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Blind Blues singers

Leadbelly 28 Mar 07 - 02:11 PM
mrmoe 28 Mar 07 - 03:03 PM
greg stephens 28 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 28 Mar 07 - 03:19 PM
Wesley S 28 Mar 07 - 03:22 PM
greg stephens 28 Mar 07 - 03:24 PM
Leadbelly 28 Mar 07 - 03:48 PM
Wesley S 28 Mar 07 - 04:14 PM
mrdux 28 Mar 07 - 05:53 PM
pdq 28 Mar 07 - 06:24 PM
Murray MacLeod 28 Mar 07 - 06:35 PM
Bugsy 28 Mar 07 - 07:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Mar 07 - 07:08 PM
Bob the Postman 28 Mar 07 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,Mike B. 28 Mar 07 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Mike Miller 28 Mar 07 - 10:11 PM
Ulli 29 Mar 07 - 03:13 AM
Bob the Postman 29 Mar 07 - 07:47 AM
Leadbelly 29 Mar 07 - 12:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Mar 07 - 01:32 PM
PoppaGator 29 Mar 07 - 02:05 PM
Roger in Baltimore 29 Mar 07 - 02:13 PM
Leadbelly 29 Mar 07 - 04:19 PM
PoppaGator 29 Mar 07 - 04:52 PM
greg stephens 29 Mar 07 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Baba 29 Mar 07 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Allen in OZ 30 Mar 07 - 02:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Mar 07 - 08:14 AM
skipy 30 Mar 07 - 08:20 AM
Leadbelly 30 Mar 07 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Allen in OZ 30 Mar 07 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,You can call me Zimmy 30 Mar 07 - 08:43 PM
PoppaGator 30 Mar 07 - 10:54 PM
Jim Krause 30 Mar 07 - 11:50 PM
greg stephens 31 Mar 07 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Tweed (cookieless) 31 Mar 07 - 12:06 PM
Leadbelly 31 Mar 07 - 04:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Mar 07 - 06:13 PM
Leadbelly 31 Mar 07 - 06:37 PM
DADGBE 31 Mar 07 - 06:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Mar 07 - 07:32 PM
mrdux 01 Apr 07 - 02:02 AM
Tweed 01 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM
Leadbelly 01 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM
Tweed 01 Apr 07 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,joe mcturk 02 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM
Wesley S 02 Apr 07 - 10:31 AM
PoppaGator 02 Apr 07 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Apr 07 - 05:45 PM
GUEST 02 Apr 07 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Nick 02 Apr 07 - 07:36 PM
stuart jay 02 Apr 07 - 10:27 PM
mrdux 03 Apr 07 - 05:43 PM
Leadbelly 25 Nov 07 - 04:08 PM
Murray MacLeod 25 Nov 07 - 05:40 PM
Azizi 25 Nov 07 - 08:06 PM
pdq 25 Nov 07 - 08:49 PM
wysiwyg 25 Nov 07 - 09:07 PM
pdq 25 Nov 07 - 09:32 PM
wysiwyg 25 Nov 07 - 09:40 PM
Azizi 25 Nov 07 - 10:22 PM
Azizi 25 Nov 07 - 10:23 PM
bankley 26 Nov 07 - 09:53 AM
PoppaGator 26 Nov 07 - 10:21 AM
bankley 26 Nov 07 - 11:29 AM
wysiwyg 26 Nov 07 - 11:37 AM
PoppaGator 26 Nov 07 - 11:48 AM
bankley 26 Nov 07 - 10:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Nov 07 - 10:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Nov 07 - 12:57 PM
Leadbelly 27 Nov 07 - 01:35 PM
PoppaGator 27 Nov 07 - 04:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Nov 07 - 04:40 PM
PoppaGator 27 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,acorn4 27 Nov 07 - 06:22 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 06:49 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 27 Nov 07 - 07:28 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 07:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Nov 07 - 07:52 PM
Alaska Mike 27 Nov 07 - 08:01 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 08:17 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 08:28 PM
Bobert 27 Nov 07 - 08:29 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 08:55 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 09:08 PM
Kent Davis 27 Nov 07 - 09:37 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 09:56 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 10:34 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 10:54 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 10:57 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 11:10 PM
wysiwyg 27 Nov 07 - 11:13 PM
Azizi 27 Nov 07 - 11:38 PM
Roger the Skiffler 28 Nov 07 - 09:13 AM
Paco Rabanne 28 Nov 07 - 09:20 AM
PoppaGator 28 Nov 07 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Nov 07 - 02:13 PM
Leadfingers 28 Nov 07 - 02:23 PM
Azizi 28 Nov 07 - 03:18 PM
Azizi 28 Nov 07 - 03:19 PM
wysiwyg 28 Nov 07 - 03:58 PM
PoppaGator 28 Nov 07 - 04:00 PM
wysiwyg 28 Nov 07 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,guy wolff 28 Nov 07 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Doc John 29 Nov 07 - 02:42 PM
Azizi 29 Nov 07 - 03:12 PM
Bobert 29 Nov 07 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,dry bones band 02 Dec 07 - 12:02 AM
Doc John 02 Dec 07 - 02:03 PM
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Subject: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 02:11 PM

Hi there,

would like to start a discussion on blind blues performers i.e which one is your personal favourite and please tell us why you think so.

Might be a relatively short but still interesting threat.

Come on...


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: mrmoe
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:03 PM

Let me be the first to mention Blind Lemon Funk


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM

Well, the first blues record I bought was a Blind Lemon Jefferson 78, so Ill go for him for real class. But probably in terms of hours I spent listening with pleasure to a performer, it would be Sonny Terry.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:19 PM

Back in 1964, I got Sonny Terry's autograph! Well, to be more precise, he "stamped" my programme using a stamp and stamp-pad.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Wesley S
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:22 PM

Bilnd Boy Fuller - Great stuff. Along with Blind Willie Johnson. Blind Blake too. I'll need two extra hands to play Blakes material on my guitar.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:24 PM

Blind Blake must have kept most budding guitarists pinned down for a sizable chunk of their lives trying to learn to play his twiddly bits up to speed. I could have been out having fun and chasing girls, but instead I was practising: all that time I spent at the guitar, I never did get it right.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 03:48 PM

Thats's it, Greg. A good friend of mine once told me: "I hate blind guitarists, the're always so good".
He preferred Blind Willie McTell.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Wesley S
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 04:14 PM

My guess is that they didn't have computers, the Mudcat or day jobs to distract them. They just played guitar.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: mrdux
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 05:53 PM

I've always been fond of Rev. Gary Davis. Amazing technique that he used to play variety of styles. Listening to him always makes me smile.

michael


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: pdq
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 06:24 PM

Best guitar player: "Blind " Artel Watson

Best songwriter: "Blind Boy" Grunt


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 06:35 PM

"Blind" Artel Watson for me too.

and Blind Blake.

these two stand alone imo


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Bugsy
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 07:05 PM

"Blind Lemon" Cordial was always a favourite of mine.

Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 07:08 PM

Willie McTell. I must have heard a dozen versions of Statesborough Blues before I heard the original. I think its the best.

That relationship with the voice/guitar accompaniment. Perfect.

I suppose though I would be bound to say - I like more Ray Charles stuff. He had a more varied sort of approach.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 07:51 PM

Willie McTell's "Last Session" lp was the second or third blues record I ever bought. I was disappointed after the first listen-through because it wasn't a bit like Robert Johnson but I soon came to realise that I had lucked onto a real treasure.

Does anyone have anything to say about the connections (if any) between McTell and the blind hillbilly guitarist Riley Puckett? I read somewhere (probably on Mudcat) that they both went to the same school for the blind. Their styles are not dissimilar but I don't know enough to really compare and contrast. Anybody?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Mike B.
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 09:11 PM

Best songwriter: "Blind Boy" Grunt

Rumor has it that he wasn't blind at all - and can see just fine to this day.

Too bad his career never really took off.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 28 Mar 07 - 10:11 PM

Although he played an 88 string guitar, I think that Ray Charles was the most expressive blues singer and instrumentalist there ever was.
Like so many of the other bluesmen, his style was formed in Gospel. In a very real sense, he was a true folk singer.
Staying on topic, I was remembering the days when Philadelphia Jerry Ricks was, just, Jerry Ricks. He used to joke about changing his name
to Blind Sweet Willie Tishman. Hey, it was a long time ago.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Ulli
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 03:13 AM

I'd like to mention "blind" George Nussbaumer from Austria.
He took part in the European Song Contest in 1996.
You learn more about this fantastic singer when visiting his website (http://www.george.ch/)


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 07:47 AM

Josh White, though not blind himself, apprenticed as a bluesman by acting as leader, or human seeing-eye-dog, to a series of blind singer/preachers starting in the early 20s when White was 8 years old. His masters included Blind Blake and maybe Blind Lemon Jefferson. A biography called "The Glory Road" by Dorothy Schainman Siegel tells the stroy. Good read, though pitched at a high-school readership.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 12:55 PM

Bob the Postman - this note might be what you do remember:

"It is interesting that in the early '20's he attended a school for the blind in Macon attended by the great hillbilly artist Riley Puckett, and speculation as to the identity of the "darkey in Atlanta" who taught Puckett his guitar tour de force Darkey's Wail, is intriguing."
Simon A. Napier, Editor Blues Limited (www.ozarkia.net)

Apart from this, my absolute favorite is Willie, too.
Best characterized in short by Steve James (www.acousticguitar.com:

"In the '20s and '30s, Blind Willie McTell was king of a court of Georgia musicians that included Barbecue Bob, Peg Leg Howell, and Curley Weaver. A top-notch set of McTell recordings from this era is The Early Years. From stomping ragtime to mournful slide pieces, McTell had it wired. Simply the best 12-string guitarist ever, and one of the very great blues songwriters."

Something to add...?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 01:32 PM

Elijah Wald's biography of Josh White has all the terrible details of what it was like working for Blind lemon Jefferson.

One of the best books about the folkscene ever.

From the street beggars and musicians - the very music of the dispossessed to the swish nightclubs of New York and London. It evokes it all beautifully.

Wald is a terrific writer.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 02:05 PM

Thanks, weelittledrummer, for mentioning Ray Charles. At first, I thought only of the many blind guitar-playing bluesmen from those early days, but Brother Ray is so very very great, quite obviously a blues singer, and really more accessible to my ears than any of those old timers.

Let me also mention the very wonderful Snooks Eaglin, one of the world's most phenomenal guitar fingerpickers, blind or otherwise, over the last half-century and more. He has to be close to eighty years old by now, and is still delighting listeners and dancers in New Orleans on a regular basis.

His earliest recordings, from the 1950s (one entitled "New Orleans Folk Singer"), demonstate his absolute mastery of the acoustic guitar within the context of very traditional folk-blues forms. At the same time; he was also working as an electric-guitar session player at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Studios, where rock 'n' roll was (arguably) born.

These days, he plays electric blues/R&B/soul fronting a trio (with bass & drums), or sometimes a quartet (with keybord added, usually a B-3 organ). And, as always, he sings like nobody's business.

He has recorded countless albums, and I wouldn't know where to start making recommendations ~ except to say that the more recent the recording, the better it's likely to be. His skills have not diminished at all, and as time has gone by, he's been able to enjoy better and better producers and to attract the very greatest available sidemen.

Aside from his astounding musicianship, he projects the warmest and most good-humored stage presence imaginable. If you visit New Orleans, don't miss a chance to catch his act. He always appears at Jazz Festival, and plays on a fairly regular basis year-round at the Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl, which always makes for a really fun evening.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 02:13 PM

I think I would have to go with the Reverend Gary Davis. Although his genre might be closer to ragtime than blues. Absolutely phenomenal. He also apparently taught blues guitar to 22,857 white boys on a one-on-one basis if liner notes and bios are to be believed.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 04:19 PM

Its somewhat peculiar that there are resp. have been so many blind blues artists on guitar but except for Ray Charles, Blind John Davis (more boogie than blues and I never heard him singing) and possibly Stevie Wonder according to my knowledge there are (almost) no other popular blinds on piano singing the blues.

Anybody out there who can tell me, why??? Difficulties as to transport the instrument, to play outdoors?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 04:52 PM

Henry Butler is a great contemporary blind pianist here in New Orleans, but more of a jazz player than blues, and only an cccasional singer.

You may laugh, but Henry has actually enjoyed some success (gallery shows!) as a blind photographer. Don't ask me to explain ~ is it a joke? Charity? I have no idea. He points the camera and hits the shutter when he hears the right moment, and comes up images that people seem willing to buy. Presumably he has help selecting the pictures to be shown and sold, printing and cropping them, etc.

Next topic: Why guitar and not piano, etc.?

Not only does this category summon thoughts of guitar players to the near-exclusion of other instruments, there is an almost-automatic focus on a certain historical period.

Also, limiting the discussion to "blues singers" puts a focus on African-Americans, a people whose economic options have always been limited, but much more severely so a couple of generations ago than now. The popularity of a portable instrument (guitar) as opposed to, say, the piano, is undersandable for a population especially likely to find themselves "out on the street" back during the Depression.

How 'bout the great Doc Watson? Not primarily considered a blues artist, mostly 'cuz he's a white guy, but he sure can play the blues, and country, and folk, and jazz, and anything else you want. Not a bad singer, either.

PS to Roger in Baltimore ~ I got a good laugh from your comment about Rev Gary Davis. Sometimes I feel so deprived for not having met the man and taken a few lessons from him. Practically ever other half-decent player in my age group seems to have done so, or so they seem to say...


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 05:42 PM

Nobody, I think, has yet mentioned Blind Willie Walker. He recorded very little, I think I've only heard one track of his. Josh White gave him the supreme accolade, for technique. I'm quoting from memory, he said something along the lines of "A lot of those guys played a lot of guitar, Blind Willie Walker played so much, it wasn't even funny".


