1. I wasn’t sure how to react to this guy at first. His affectation bothered me at first, but he can sure play and sing like an mf’er. By the end of the interview, I guess he won me over. He must have done more than “learn from a book,” unless that was one seriously rare-edition book. Where can I get me a copy? At Ol’ Scratch’s Crossroads Books & Tapes?

  2. Mike

    Yeah the put-on accent is a bit much. There seems to be a lot of that nowadays where contemporary musicians playing pre-war folk have to act like they’re from 1925, I don’t really get it. A guy out of Australia named CW Stoneking is doing the same thing. Just wish more of these talented people could put more of their own 20th/21st century actual personalities into their reviving & recreation of this music. The great revivalists have one foot in the past & one foot securely in the present. Otherwise it’s just nostalgia, an entertaining history lesson.

  3. I agree with you, but sometimes its not so clear what’s real and what’s not real. How do you feel about Jack Elliott and how he developed as an artist and performer?

  4. Mike

    I’m not very familiar with Jack’s work . . . but I will say that I agree with Lonnie Donegan, in essence, when he asked why he would listen to J. Elliot when all he was doing was a Woody Guthrie impression: ‘I can do that!’ Donegan stated. You are absolutely right that it is not so clear who is putting you on. After reading Dylan’s vol. 1 chronicles I got the impression, for the first time, that he has been a series of characters over the years, changing hats when it suited his taste. But Dylan was able to back all this up with great songwriting & performing & of course has created this hodge-podge character known as B. Dylan.
    I do think that today’s revivalists HAVE to listen to the original recordings of this music. Contemporary String Bands who learn their repertoire from ‘Old Crow Medecine Show’ or any other current act solely are pretty irrelevant. Younger players ask me where I get all these old tunes & I keep trying to direct them to the original artists & recordings which are, as you know, often available for free on the internet. Intial efforts to copy this material will turn into a genuine familiarity with it. Curiosity & an honest & eager appraisal of yourself & your relationship with this music will make more good music of a similar mold. I guess.

  5. Ed Morgan

    Yeah, I found the affectations awkward and perhaps even a little off putting. But there may be some reasons for all that. First off, the kid is still extremely young. At that age a lot of us (my self for certain!) were prey to all sorts of affectation and invention. As that other great impersonator, Bob Dylan, would say: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Not to be a bleeding heart, but being an overweight, visually impaired child growing up in Watts could not have been a particularly pleasant experience. It must have been a fairly lonely, insular existence. I’m sure he spent countless hours not only becoming musically proficient but also reimagining himself. The New York revivalist scene is predominately white, well educated, and fairly socially sophisticated. I’m not sure that the whole act isn’t something of a coping mechanism.

    When I listen to him play the passion for the music shines through and it trumps any of my reservations. When I listen to him play I just think – what a marvelous invention!

  6. Chad S

    It is not impossible that a family, transplanted from the South to the West Coast, wouldn’t hold onto that southern charm and accent, whereby the children and grand children would also carry on the ‘affectation’. Sometimes when you dig deep into a subculture is hard not pick all it’s inflections and characteristics. I mean shit, at 41, after watching a bunch of British comedy for weeks on end, I find myself using the slang I;m hearing. Dude has some serious chops and serious passion for this old and beautiful music.

    Dylan, meh.

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