One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
In this second volume of Mississippi John Hurt arrangements we focus on his playing in the keys of E, A, D and Open D Tuning.
Lesson One: Key Of E: Mississippi John's blues in E are very distinct and unusual. Avalon Blues is a showcase arrangement that illustrates many of John's musical approaches in this key. This is followed by Sliding Delta. John did not play many tunes in an open D tuning but You Don't Want Me and Payday conclude this lesson. There are both gems!
Lesson Two: Key Of A: Blues in A were a tour de force in Mississippi John's repertoire. His Coffee Blues and Monday Morning Blues are fine examples of his blues playing in the key of A. We conclude with his Candyman.
Lesson Three: Key Of D: Some of John's finest playing can be found in his arrangements in the key of D. These capture a country blues feel within a piano sounding style. C.C.Rider, Stagolee, Big Leg Blues and Corrina Corrina are fine examples of this.
For the intermediate guitarist.
Level 2/3 • 32 page tab/music book with three compact discs
Review: I recommend this book to anyone wanting to play in the style of Mississippi John Hurt while preserving his delta blues method. Mr. Hurt is a legend and Stefan Grossman captures his essence, down to his soulful 3 finger picking style. The book contains 3 CD's that give phrase by phrase instruction. It is in note and tablature and very easy to follow along. There are no lyrics with the book, but I gave it 5 stars anyway, because I felt that it is the instructors intention to provide style instruction, and that is what you will get. If you want the music with lyrics, I would suggest that you get the book Mississippi John Hurt Early Masters of American Blues Guitar. It has vintage original artist's recordings and includes 2 CD's. I have them both, along with every song of Mississippi John Hurt's that is available to the public. I hope it doesn't make any of you Hurt fans out there cringe to say that this book is helpful in my attempt to play Mississippi John Hurt on the banjo. – J. Gibson