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Baba
Date: 29 Mar 07 - 09:19 PM

Don't forget Johnny Winter!


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Allen in OZ
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 02:04 AM

What about Blind Willy Foggin in Eastwood Australia !!

AD


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 08:14 AM

Perhaps we could open this topic up a bit

Tone Deaf Folksingers
Ballad Singers with Multiple Stab Wounds
Physically Challenged Morris Dancers
Melodeon Players with Halitosis
Guitarists with Bad Dandruff
Mandolin Players with a Weight Problem


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: skipy
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 08:20 AM

Blind lemon clegg.

Can a blue man sing the whites? (KD)


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 08:37 AM

...and drummers with bullfrogs on their mind...


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Allen in OZ
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 06:29 PM

...and partially deaf, dumb and blind blues singers who shot a man in Memphis !!

AD


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,You can call me Zimmy
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 08:43 PM

I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 10:54 PM

Thanks for the reminder, Zim.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Jim Krause
Date: 30 Mar 07 - 11:50 PM

Blind Blake. I never would have gotten that twiddly stuff right if it hadn't been for a couple of Woody Mann tapes from Homespun Tapes. Sadly, I don't think they're available anymore, even on CD.

Jim Krause


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 11:09 AM

Roger from Baltimore: I don't know about the other 22,856 white boys, but here's one who had a one-to-one lesson from the Rev Gary Davis. A very memorable experience.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Tweed (cookieless)
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 12:06 PM

There's a blind musician friend of mine still living in Memphis, Blind Mississippi Morris, you can hear him doing *Smokestack Lightnin' (mp3 recording)* if you click that clicky back there. It's him, with Slick Ballinger on guitar and Leon Baker on the drums.

He's about as real deal as they come, born in Clarksdale, MS. Can play blues like nobody's business. Today's his birthday and they got him a gig down at Morgan Freeman's club, Ground Zero, in Clarksdale, so it's a sort of going home thing for Morris. Big Man with a big voice like thunder rolling across the cotton fields. And he can blow the reeds inside out of a harmonica. If you like Howlin' Wolf, you're gonna dig Mr. Morris.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 04:30 PM

Thanks to all for mentioning resp. discussing approximately 20 various blind blues singers up to now.

Here are some other blind blues singers I've never heard of:

- Blind Bo Carter
- Blind Willie Reynolds
- Blind Roosevelt Graves

Are they known to you? Are you aware of others?

Re.: "blind piano blues singers". Because piano tuners tend to be blind and are mostly able to play this instrument I cannot understand why there aren't any blind piano blues singers to remember. (Apart from mentions and arguments above).

Last but notleast, happy birthday to Blind Mississippi Morris, Tweed.
What's his age?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 06:13 PM

I don't think an artist should be defined by his medical condition.

We don't say John Milton, the blind poet.

James Joyce, the virtually blind novelist.

I'm a bit uneasy about it. I don't know if anyone else shares my disquiet.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 06:37 PM

I do believe that blind blues singers are an outstanding fraction of all artists performing the blues.

That's the reason for my starting this thread.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: DADGBE
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 06:53 PM

I'm with you, weelittledrummer! I wouldn't enjoy being identified by my disabilities which are numerous if you ask my wife.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Mar 07 - 07:32 PM

I wasn't knocking the thread. We're talking about mainly music from a bygone age. people used to have all weird names like Peg Leg Howell in those days.

I wonder why they did it. I suppose some of the time they were begging and prominently displaying the disability in their names made them more piteous.

Does anybody else have any thoughts on the subject?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: mrdux
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 02:02 AM

and one more: Jim Brewer (he didn't like being called "Blind" Jim Brewer). He played guitar and sang on Maxwell Street in Chicago, and I also remember seeing him fairly frequently at No Exit and Amazingrace on the North Side of things in the late 60's-early 70's.

michael


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Tweed
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM

weeedrummer wrote: "I'm a bit uneasy about it. I don't know if anyone else shares my disquiet."

Why in the world would it make you uneasy? They've been called blind because they are blind musicians. Being blind and able to play your butt off on a guitar, harp, piano, or oud was good business back then. It got them gigs, sold records, and probably more bucks in the jar when they were busking etc. They converted their handicap into an asset.

Mississippi Morris bills himself as "Blind" and probably a good thing, as people know right off that he can't see and won't let him drive very much.   

If any of you feel uneasy about blindness, go here and send em donation:
Clovernook.Org/Memphis


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM

Thanks for your message, Tweed

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Tweed
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 08:54 AM

O, and I think he turned 57 yesterday, Manfred, but can't be certain of that. Morris is like all them old school guys and still gives out various years for when he was born.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,joe mcturk
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

What about "the blind reverand two fingered joe mcturk" still going strong I hear.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:31 AM

By the way - Guest Baba - Johnny Winter isn't blind.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 04:28 PM

Almost forgot about:

Luther Kent

This is a contemporary blues artist, and a white guy, which differentiates him from most of the other luminaries mentioned here. Very solid guitar player and a terriific, strong vocalist.

He always has a great band, with a nice big horn section, and for many years provided one of the very few "authentic" and worthwhile listening experiences available amid the tourist traps of Bourbon Street.

He must be doing pretty well for himself these days ~ besides his own recordings, he provides the soundtrack for a lot TV spots, notably promotional stuff for the local tourist-and-convention commission ~ because he no longer seems to need the day-in-day-out hassle of playing those long hours in those seedy French Quarter bars.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 05:45 PM

Check out my photos of Blind Arvella Gray in Chicago in the 1960s. Singing on the street at Grand Ave. and State Street.

http://rudegnu.com/art_thieme.html

(Use the word mudcat as both the password and user name. That'll get you in.) Sonny Terry and Gary Davis are there too. Also Jim Brewer. Jim played Wednesday nights at Chicago's No Exit Cafe for many years---17 as I recall it. I played on Thursday nights all that time and more.

Art


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 06:00 PM

wat up


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 07:36 PM

I have heard about Blind Blues Singers, I have heard some, but I have never actually seen one.... Hmmmm


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: stuart jay
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:27 PM

difficult to compare so many great performers. I was only able to see Gary Davis and would have to compare a live performer to a recording. Especially with the poor quality of some of the material. What would Blind Lemon sound like if we were at his feet. Blake, McTell, Johnson as well as so many others we can listen to each, inform us of their individual genius that we can still hear through the marval of mankinds' inventive genius. We shoould all stop to appreciate this as well as the other beauties and let the blues lead us to a smile.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: mrdux
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 05:43 PM

Art --

Great set of photos. I'd forgotten about Arvella Gray. I especially liked the pictures of Win Stracke. And Jim Brewer at No Exit brought back some memories. . .

Thanks.

michael


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 04:08 PM

Azizi,

as requested, here comes former "Blind Blues Singers" thread.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 05:40 PM

Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Wesley S - PM
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:31 AM

By the way - Guest Baba - Johnny Winter isn't blind.


FTR, Wesley, Johnny Winter, ( and his brother Edgar as well) are both "legally blind"


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 08:06 PM

Thanks, Manfred. I appreciate it!!

