Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

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Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby lightninboy » Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:30 pm

Just finished this book.
Its a different take on the formation of the blues.
I'm not sure if I agree with all of it, but it was an interesting read.
Anyone else read it?
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby ricochet » Mon Oct 10, 2005 7:22 pm

Yep. Good book.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby grady » Mon Oct 10, 2005 7:54 pm

I've got it a couple years ago but,,,I never did get past the first couple of Chapters.
I'm not much of a reader.

I think I'll wait for the DVD.....LOL !!
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby panhead74 » Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:41 am

I checked it out of my Public Library a few weeks ago...pretty cool...I hadn't been in a library in years! They STILL will give you a book for FREE, if you promise to bring it back! What a GREAT public institution! I've actually been back several times...MUCH cheaper than Barnes and Noble, and just as big a selection...

But I digress...

I really enjoyed "Escaping the Delta". I'd never really thought of the early country blues in the manner that Wald presented them. I have been haunted by this music since I was a teenager, and always felt that the early "masters" - Sleepy John, RJ, Blind Lemon, Blind Willie, Tampa Red (my personal favorite) et al. - were somehow "speaking to me" across the decades. Country/Delta Blues is playing in my brain when I go to sleep, and it's there when I wake up; I mean HAUNTED!

Having put these guys on that kind of pedestal, it's kind of eerie to accept Wald's hypothesis that they were playing all kinds of music trying to make a living, and they only got "pigeon-holed" as BLUES musicians because that's what their most famous recordings are (did you SEE the catalogue of Big Bill Broonzy covers?)

It also kind of blew me away to realize (as Wald pointed out) that when Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayall etc. were "discovering" the blues in the early 1960's (especially RJ's "King of the Delta Blues Singers"), they were embracing a relatively obscure musical form that had been recorded fewer than thirty years earlier. Wald said it would be like someone today "rediscovering" DISCO!

Whew!!

It's easy to see why a lot of blues "purists" didn't like this work, but I bought into Walds theories, hook line and sinker...and reading this book hasn't exorcized the haunting for me (thankfully).
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby lightninboy » Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:45 am

I agree Panhead.
(I got my copy from the library too, as well as some CD's,,,Yippee!)

It's supprising that a lot of blues greats were actually playing mainly covers at gigs, but when it came time to record, the producers only wanted original blues, so some were labeled blues artists when they were really just artists.

Also, that a lot of Delta players had a bag full of tunes and mix and matched them to different sets of lyrics.
It makes sense, especially when he (Wald)said that Elmore James may have heard RJ performing Dust My Broom live somewhere, but to the music of Rambling On My Mind, with slide!

I'm careful what I believe when I read anything.
However, Wald gave an insight into the early years of the blues that I really enjoyed.
Also, he may of helped me make more money.
I feel better about playing a few pop covers thrown in with the fairly strict blues repertoire that I (we) have.
Gotta please the punters!
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby stumblin » Tue Oct 11, 2005 6:10 am

It's a great read.
Here's some of our previous discussion on the subject (including links to even earlier threads): http://www.bigroadblues.com/cgi/dcforum ... DCForumID2
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby blueswriter » Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:41 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Oct-12-05 AT 12:49 PM (EST)]Grady said:

I've got it a couple years ago but,,,I never did get past
the first couple of Chapters. I'm not much of a reader.


You must have snagged your copy before Elijah Wald finished it and sent it off to the publishers. I think it first saw the light of day in 2004.
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby jeffl » Wed Oct 12, 2005 4:59 pm

BW: Grady's prob'ly jus' gettin' old. The older you get,the less you can figure how far back somethin' occurred. I'm terrible that way,and Grady's gettin' some miles piled up on him- eh,Grady...?
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby grady » Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:32 pm

That's exactly right Bubba,,,,LOL!!

When it comes to the Blues,,,I'm more of a "player" than a "reader".

I guess I got that book around the same time I got that 1942 Gibson L-00 so,,,it would've been sometime last Summer.

Oh well,,,##### happens

I guess now I can change my excuse to,,,"I haven't had the book long enough to get around to finishing it",,,,LOL !!

I'm still waiting for the DVD
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby ricochet » Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:44 pm

>I guess now I can change my excuse to,,,"I haven't had the
>book long enough to get around to finishing it",,,,LOL !!

Check out that deathclock.com page and see if you might get 'er done.


"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby panhead74 » Wed Oct 12, 2005 11:14 pm

Even having read the book, I'm with Grady. I'd part with a bunch of dead presidents if a DVD came out.
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RE: Escaping The Delta-Elijah Wald

Postby johnny66 » Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:21 am

Personally, I think the book is required reading for anyone who wants to hold an (extended) opinion on Robert Johnson and his place in blues history/blues scholarship.

It's a masterful book, and Wald is truly humble in his attempts to give Johnson his place whilst allowing the light to be placed upon others (from whom Johnson liberally 'borrowed').
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