featuring the music of Mississippi John Hurt, Ed Bell, Furry Lewis, Memphis Minnie, Tom Dickson, Robert Wilkins, Julius Daniels, Blind Blake, Luke Jordan, Buddy Moss, Geeshie Wiley, Tommy Johnson, Walter Vinson, Bo Carter, Otis Harris and Lil' Son Jackson
“In selecting the performances for inclusion in this book, I have tried to get a variety of musical approaches and sounds. There are songs with a very pared-back chordal vocabulary, like Ed Bell's ‘Mean Conductor Blues’ and others, like Bo Carter's ‘Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me’ with a sophistication that is jazz-influenced. In addition, I've selected the music of players from a variety of locales, since in the early years of the Country Blues, musical styles were often region-specific; so we have here players from Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
Having a CD with the book that includes all the original performances that I used to perform the transcriptions presented here is not only an invaluable learning tool, it offers you the prospect of hours of listening pleasure, as you get acquainted with the songs and get the sound in your head. I can't emphasize enough what an essential part listening plays in learning this style. It provides you with models to shoot for in your own performances of the music, but also a much broader sense of the musical style and all that it encompasses.” – John Miller
Titles include: MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT Stack O'Lee, Blessed Be The Name, Big Leg Blues ED BELL Mean Conductor Blues FURRY LEWIS I Will Turn Your Money Green, Big Chief Blues MEMPHIS MINNIE Reachin' Pete TOM DICKSON Happy Blues ROBERT WILKINS I Do Blues, I'll Go With Her JULIUS DANIELS 99 Year Blues BLIND BLAKE Doin' A Stretch LUKE JORDAN Church Bells Blues BUDDY MOSS New Lovin' Blues, Insane Blues GEESHIE WILEY Eagle's On A Half TOMMY JOHNSON Slidin' Delta WALTER VINSON Overtime Blues BO CARTER My Baby, Cigarette Blues, Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me, Policy Blues OTIS HARRIS You Like My Lovin' LIL' SON JACKSON Groundhog Blues
Level 2/3 • 120 pages • 1 CD
Review: This is a great book if you love the old country blues. It has commentary about the various artists and their styles, it has words to the songs, plus standard notation, tab, and chords. The only thing missing (especially given that the words are provided) is a vocal melody line. Otherwise it would be the most comprehensive book of its kind, at least that I have found so far. Oh and it has a CD with the original recordings. So 9.5/10 Mr Miller. Great job. - Gordon/Amazon Customer Review
Review: Fresh Blues Stuff For The Guitar Picker. If anyone can penetrate the hiss, crackle and pop of most of the pre-war country blues recordings and, furthermore, write up a lucid and near perfect notation, it's John Miller.
'John Miller's Country Blues Guitar Collection' is a very recent addition to 'Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop' series distributed by Mel Bay. There are twenty four classic blues by sixteen of the acoustic blues guitar masters. Of the twenty four, seventeen are in standard tuning. The others are open and drop D together with a couple of G tunings. Other than 'Stack O'Lee' (John Hurt's version here) the songs and most of the artists are all fairly obscure to all but the cognoscenti of the country blues. But this is a book for guitar pickers by a master with an unerring ear for a beautiful tune and a connection to a past long gone.
There are no meteoric workouts in the manner of, say, Blind Blake's 'Southern Rag' (thankfully! In fact the one Blake song in this collection is 'Doin' A Stretch' and is quite laid-back ), and on the strength of a couple of 'listen-throughs' of the original recordings of the included cd, they all sound very do-able. A few of the tunes will be familiar to students of John Millers' terrific instructional dvd's with Bo Carter's 'My Baby' and 'Policy Blues'; Memphis Minnie's 'Reachin' Pete' and Tom Dickson's 'Happy Blues' being repeated here. The bonus for me was getting a grip (I wish!) on Bo Carter's 'Cigarette Blues' and another of Bo's. Each of the performers gets a bio', a picture and some of John's thoughts on their styles and idiosyncrasies. The following page is then taken up with the song's lyrics and an involving set of playing tips. Then it's into the notation and tab' of the song where the lyrics of the first verse are given as an example and are set below the tab' and placed where the words would occur relative to the tab. Sometimes handily split into syllables.
The great thing about John Miller is that he hears everything and leaves nothing out. His affection for the blues and those fellows with their simple, unadorned guitars is manifest. - F,B, Mills