I see that Susan posted a hyperlink to this thread in the thread of the same name that GUEST,Doc John started. I suppose that Doc John wasn't aware that you had started a thread on this subject.

I agree with Susan's comment that these two threads should be combined. Any further comments that I might make on this subject, I'll post to this thread-after reading it of course :o}

In any event, here's the link to the thread of the same name:

thread.cfm?threadid=106553&messages=10

In case these threads aren't combined, I encourgage folks to read this-imo-very well written & interesting article that is posted to that thread:

http://www.popmatters.com/columns/stephens/020628.shtml

BODYMATTERS
Blind Boy Blues
28 June 2002
by Michael Stephens
PopMatters Music Columns Editor


Best wishes, Leadbelly {Manfred},

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: pdq
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 08:49 PM

* You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond"

* "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning"

* "If I Had My Way I Would Tear This Building Down"

* "Dark Was The Night - Cold Was The Ground"

* "Mother's Children Have A Hard Time"    { = "Motherless Children"}

* "It's Nobody's Fault But Mine"

* "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed"

These are some of "Blind" Willie Johnson's songs that have been covered

by recent artists including Doc Watson, Hot Tuna (Jorma Kaukonen), Peter Paul & Mary,

and even by Steve Miller. I do not believe Johnson is given credit by any of these people,

although Rev. Gary Davis, who used several of Johnson's compositions for years, is.

Those bastians of equality, Peter Paul & Mary, call them "Trad." and give themselves the arranger

credit. Their version of "If I had My Way" sold a lot of copies.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 09:07 PM

pdq, it's very difficult to properly credit a lot of early black gospel-blues because a lot of what the early bluesmen recorded WAS trad, in whole and/or in part, based on specific spirituals or on parts of them and with tunes from them. These bluesmen often claimed songwriting credit on their singles so they could get in on the stream of royalties the "white" composers and singers were enjoying via similar means. The more you listen to that roots music (the spirituals), the more obvious this becomes.... so obvious that although I no longer take the time to track down each and every instance, I do plan to cover that concept in an upcoming Spirituals workshop.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: pdq
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 09:32 PM

Yes, WYSIWYG, I do know that. In fact, Sam Charters, who was the first folk researcher to find Blind Willie Johnson's home (a couple of years after he died) found dozens of old Gospel song books dating from about 1880 to the 1920s. Johnson had used them as a resource. Some of his versions were more origonal than others, but almost all had roots in traditional Christian music.

The exact versions that became "common coin" in Blues and Folk circles in the 1950s-1960s were Johnson's, and I feel that he did not receive proper credit, even from those who knew better. (BTW, he was blind, so how did he read all those old hymnals? Just curious.)


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 09:40 PM

Blind folk often learn by hearing. Just like many Mudcatters learn.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 10:22 PM

Since I'm a newbie with regards to Blues music, I can't choose who is my favorite Blues performer who happens to have been blind.

But the general topic of why so many blind performers interest me.

Fwiw, I found one theory on this website
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/wxyc-announce/2006-February/000286.html

"BLIND MUSICIANS on the Thursday Night Feature, 9 p.m. to midnight
Some say that with the loss of one sense, the others are heightened. Others say that there is no explanation for the proliferation of musicans without sight through the ages. From Ukranian bandurists to American bluesmen, blind musicians are an integral part of cultural vernaculars around the world. Tune in for three hours of tunes from blind musicians, brought to you by two of WXYC's most visually-impaired DJs".

-snip-

I think that explanation is too simplistic, but it may be part of the mix.

Also, fwiw, here's a 13 page Wikepedia listing-with hyperlinks-with information about multiple blind Bluesmen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Blind_bluesmen


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 10:23 PM

Hmmm. Lemme try that sentence again:

I'm interested in the general topic of why there have been so many blind performers.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: bankley
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 09:53 AM

"Brian Lee" from New Orleans.... plays mostly at the "Old Absynthe", I heard that he bought the place.... maybe a co-owner... he gets up to the Montreal Jazz Fest regularly where he's developed a strong following..... speaking of 'lectric blues.... Jeff Healy.., owns "Healey's", a blues bar in Toronto... now, that man has some unorthodox chops, plays his axe like a piano, over the top fingering. Had a part in a movie called "Roadhouse" a few years ago..


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 10:21 AM

Bryan Lee (incidentally, a white blind guy and an excellent musician), is still seen and heard from periodically in New Orleans (at all the major festivals, etc.), but I'm not sure if he's still living here. I may be wrong, but I don't think he has a regular day-in-day-out gig like he used to have the The Old Absinthe House.

The Old Absinthe House (fondly remembered as "The A-Bar," and long the only outpost for real blues on Bourbon Street) was sold a couple of years ago. I don't think that it was bought by Bryan ~ or by any musician or music lover, for that matter ~ because it is no longer a performance venue, but is instead now one of a chain of tourist-trap daiquiri outlets that permeates the French Quarter.

The loss/sale of the A-Bar is not Katina-related, by the way. That bit of damage was done before the storm hit.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: bankley
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 11:29 AM

thanx Poppa, it's been awhile since I was down that way... I did hear Bryan at the A-Bar, also The Jazz&Heritage Fest, and a couple of times in Montreal.... great showman... lots of love and goodness coming off the stage....

(sidebar)... Are Waylon Thibodeau, Wayne Toups, or Bruce Daigrepont still around there ?.. got to meet up with beaucoup players back then... good ol' DL Menard and, fortunately, Mr.Dewey Balfa before he died..


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 11:37 AM

A reason given by one blind bluesman-- sorry I don't recall who-- was that "itinerant musician" was one career open to blind people. (The much-earlier Irish harper O'Carolan comes to mind.) So there were many who went into the traveling gospel circuit in the shouth, going from church to church, receiving bed and board if not cash payment, and practical help along the way. The ones who "made it big" could eventually afford to employ a partner for travel and sometimes the music (Ray Charles and Doc Watson come to mind), to facilitate the travel details, guide the blind musician onto the stage, etc.

("Blind" as part of the name, of course, was just ONE part of the tradition of naming bluesmen, as has been discussed in other threads on the blues.)

So "why there were so many" is about what economic opportunities were open to (A)people of color (B)who were blind-- two tough strikes in the time period that gave rise to the blues.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 11:48 AM

Hi bankley,

All those French names you mention are still very much in evidence around here. Whether they live right in the N.O. area or further west, out in Cajunland, they all make regular appearances in and around town.

Bruce Daigrepont must live here in town, or nearby, because he headlines the Sunday afternoon Fais-Do-Do at Tipitina's every single week.

The Cajuns and French Canadians have a lot in common, and Montreal has been a sort of home-away-from-home for all sorts of Louisiana musicians for many years. I have heard different opinions on whether the two groups share a common language ("North American French") ~ some folks swear the two groups speak essentially the same dialect, while others are just as adamant that the languages of the two groups are so different that they can't even understand each other without resorting to English.

