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Forum nameThe Lesson
Topic subjectwell, it's understandable there are no videos from the 1930s
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=5&topic_id=2670695&mesg_id=2671121
2671121, well, it's understandable there are no videos from the 1930s
Posted by lonesome_d, Thu Mar-08-12 12:10 AM
>the videos though ..even though particuarly this one wasn't
>necessarily from his prime time in life in general

while Son House was an important and influential regional figure, he never had cachet in the blues record market until the revivalists got hold of his records in the 1950s. Those 1941/42 records were recorded in the back of the country store, for Pete's sake.

>seeing him play...I mean his style of play really required a
>level of physical dexterity..... Dude was like a one man band
>by himself.... that fingering with the left hand he's doing
>sounds like a group of violins in an orchestra playing real
>soft in the background .... with the left hand he's like
>setting up anticipation for the next line in the song

Some of that comes from his open tuning... not sure what he used there but I suspect it's an analogue of open G or D.

But yeah, his fluency is pretty amazing considering he basically took two decades off playing. The rockist legend about how ole boy from Canned Heat 'taught Son House how to play Son House' is pretty much debunked, but (as did a lot of other blues figures) he suffered from hand ailments and did have to re-learn quite a bit. If you compare the early records to the revival period records, there's a clear difference in what you could call the directness of his guitar attack, while conversely his vocals remained just as intense, and possibly got moreso.

>a lot going on for just one man sitting there with guitar...

yeah, but in actuality, it's how much he's accomplishing with how little actual playing that's the amazing part.

>mean you hear that(and see it witht he artists where video is
>available) but I'm not sure if any of the Blues artists have
>complete package and prolific playing like he does....
>Arguably 2 of the guys who came closest, Muddy Waters and
>Robert Johnson....Son House fathered their style....lol

Yes and no... Both of those guys borrowed from all over, and Muddy's favorite band was actually the Mississippi Shieks according to most histories/interviews I've read (though he also described Son House as the King, or some similar superlative). That 'Escaping the Delta' book has an outstanding middle section where the author breaks down where the elements of each of Johnson's songs come from, and it's fairly eye-opening to read it and youtube all the songs he references... the borrowings are plain as day, for the most part, once you can hear them.

But it IS cool listening to the recordings Lomax made of House w/band I mention above, and Muddy w/string band (released as The Complete Plantation Sessions, with Son Simms on fiddle) on either the same two trips or different trips those same years.

And there are tons of country blues guys who only made a few records who were 'the complete package' that way... GP will back Skip James all the way, and my money's on John Hurt, but there's also guys like Bill Broonzy, Sleepy John Estes, Furry Lewis, the little-known Tommy McClennan, and even major period stars like Josh White, Kokomo Arnold, a bunch of the blind guys... there was a huge range in pre-war blues sounds and styles that often gets glossed over in the search for Handy's apocryphal knife-slide player.