Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

A discussion of the blues for blues lovers and fans.

Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby DonnyK » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:02 pm

Just read this Image

Was a very good read, I was planning on reading the book "Spinning Blues Into Gold" Image

However, despite the massive impact the Chess brothers had on the blues, I just don't want to read a book that I imagine will glorify their contribution. Willie Dixon got extorted something chronic by these guys. There may be an argument that that was then and it has to be seen in the context of the socio-economic economy of the time. But I don't buy that. I also believe that if it wasn't the Chess brothers, it would have been someone else. There was a huge market for the blues and anyone who could see past black would have seen that blues equalled green. Would any other person who would have been Chess have ripped off the artists so much, most probably. However, I don't have to read about them - and that's my point!

I did pick up something in a comment made by Buddy Guy which I think highlighted another side to Dixon. For all the waxing lyrical about Dixon as a performer, producer, songwriter etc, Buddy Guy stated something along the lines of "Willie Dixon was interested - if he'd wrote it" with the heavy implication that if he hadn't, you wouldn't have had much time from him. That's a bit shit, but, the man had to make his money.

Also, I've always been proud - as a white Englishman - of our contribution to the blues and it's recognition and regeneration. Particularly considering the race divide aspect. However, Dixon believed England to not be all that different to the American treatment of black people at that time. Maybe not treatment per se, but perception. At least in comparison to the rest of Europe which he spoke far more highly of. Bit of a dent in my beliefs.

Although Champion Jack Dupree stayed over here, so I think we were definitely better than at least he was used to.

Anyway, just some of my impressions and thoughts on the book.

I highly recommend - as I'm sure many others on here would to.

Next, I'm either reading:

Image

or

Image

or something a bit trashier:

Image
User avatar
DonnyK
Regular
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby Stackabones » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:55 am

I'd recommend Escaping the Delta. It'll rearrange your blues paradigm. :wink:
Stackabones
Regular
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:50 pm

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby k1w1 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:27 am

I found Escaping The Delta very good, it looked at all the influences he had, how he used them, and some of the social aspects at the time, and if you get the accompanying CD that is great as well. Must dig it out and re read it.

Another good read was Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray, very comprehensive, a really good biography.
k1w1
Regular
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:40 am
Location: Tairua New Zealand

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby Ben Covington » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:32 am

WILLIE DIXON: PREACHER OF THE BLUES. Hardcover, Scarecrow, 432pp., by Mitsutoshi Inaba

This was scheduled to be published sometime this year. It has been researched in conjunction with Marie Dixon.
Ben Covington
Regular
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:20 am
Location: Southern England

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby Disciple » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:47 pm

I personally think that Willie was at least as important to the Chicago Blues and everything that followed as Muddy. He is the perfect example in the blues world not unlike Ron Sexsmith or Hoyt Axton or maybe Ry Cooder. Not that these guys are straight blues players but each has earth moving musical abilities but just not typical charismatic frontmen with commercial appeal.

I'd say the primary reason he's not as well known or as highly regarded is simply that Muddy was a guitar player who always fronted the band in the tradition of a "bluesman" where as Willie was more involved with writing producing and foundational stuff like that.

Take Willie Dixon out of the scene and a huge portion of the Chess output changes dramatically or doesn't happen at all. The impact on Muddy's work by Willie Dixon is akin to any of the much more famous collaborators throughout music history.

Possibly the saddest and ironically "bluesiest" stories in all of the modern commercial blues history. Willie was easily on scale with any of the much more prevalent names yet he gets little notice and only briefly enjoyed and sort of financial stability during his life.

I'm definitely going to read more on his contribution. Certainly without doubt a true modern hero in my opinion.
Disciple
Regular
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:34 am
Location: Haliburton

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby Ben Covington » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:35 pm

Ben Covington wrote:WILLIE DIXON: PREACHER OF THE BLUES. Hardcover, Scarecrow, 432pp., by Mitsutoshi Inaba

This was scheduled to be published sometime this year. It has been researched in conjunction with Marie Dixon.
This has now been published at the somewhat extortionate price of $55/£50, though Amazon US/UK might have it cheaper!
Ben Covington
Regular
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:20 am
Location: Southern England

Re: Willie Dixon - I Am The Blues

Postby goldbrick » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:20 pm

Read the comments of lots of the Chicago blues guys and they called Dixon , a bully , a jerk and not a fun person to deal with. He was a very mediocre performer as a front man but a great studio guy and terrific song writer

Weren't the proud white englishman the guys who brought the africans here??
Kinda like the spanish who now glorify Flamenco that was started by Moors, Jews and Gypsys that they enjoyed torturing during the Inquisition ( Nooo one expects a spanish Inquisition)

Everybody has their flaws. Muddy loved the Chess brothers and realized with out their backing he'd be playing house parties and you probably would have never heard of him
As a musician you need promotion and like it or not everybody wants to sign the contract and bitch about it later

In the days before the internet-you neeeded your Chess brothers, King records, Brian Epsteins, Andrew Loog Oldhams, Sam Phillips, maicolm maclaren , Berry Gordy, Chris Blackwell, Coxsone Dodd, duke reid , Death row Records ( wow some of those exploiters were even, gulp, black)
Even Vincent needed Theo and Michaelangelo needed the vatican

Read the Chess book and maybe you will find they weren't as exploitive as you wanna believe :shock:
goldbrick
Regular
 
Posts: 821
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:34 am
Location: Miami


Return to Talking Blues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest

cron