The demise of the A-Bar marked the end of "real" roots-based music on Bourbon Street. Preservation Hall still offers great traditional music about a half-block off Bourbon, but while the busiest tourist area still provides a fair number of musician jobs, it's now almost almost exclusively devoted to the top-40 cover-band genre.

A relatively new live-music "strip" has developed on Frenchman Street, just outside the Quarter. The wonderful contemporary-jazz club Snug Harbor has been there for years, and more and more venues have gradually opened up in that area, offering live entertainment (and gigs!) in a variety of musical styles.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: bankley
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 10:26 PM

Thanks PoppaGator, the French language varies from region to region, as does Angleesh... I found that the Cajuns use a lot of words that aren't heard much anymore in Quebec.... old words and expressions.. much like East Coast Acadians... If you took a person from the backwoods of Alabama to an outport in Newfoundland, he might have trouble with the dialect, ('tho it's all) Anglo until he kissed the cod and had a hit or two of screech...... interesting, n'est-pas?

and thanks for the update on the Quarter... glad I was there in the early 90's a couple of times..... still have some friends out near Lafayette, Breau Bridge and Crowley... I'll get back there sometime, I'm sure of that........ R.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 10:05 AM

We the undersigned agree with the bloke, who said it was was wrong to define people by their medical condition.

Hepatitis B Jones
Chronic Wind MacPherson
Shingles McCormack
Billy US Green


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 12:57 PM

I agree withat last statement!

Constipation McGhee


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadbelly
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 01:35 PM

Ooops, weelittledrummer did it again!!!

Come on, again, tell us, why you do react like this...

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 04:37 PM

Don't forget me!

Arthur Itis Fingerpicker


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 04:40 PM

Well its just a very old fashioned and very degrading way to look at disabled people. Its like calling people cripples. Have you never heard the phrase, 'I am not my disease'? theres a social and a medical model of disability. the medical one is the disease, the social one is the person with the disease. he may face certain challenges, but he is a human being, not a disease.

If your life had been touched by chronic disability, you would be comfortable with these ideas and understand them totally.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM

The designation may be seen as old-fashioned today, but I don't believe that any of the blind musicians under discussion here found it "degrading" to be known as "Blind [Whoever]." I am quite sure that each and every such person calmly accepted the description "blind" as simply descriptive, not perjorative, and was glad to have his/her public persona ~ so critical to one's livelihood ~ be made so easily recognizable.

Of course, all these folks were highly skilled and extremely talented, and they all found a way to make careers by developing abilities unaffected by and independent of their sightlessness.

And most importantly, this was during an era when people in general were much less worried about shades of meaning and delicate sensibilities than they are today. (An "era" defined as starting at the beginning of human history and ending about 20 years ago!)


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 05:09 PM

Well its just a very old fashioned and very degrading way to look at disabled people.

Yes, but if people CHOSE to bill themselves things like as Blind Lemon Thisorthat, in a time when that was considered perfectly fine, it is NOT fine to apply today's standards about it in a revisionist way. History without context is just facts. History WITH context is.... interesting. Plus the African Amercian experience is like NONE OTHER.

It kind of feels to me-- and I HAVE struggled with disabilities-- that calling myself "Blind Lemon Thisorthat" would be a way of taking pride in being able to do the job beautifully DESPITE the disability-- I'd have worn that name like a badge: "I can do this better, blind, than you could ever do it with sight."

If anyone were to tell the Blind Boys of Alabama or the Blind Boys of Mississippi that because of their band names, they are not men of full pride-- which they OBVIOUSLY are-- and I suspect they'd beat one up!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,acorn4
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 06:22 PM

I was always a bit baffled by why Blind Lemon Jefferson wore glasses!


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 06:49 PM

During the same time as Black Americans bluesmen who were blind were affixing that "blind" title to their names or who had it affixed to their names, did blind White American singers/musicians such as White Country & Western singers also use that "blind" title or have it affixed to their names?

If not, why did one group of musician/singers have this title affixed to their names, and not another group of musician/singers?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 06:52 PM

Plus the African Amercian experience is like NONE OTHER.
-WYSIWYG

For what it's worth, I prefer the term "African American experiences" since there isn't/wasn't just one experience for African American peoples.

And aren't every racial/ethnic group's experiences different than every other people's?

What does this have to do with the subject of the use of the word "blind" in Black Bluesmen's names?

Maybe I'm missing something here-did White Bluesmen who were blind also have the title "blind" affixed to their names?


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 07:28 PM

Without going into a lot of detail, check out Josh White, who played with Leadbelly as well as with a number of blind bluesmen in the 20's, 30's and 40's. There is a lot of information on him and on the peripatetic lives of these blind singers on Google. He was one of my earliest influences. In his prime, there was probably no more powerful and influential performer, whether in blues, gospel or even Tin Pan Alley" genres. He crossed racial lines, performing in clubs and theaters formerly "white only." He was also a vocal and visceral champion of racial justice. Listen to "Strange Fruit." He ran afoul of the "red-baiting" tactics of Senator Joe McCarthy, though basically apolitical, and was blacklisted for much of his later career. Some criticized him for being "too polished." But his playing influenced numerous others, including Dylan. Listen, if you can find a recording, to his fingernail work on an old Martin (00-18?). No picks.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 07:42 PM

Azizi,

What does this have to do with the subject of the use of the word "blind" in Black Bluesmen's names?

Since you asked-- although my comment that you quoted was specifically in repsonse to someone else's post, and not yours-- It had to do with how someone who has not shared the experience referenced made a value judgment on how "we" ought to feel (I'm parapharasing) about having the word BLIND included in the name by which someone chose/agreed to be publicized.

And while we're stating preferences, I prefer not to have you, Azizi, comment on the language I choose to use in a thread when I am addressing someone other than yourself. I express my thoughts as I express them. "Take the best and leave the rest," as a wise woman once said.

You have asked WHY "Blind" was an appellation attached to [insert adjective YOU prefer] singers' names.... I've offered what I know IN THE LANGUAGE I USE.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 07:52 PM

The point is that the man who called himself Blind Lemon Jefferson was remarkable poet, lyricist, musician. You don't just poke your eyes out and become somebody like that.

His disability was an irrelevance to his stature as an artist. We gave him damn all dignity in this life, maybe we accord him a little now.

'Halitosis' O'Brady and 'Fallen Arches' MacFaddyen


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:01 PM

A guy named "Blind Lemon Pledge" sang Danny Boy once at a show in Anchorage. He looked a lot like Seamus Kennedy.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:17 PM

Susan, with regard to my comment that I prefer the plural
"African American experiences" instead of the singular "African American experience", I'm sorry that you interpreted this is being discourteous to you.

In writing that comment, my foremost goal was to emphasize the fact that African Americans are not a monolithic people. We have had and continue to have a multitude of experiences. In my opinion, terms such as "The Black man", "The Black woman", the Black community" convey a sense that there is only one Black experience. This does not mean that everyone who uses these phrases believes that there is only one Black {African American} experience and not ethnic, economic class, religious, regional, individual etc differences within African American communities. But, in my opinion, those phrases seem to promote prejudicial, stereotypical thinking.

