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Thread: Early Blues Mandolin

  1. #26
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Blues Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    Not by Steve James. The CD is by Johnny Young. Called Johnny Young and friends.
    Thanks, wilkamm. I have and enjoy Johnny Young and Friends. Steve James usually plays guitar, with one or two mandolin pieces per CD; I was hoping there was a James record with more mandolin tunes.
    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.

  2. #27
    Registered User Bert Deivert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Blues Mandolin

    When i decided to learn how to actually play blues mandolin in 2004 I sat down and listened to Yank Rachell's recordings for 2 years and jammed with them. I also listened to Carl Martin, Johnny Young, and Howard Armstrong. For me Yank was the influence that I wanted to pursue. I had heard his album with Sleepy John - BROKE AND HUNGRY - on Delmark in 1973 and it was in my head all those years. I got in touch with all the people that I could find on the internet who had recently made albums FEATURING blues mandolin, that is most tracks using the mandolin as a blues instrument. At the time, that was Jimi Hocking in Australia, and Rich DelGrosso and Billy Flynn in the US. I also talked to other players like Jim Richter and discovered more along the way. I am sure there are a number I have never heard of that are out there too! :-) Ry Cooder, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Steve James and others play a few tunes on albums with mandolin but haven't done full albums with it yet, which I hope they will do! Listen to them. Rich DelGrosso's book "Mandolin Blues: From Memphis to Maxwell Street" is a great resource for pictures, lists of albums, history, and ideas for playing. Italian player Lino Muoio has produced several albums in recent years featuring blues mandolin and there are a number of players around who are up and coming, so join the gang on a mission to save blues mandolin playing! Good luck with it. Blues mandolin musicians tend to be nice, so ask questions and be polite! I did a tour with Jimi Hocking and gigs with Rich DelGrosso because of my contacts in wanting to learn more about the music. There are so few of us doing this that it is nice to hear from others interested in it! I am working now on my 5th album featuring blues mandolin, together with Mississippi guitarist and singer Libby Rae Watson who was Sam Chatmon's friend and protegé. Sam's music fits right into this whole picture because of his work with the Mississippi Sheiks and others. String band and jug band music is part of the blues mandolin tradition. Listen to the old stuff and then look for the new stuff and get a feel for where you want to go with your playing. Make the music your own.
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