippi Blues.Bromberg cited the influences of players such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, though he noted that Big Bill Broonzy had been an initial influence.Broonzy used to say that he had come from Scott, Mississippi, but actually he was from Arkansas.Bromberg performed one of their songs, the “Midnight Hour Blues,” and in the middle embedded the well-loved guitar part from a piece called “Mississippi Blues” which was originally performed by William Brown in a field recording in 1942.The mixing of songs works perfectly for David Bromberg.

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