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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2

    Thanks to everyone who responded to "Blues, Stomps, and Rags #1".

    Perhaps the most influential blues mandolinist was James "Yank" Rachell, an early blues singer and player. He began playing acoustic mandolin and later became master of the electric mandolin, playing hard-driving, Chicago-style, blues. He first recorded in 1928, and made his last recording in 1997. Despite stereotypes of the "blues lifestyle", Yank was by all accounts a nice fellow, a dependable husband, and a responsible father -- self-destructive "rogues and ramblin' men" don't usually spend 73 years playing professionally (not without breaks, though), nor do they live to play in bands with their adult granddaughters, as Yank did. Richard Congress wrote Yank's biography, Blues Mandolin Man, which is worth reading.

    Here's Yank Rachell in his old age playing "Starvation in My Kitchen" -- the visual quality is poor, but you can see his hands as he plays.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTW8OXTamos




    And, just for fun, here's Yank from the enjoyable documentary, "Louie Bluie" (available on YouTube, in my country at least) explaining how he got started with mandolin.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Iye8Y-7NI


    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2

    Learning to play Yank Rachell style:

    I forgot to say that Yank's music is well covered in teaching books and DVD's. Joe Carr teaches Yank's style in School of Mandolin: Blues, with MP3's. Steve James teaches a Yank Rachell tune, along with other tunes, on each of his two "Learn to Play Blues Mandolin" DVD's. Rich DelGrosso teaches Yank's style and a couple of his tunes in his book with CD, Mandolin Blues.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #2

    The pig and the mandolin is a great story. My family has a similar story but in reverse.
    Apparently my Granny (sometime in the early1930s) owned a mandolin and one day my father, who must have been a bit of a lad in his youth, got hold of it. He took it to the local market and swapped it for a snake which he brought home to keep as a pet and frighten his little sisters.
    Granny reacted in the same way Yank's mother did. She was furious and made him take the snake back where he got it.As for the mandolin, my aunt, who told me the story, did not know what became of it.

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