All this to say that I opted for a teaching moment, and didn't think that you would think that I believed that you thought that there was/is only one African American experience.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:28 PM

Correction:

I'm sorry that you interpreted this as being discourteous to you.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:29 PM

Ummmm, just a couple corrections here...

First of all, Johnny Winter is "leaglly blind"... Have you seen the man recently??? I have and he barely sees to write his name... That, in my book is, blind... I mean, he has a raodie help him find where he is supposed to write...

Secondly, pdq... Many of the songs that you attributed to Blind Willie Johnson are actaully old hymns... I found an old hymnal in an old building I was renovatin' and "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and BUrning" was in it... It was from the 1890's... I sent it to my good friend, Jerry Rasmussen....

But there are others on that list that are traditional songs that Johnson didn't write, as well...

But nevermind that...

Like Tweed, I am happy to know Blind Mississippi Morris... He is a great harp player with tons of stuff on his resume'...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 08:55 PM

Azizi,

my foremost goal was to emphasize the fact that African Americans are not a monolithic people..... I opted for a teaching moment...

Azizi, particularly in a thread about the blues, and particularly at Mudcat-- do you really not know that this is probably the last group of people (in the last place) who need to be taught that???????

You have said that the blues is new to you..... I'm deeply sorry about that-- it's part of our shared American heritage, and I have often tried to imagine what it would be like to have not had that as a living part of my own life from early years on.

But it isn't new, to many of us, nor is the experience that gave birth to it. I would respectfully submit that the learning opportunity here may be yours. Again, take the best and leave the rest.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 09:08 PM

Susan, perhaps it's the Virgo in me, but I can't help but notice your use [in the last paragraph of your post] of the singular word "experience" instead of the plural word "experiences". Also, you wrote "opportunity" instead of "opportunities".

Oh well.

As the hip hoppers say, it's all good.

At least some of it's good anyway.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Kent Davis
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 09:37 PM

Blind Alfred Reed would be considered, I believe, an "old time" or "hillbilly" musician rather than a blues musician, but he did record "Black and Blue Blues". He was first recorded at the "Birth of Country" 1927 Bristol sessions (along with the Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers) and is probably best known for "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live".
For more info., see http://www.properamerican.com/006.html

and also

http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:52kzAqr70aQJ:www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,341309,00.html+blues+%22blind+al
Kent


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 09:56 PM

Interesting. Thanks, Kent, for that information about a White musician/singer whose stage name started with the word "blind".

Here's an excerpt of that first linked article:

"In those days, a physical handicap was a terribly limiting factor. The blind either begged or relied on their family's benevolence, but those with some musical ability found a way to support themselves. Alfred Reed, born blind on June 15, 1880, in Floyd, VA, was one of the lucky few who was able to scrape a living from playing at local dances, churches and on the streets of his hometown."...


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 10:34 PM

Was prefacing the name with the descriptor "blind" a Southern custom, or was it just that the music was rooted in the South and that's why the custom attached to the music?

I guess I'm asking was that descriptor and other disability descriptors used as nicknames in everyday life in the late 19th century, early 20th century South or elsewhere in the United States?

I know that skin color descriptors were used in everyday life among Black Americans and non-Black Americans were transferred to stage names. For instance, Speckled Red was the stage name for African American boogie woogie piano player and singer Rufus Perryman (October 23, 1892 - January 2, 1973), born in Monroe, Louisiana. Perryman was an albino as was his piano playing brother who was known as Piano Red.

But the descriptor "Red" was also used by the Anglo-American comedian, actor, artist, writer Red Skelton who received that name as a child because of his red hair.

Perhaps-in the case of giving the nickname "Red" because of hair color- the gender of the person at least partly determined if the nickname "Red" was seen as having any negative connotations. Lucille Ball not withstanding, it seems to me there are alot of negative stereotypes associated with red haired women.

I don't think that the nickname "Red" has any gender biases for Black women. Actually, I can't think of any examples of females who were/are given this nickname. Instead, some very light skin Black females were/are given the nickname "Pinky". But, again, I don't think this was a put down nickname, but that is probably because of the positive connotations that light skin had {has?} among quite a number of African Americans.

So, I'm not sure if these relatively off the cuff comments have anything to do with whether the word "Blind" had any negative or postive connotations when it was used in early 20th century stage names.

One thing I feel very certain of is that using the word "Blind" in a stage name nowadays would not be favorably accepted by most Americans {United States}


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 10:54 PM

Azizi. Come in, Azizi......


Blues names were meant to be...... unique. Wacky. Attention-grabbing. Funky. [feeling some frustration here]

How can I TELL you anything -- give you any information-- if you are ONLY going to pick apart HOW I phrase my answer????? Why do you think I usually just end with not communicating with you at all? It's.... it's like aversion-therapy every time I try, where I get a zap each time I make the effort.


Blues names often had ADJECTIVES. Look back over the historical record and tell us, what adjectives do YOU see?


EXAMPLES:

REV Gary Davis
BLIND Lemon Jefferson
BOOZOO Chavis
SISTER Rosettta Tharpe
BLIND BOYS of Alabama
BLIND BOYS of Mississippi
JAKELEG Pete
BIG Mama Thornton

Why is there the assumption that the names were imposed upon the bluesmen by some bad-ass oppressor? Can you not imagine that the bluesmen (and blueswomen BTW) may have CHOSEN their stage names?


Here, go see these threads and have some fun with the ideas there, and then see how you view the topic: Your BLUES NAME ... and 'Your Blues Name'

Or look here: http://www.facethemusicblues.com/cgi-bin/nameorama.pl ... Where you can create your own blues name by:
1. Physical (or metaphysical) Attribute
and
2. Geographical Location or First Name
and
3. Last Name (Presidential or otherwise)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 10:57 PM

.... Or if you really want to pick apart some blues oppression, or research blues naming, try GOOGLE:

Blues Name-O-Rama: Generate Your Own Blues NameEveryone who attends an FTM event adopts a blues persona for the occasion. To see what we mean, click away until you find a blues name that feels right. ...
www.facethemusicblues.com/cgi-bin/nameorama.pl - 14k - Cached - Similar pages

how to sing the bluesPersons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis. 19. Make your own Blues name ...
www.analogman.com/singblues.htm - 6k - Cached - Similar pages

The Blues Lifestyle Guide.Political correctness has now killed off infirmities or physical handicaps as handles for blues names. Blind Lemon Jefferson would be Visually Impaired ...
wossname.thingy.com/Singin%20the%20Blues.htm - 15k - Cached - Similar pages

Baby Names from Early Jazz and BluesOrigins and meanings of names used in jazz, blues and hokum songs from the first half of the 20th century, as well as the names of prominent jazz and blues ...
www.heptune.com/jazzname.html - 50k - Cached - Similar pages

Cobalt blue - overviewThe name "Cobalt blue" comes from Middle High German kobolt = an underground goblin (cobalt was thought to be detrimental to silver ores). ...
webexhibits.org/pigments/indiv/overview/coblue.html - 29k - Cached - Similar pages

RULES FOR THE BLUESYou can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction. 16. Some Blues names for women:. a) Sadie; b) Big Mama; c) Bessie ...
home.earthlink.net/~lex.alexander/blues.htm - 7k - Cached - Similar pages

IB Contest - create your own blues name « Innocent BystandersThose names just got the blues written all over em. So let's hear it IBers (and guest readers). What's your blues name? Oh, and since I know you're curious, ...
michaelscomments.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/ib-contest-create-your-own-blues-name/ - 61k - Cached - Similar pages

Good NIGHT!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 11:10 PM



Blues names

Before the onset of Political Correctness, many infirmities added considerable blues credibility to singers' names - particularly blindness as in Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell and Blind Boy Fuller.

