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Thread: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

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    Default You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Here's a powerful documentary about the last of the original Mississippi Delta blues players. Some of these guys were around with Robert Johnson, and played bars with Fred McDowell. They lived most of their lives in obscurity until being rediscovered in their old age, but their music packs a hell of a punch and shows why the blues was so influential over so many modern genres.



    The music packs a punch, is even hypnotic, and the back story into these guys' lives sheds some light on why it's so impossible to reproduce in a studio. The feeling comes from the way these guys lived. You'll hear in the documentary how some of them killed people in fights, stabbings, shootings, one of the guys lost a testicle from being beaten by his dad as a child. These people are from another time and place in American history, but their outsized musical influence on the rest of the country is undeniable.

    I hope y'all give this a watch and enjoy it as much as I did. These guys may all be poor and dirty, but I'd feel much more at home having a beer with them than any of the commercial musicians you see or hear promoted in MSM today. These guys were the real deal.

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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Excellent! I grew up in the inner city of Buffalo, NY, self-taught myself the drums and became fully entrenched in a culture similar to the one depicted in this video. Brought back many great memories along with the grassroots wisdom I picked up along the way.

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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    That’s some real blues right there man.
    Never give up on your silly, silly dreams.

    You mustn't be afraid to dream a little BIGGER, darling.

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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Awesome documentary.
    Happened to run across this recently, Furry Lewis in the middle of an also awesome Leon Russell Homewood Session documentary that really captures the reverence for real music at the time to me.

    Furry Lewis, 1970

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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    JJ Cale with Leon Russel at The Paradise studio
    He Influenced many.--very laid back.
    Chris

    https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/yh...9&action=click
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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Quote Posted by greybeard (here)
    JJ Cale with Leon Russel at The Paradise studio
    He Influenced many.--very laid back.
    Chris

    https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/yh...9&action=click
    Very nice Greybeard. There's a healthy dose of jazz influence in there too, and some country-western and rock. I see that set's from 1979. Already a very well-developed sound.

    Jazz doesn't get mentioned in that documentary, but of course it was already developing early in the 1900s along the Mississippi in cities like New Orleans. I guess the only real difference is that people like Louis Armstrong got all of that started with brass instruments instead of guitars! The swinging rhythms and pentatonic harmonics are heavy in both styles though.


    Here are a few of my favorite gems from You See Me Laughin for those who don't have the hour to watch it:


    Cedell Davis:
    • Cedell Davis was wheelchair-bound, with a crippled left hand and arm, and used a butter knife to hold the frets down on his guitar. He suffered from polio earlier in his life, and later was stampeded by a crowd after a gun was brought into a bar, and broke his leg in several places, further crippling him.
    • Despite all of his physical handicaps, even the bad hand, he kept playing guitar anyway, using that butter knife.
    • His mother, like many religious people of that time, thought the blues was evil. She told him not to play the blues.
    • "She said you'll die and go to hell if you play the blues. And I know when I die I'm going to die and go to hell anyway."

    R.L. Burnside:
    • Burnside learned to play guitar by following blues legend Fred McDowell around to bars and playing for free drinks. He said they might get $3 in a night (probably at least $20 in today's money, maybe a little more), and they'd have to borrow it from people to even get that much.
    • His family moved to Chicago for a few months to look for better work, where he met Muddy Waters. Burnside moved back to Mississippi after his father, two brothers, and his uncle were all murdered in inner-city violence within only a few months, less than a year.
    • "Ain't no way I would live there now man."
    • Burnside once beat a man out of about $400 gambling, when the dollar was still worth a lot more. The man was angry and came after Burnside, and Burnside shot him three times around the head and neck. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison but only served 6 months because he worked for a "big man" around town who had pull with the judge.
    • "The judge asked me, you know, 'R.L., did you shoot him in self-defense?' I said 'No, sir. I shot him in the leg and he jumped da fence!'"
    • "I didn't kill him. I just shot him. I told him that was up to him and the Lord, about dyin', you know."
    • When asked if he served the devil: "A lot of people serve the devil, but they always call on the Lord."

    T-Model Ford:
    • Another blues player that grew up around bar fights and gambling.
    • "I kilt a man. He cut me and I cut him back. You know, I wasn't nothin but a young man, eighteen years old then."
    • "I felt like a hot piece of iron when it went in my back."
    • T-Model ran home to his father before police arrived, and his father gave him two quilts to cover and hide in a ditch. With his fresh stab wound, T-Model hid in that ditch for two days and nights before he went off to prison and served in a chain gang for some time.
    • "It made a good man out of old T-Model though, after thinkin about all that."



    R.L Burnside seems to have had the most commercial success after these guys were rediscovered. He's my personal favorite of the group too.









    Some other legends that died before this documentary was made:










    And all of that blues is where we finally got this, setting many other things in motion:


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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    JJ Lou-easy Ann
    He did quite a few blues inspired songs.
    Clapton had big hits with After Midnight and Cocaine,





    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JvyxKJToJs


    Clapton maintained that JJ was a better guitarist than him.

    Accepting that those in the opening video were the forerunners for music by many.

    Chris
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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Robert Johnson was a great inspiration to Clapton.
    Cream did a great version of Crossroads
    Jack Bruce an amazing bass player who had quite an influence on my bass playing.

    I was fortunate to grow up playing this kind of music.
    chris

    From their reunion concert.

    Last edited by greybeard; 22nd December 2018 at 21:15.
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    Default Re: You See Me Laughin - Last of the original blues men

    Quote Posted by greybeard (here)
    Robert Johnson was a great inspiration to Clapton.
    Here's Clapton explaining Johnson's cross-tempo style and how difficult it is to imitate:




    Here's a playlist of a whole album that Clapton put together as a tribute to Robert Johnson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENbU...HpBF8OJRMrxVHG

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