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.
This double DVD, of almost four hours of music and instruction is a MUST for anyone interested in bottleneck blues guitar. It is a complete survey of country blues bottleneck styles and techniques featuring rare footage of Son House, Fred McDowell, Mance Lipscomb, Jesse Fuller, Furry Lewis and Bukka White. The first DVD focuses on playing in Open G tuning (Spanish). The second DVD presents the Open D tuning (Vestapol). Left hand playing techniques are discussed as well as choice of bottleneck/ slide and guitar to use.
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD. Each DVD also features bonus audio tracks of the original 1920s and 1930s recordings of the original artists playing the songs. This lesson is for the intermediate student.
Titles include: OPEN G TUNING: My Black Mama, Banty Rooster, Dry Spell Blues, High Sheriff Blues, County Farm Blues, Someday Baby Blues, Roll & Tumble Blues, Kokomo Blues OPEN D TUNING: Wake Up Mama, John Henry, You Got To Move, Tell Me Baby, Spoonful, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, God Moves On The Water, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, Roll and Tumble Blues, Guitar Rag
236 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on each DVD
Review: JACKKNIVES, STEEL SOCKETS, copper tubing, beef bones, and, of course, bottlenecks, have all been used to make guitars speak in tongues. Whatever your preferred implement, the new-and-improved Bottleneck Blues Guitar offers the absolute best shot of tapping your inner Son House or Fred McDowell. Stefan Grossman - who learned the art of slide locked knee-to-knee with such Delta virtuosos passes down a storehouse of technical knowledge in this encyclopedic how-to. Spread over two DVDs (one each for Spanish and Vestapol tunings), its four cumulative hours are chock full of instruction and inspiration. Not only does the easygoing Grossman masterfully pick apart - phrase-by-phrase, riff by vibrato - massaged riff - 18 great tunes (like the sweet glide behind Charley Patton's "High Sheriff Blues," Blind Willie Johnson's yo-yo'ing "God Moves On The Water," and jukehouse favorites in "Roll & Tumble Blues" and "Spoonful"). But the originating masters teach too.Via 13 rare performance clips and 32 audio recordings, everyone from Son and Fred to Bukka White, King Solomon Hill and beyond also play their highlighted songs. Comprehensive bottleneck enlightenment. - Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag
Review: This double DVD features nearly 4 hours of performance and instruction in bottleneck slide blues guitar styles, in open G and open D. Also included are rare film/video clips of original Bluesmen: Son House, Furry Lewis, Jesse Fuller, Bukka White, Fred McDowell and Mance Lipscomb and original audio recordings of the songs being taught - in this case also some other variations of the same songs as well. It's interesting to finally see Grossman himself playing and teaching since he's the man behind the Stefan Grossman Guitar Workshop. He very patiently demonstrates the various licks and rhythms being used and then you get to see a split screen version where there is a camera trained on each hand. With these DVDs you'd get the kind of head start on learning to play Country Blues that just wasn't available to anyone except the savant who could pick this up from what recordings were available in the late 1960s. Well, unless you were as lucky as Grossman to get lessons directly from the originals like Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Son House, Fred McDowell, and Mance Lipscomb. Until the 1970s most of them had not been reissued or released on vinyl. This lesson is more for intermediate players than for beginners. - Marc Bristol/Blue Suede News