There are no dyslexics in Blues folklore – that's because the great blues singers couldn't read sufficiently well to even make it to the foothills of dyslexia. This is a fact of life, not a slur – Muddy Waters was a truly great artist but couldn't read.

Political correctness has now killed off infirmities or physical handicaps as handles for blues names. Blind Lemon Jefferson would be Visually Impaired Jefferson nowadays. Peg Leg Howell may just about get away with "Prosthetic Pete" but don't hold your breath.


http://wossname.thingy.com/Singin%20the%20Blues.htm


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 11:13 PM

Here, make yourself REALLY nuts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues

~S~


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Nov 07 - 11:38 PM

Why is there the assumption that the names were imposed upon the bluesmen by some bad-ass oppressor? Can you not imagine that the bluesmen (and blueswomen BTW) may have CHOSEN their stage names?
-WYSIWYG

Susan, I did not assume that blues stage names were imposed on those artists by "some bad-ass oppressor" [singular]. :o(

Also I can imagine a lot of things, including that blues men and blues women chose or were given their names for all sorts of reasons, including those you mentioned, and others that you didn't mention such as titles or phrases from their songs.

With regard to your comments about the emotions that you feel when you attempt to converse with me, that is on you. Directing comments to me is your choice. No one is coercing you to do so.

Also, Susan, when I post on a Mudcat thread, if I preface my post to a specific person than I am "speaking" to that specific person.

If I don't address my comments to a specific person, then I am talking to those who are reading the thread now-both those who are active in the conversation and those who are "lurking" {"listening" in" on the conversation}.

At the same time in both instances-if I don't address my comments to a specific person-and if I do-I am also addressing my comments to those who might read them in the future {tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and so on}.

I consider this a side bar conversation, and as side bar conversations go, it may have its value. But I'm not going to continue this conversation with you Susan as I think it is detracting from the stated topics of this thread.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 09:13 AM

..and confusingly, there was "Blind Willie Dunn": actually white & sighted Eddie Lang, so named so he could play on record with black Lonnie Johnson and avoid segregation laws & get airplays.

RtS
Aka Bifocal Lime Clinton


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 09:20 AM

Jeff Healey.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 01:47 PM

Yesterday at 5:08 and 5:09 pm, Susan (WYSIWYG) and I posted almost simultaneously, and each gave prety much the same response to the same previous post. I mean, we used different words and all, but we were both coming from pretty much the same point of view.

Boy, and I ever glad that I logged off, left work, and then did not fire up my home computer to remain involved in this discussion!

I will take this opportunity, however, to endorse most of what Susan had to say in the ensuing catfight [pun intended]. But I won't add fuel to the fire by adding another word...


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 02:13 PM

I find "Political Correctness," however originally well-intended, has put too many of us in the position of damning our predecessors by present-day standards.

It is absolutely true that the words 'blind,' 'white,' 'black' or 'satchmo' would likely not appear as an qualifying appellation for any entertainer today. They were devices and identifiers once widely used, particularly in the rural south, and usually self-imposed.

In reading Josh White's biographical information, I saw that there were numerous such individuals, so named, moving about from Savannah to New Orleans, and north to Chicago. This was between the twenties and forties, primarily, and long before that. They were men who lived by their wits and their songs, as best they could. They left behind a musical legacy for us to enjoy. Since I can't go back and repair their condition, I will simply remember them, enjoy their songs and try to work on making our world a better place for their descendents.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 02:23 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 03:18 PM

Poppagator, for the record, I want to take this opportunity to say that I recognize that my raising the issue in this thread of singular or plural referents for African American peoples was
off-topic. Though I stand by the points I raised, it was inappropriate to raise those points at that time. I've attempted to apologize to Susan and I hereby apologize to the rest of this thread's readers for changing the discussion topic.

I started reading and posting to this thread as a means of learning more about the custom of affixing the descriptor "blind" to Blues singers' names.

I recognize that my questions/comments about this topic are more in keeping with the Blind Blues Singer thread that Doc John started, though there were comments in this thread-mostly by weelittledrummer-that address the efficacy of using "blind" in Blues musicians' and Blues singers' names.

For the record [no pun intended], I don't like the practice of adding "blind" to the names of Blues-or Gospel-singers/musicians. It seems to me that nowadays, many people who are seeing impaired would take exception to the contemporary use of such names. And I believe they would be right to do so. However, I understand that times & customs and attitudes change, and what folks thought about such a custom in the past may have been different than what folks think about the same custom in the present.

I asked questions about this as a means of ascertaining whether folks in past decades routinely identified artists and non-artists by referencing those people's physical disabilities. It appears that this may have been the case. I gather from your comment and Susan's comment that you noted that it's your position that you believe that early 20th century Blues and gospel artists who were blind didn't have any problem with being referred to by their disability. However, if that was the case, I'm curious about why it was so and whether that cutom was race based [meaning whether "Blind" was only used in the names of Black Blues and/or Black Gospel artists].

Perhaps people did it just because it was the custom. And maybe this custom came about simply because by happenchance some of the best early Bluesmen/Gospel singers were blind, in part because of their talent/skill and also in part because of the reason that Susan gave in her 26 Nov 07 - 11:37 AM post to this thread-
that "itinerant musician" was one career open to blind people".

Given the stellar reputation of certain blind Bluesmen/Gospel singers, maybe other vision impaired Blues/Gospel singers took to marketing themselves as blind to piggyback on this reputation and help themselves be better known to people who might attend their concerts...

****

Again {and this directed to all those reading this thread} I apology for my part in the exchange in this thread that Poppagator called a "catfight".

I'm still interested in learning more about the topic of blind Blues singers and will continue to read-and perhaps will continue to post to this thread.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 03:19 PM

For what it's worth, I posted my comment before reading GUEST,TJ in San Diego's post.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 03:58 PM

Azizi, if you will look at my posts from last night again, you will see some information about the naming of Blues artists.

~Big Mama Sugar Dog Hinton


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: PoppaGator
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 04:00 PM

I almost hesitated to use the word "catfight," but once it had occurred to me, couldn't help myself. My excuse (how I justified it to myself) is that all of this discussion is taking place at a site called "mudcat," hopefully making the usage a bit more acceptable, as a sort of pun.

I was and still am fully aware that the word I used has politically-incorrect gender-based implications. I typed it anyway, figuring we're all mature enough, and comfortable enough with each other, to laugh it off.

I believe we have already established that the very common practice of appending the word "Blind" to the front-end of a performer's (or a group's!) name/stage-name was never exclusive to Black artists, although it may have been less commonly used among White ones.

I would also point out that the practice was pretty much restricted to a certain historical era and is no longer common. I'll concede that The "Blind Boys" of both Alabama and Mississippi still perform under their justly-well-established names, but they're hardly "boys" anymore; they're all very old men, and the names of their groups date back to a bygone era. (And, for anyone especially sensitive to potentially offensive identification of individuals, wouldn't the word "boys" be MORE offensive than the word "blind"?)

Since one Ray C. Robinson got himself famous under the name "Ray Charles" ~ and NOT "Blind Ray Charles" or "Blind Ray Robinson" ~ the practice of including the modifier "blind" in strage names seems to have come to an end. Bit that doesn't mean we need to condemn those who followed that practice in earlier years.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:26 PM

I've attempted to apologize to Susan

It was a very nice apology (accepted), as well as proactively offered, and I also apologize for the amount of personal energy that went into my replies in the effort to answer the questions that were raised.... I know that some people get really, really nervous/tense/worried when it looks like I'm "going after" Azizi-- I've had PMs about this in the past.

I believe that to be less than authentic with someone, out of a concern that my words will be mistaken for racism, is, itself, racist-- I believe that when you really respect someone, as a person, as I respect Azizi, you don't tippytoe around "the color line"-- because if you do, what you are seeing is not the person, but the line. Of course we all do our best to be as gracious in our honesty as possible. But what's possible, I think, is a variable, not an absolute. (Would I like to do better next time? Of course.)

So again, as I often confess-- I am sorry I am not perfect. :~) What you see is what you get, though, not tippytoed BS.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,guy wolff
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:07 PM

Im with Jim Krause in loving Blind Blake . That vidio by Woody Mann he was aftyer is available from Stefon Grossman at :

http://guitarvideos.com/video/dvd/801dvd.htm


All the best Guy Wolff


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 02:42 PM

Hi Aziz,
I did start a similar thread to yours as I hadn't seen it then. Fortunately someone revived it. Thanks
Like you I'm curious about the 'Blind' name: was it used by the singer or by the record companies. Usually it seems to be 'Blind First name Surname' but then there's 'Blind Blake' whose first name is never used. I think he says it's Arthur on one of his recordings. I seem to remember when Sonny Terry first arrived in the UK he was never called Blind Sonny Terry. Then there is the now very unaccepatable 'Crippled Clarence'. If you browse the Document catalogue you'll find that John Bray has a very non pc nick name!
Doc John


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 03:12 PM

Hello, Doc John. I'm glad you found this thread. I need to correct your statement that this is my thread. I've been a poster to this thread. However, the person who started this thread is the Mudcatter whose tag name is "Leadbelly" [See thefirst post to this thread.]

You mentioned the name "Crippled Clarence" and I googled that name since I hadn't heard of that performer before. Here's an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cripple_Clarence_Lofton :

"Cripple Clarence Lofton (March 28, 1887 - January 9, 1957) was born Albert Clemens in Kingsport, Tennessee. Though he was born with a limp (from which he derived his stage name), Clarence actually started his career as a tap-dancer. This was not his true calling, and he showed his true talent in the blues craze known as boogie-woogie and moved on to perform in Chicago"

Most of his songs were twelve-bar blues to which Lofton brought a unique excitement by dropping bars and portions of bars to end up with nine-, ten-, or eleven-bar blues songs.

With such a unique style, it wasn't long until Clarence found himself a mainstay in his genre. His first recording was in the month of April with another local success Big Bill Broonzy for Vocalion Records. He later went on to own the Big Apple nightclub in Chicago and continued to record well into the late 1940s, when he retired..."


-snip-

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there used to be a facility called The Home For Crippled Children". It's been at least 15 years if not more that that facility has changed its' name to "The Children's Rehabilitation Center" .

Attitudes have changed about the appropriateness of describing individuals by referring to their disabilities.

Thank goodness.


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Nov 07 - 05:44 PM

Well, I don't get all that bogged down with the politcis of performing names... But with that said, it does seem to be a Southern "thang"...

People in the South love their nicknames, be they individual, like Tater, Tinker, Bubba, etc... or general, like Honey, Farling, Sweetie...

So it isn't a surprise that many bluesmen took on "cute" stage names... I mean, they weren't/aren't like TV wrestler's stage/performing name... They are cute... Not agressive... Catchy... Yeah, okay sometimes a tad plageristic but, hey???

So in honoring the spirit of the blues, I allowed myself to be pegged "Sidewalk Bob"... Okay, it ain't really plageristic but it is cute, non-agressive and I think follows the rules purdy well...

I mean, lets get real here for aminute... The blues is fun music and joyous music and, for the most part, light music and so are the perfroming names... Be it "Blind", "Guitar", "Magic", "Rev" or whatever...

Sidewalk Bob (Bobert)


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: GUEST,dry bones band
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 12:02 AM

Out of Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, and Blind Willie Johnson (am I forgetting someone?) it would be hard to choose. I was thinking about this lately, after listening to Johnson closely for the past week or so, and then listening to McTell and Jefferson and Blake. Damn they're all so good. To me that's creative genius, and a sad American story to boot, reading about how Johnson and Jefferson died and seeing how their accomplishments were largely overlooked in their day.
Blind Willie Johnson's voice is really something -- even Howlin Wolf doesn't match it for power and Johnson has a light touch, too, when he wants to use it. For guitar virtuoso Blake and McTell really shine -- but they sing with a more sophisticated, popular approach, I'd say. The mix used back then, with the vocals way up in front and the perfect acoustic guitar playing used for color and drive, as opposed to having the guitars up front seeming to say, look what I can do, has really been lost. Lemon Jefferson might be the greatest artist -- his quirky playing is a marvel and his singing and his lyrics -- did you ever hear that coffin sound (or coughin) -- believe to my soul that woman's gonna voodoo me -- my mind left me took a trip down south and so on. . .
Well these were great American artists and they should be studied in schools and taught to school children . . .


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Subject: RE: Blind Blues singers
From: Doc John
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 02:03 PM

From Bob's comments, I guess we can assume that nicknames were simply normal in the south in the times we're talking about; this was certainly the case in the prisons where we have 'Iron Head', 'Clear Rock', 'Flat Foot', 'Gar Mouth', 'Jay Bird', 'Sin Killer', 'Fat Head' etc. I won't give you John Bray's nickname I alluded to above; has anyone checked this? Some of these suggest physical characteristics like 'Blind', 'Crippled', 'Fatty', 'Stump' but although we find such names unaaceptable now, it doesn't mean that this was the case then, or will necessarily be in the future.
Dry bone, yes I too think those four were the greatest and, interesting, all very different in style. How Blind Blake played like he did is truely amazing and, considering he played with well known musician like Johnny Dodds, it's also amazing we don't know who he was.
Doc John


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