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.
The Blues has been called The Devil's Music. It can be played in many different ways. Each brings a different dimension to this timeless musical form. In this lesson we travel the roads and byways of the South in search of various approaches to translate this musical form to the strings and frets of your guitar. From Atlanta to the Mississippi Delta, from New Orleans to Texas, this lesson presents diverse and exciting fingerstyle blues techniques and styles.
We explore the steady alternating bass of Mississippi John Hurt's Ain't Nobody But You Babe to the rough and tumble playing of Son House's Banty Rooster in an Open G tuning. Barbecue Bob's melodic Mississippi Heavy Water Blues with it's repeating bass line motif is rearranged to a partial Open G tuning (D G D G B E) and combines the Atlanta blues sound with that from North Carolina. We get a taste of New Orleans and a more sophisticated approach for the playing of the Ray Charles hit Let's Go Get Stoned. We end our journey with Goin' Down Slow. A steady bass played blues in A with melodic lead lines but played in dropped D tuning, a technique taught to me by Mance Lipscomb.
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. The Bonus Audio section includes source recordings.
Titles include: Mississippi Heavy Water Blues, Banty Rooster, Ain't Nobody But You Babe, Let's Go Get Stoned and Goin' Down Slow
109 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: "Let's Go Get Stoned - Fingerpicking the Devil's Music" is codeword for a classic drinking song (the Let's Go Get Stoned part) followed by four blues (the Devil's Music part). Stefan Grossman cracks their five codes, from chords to licks. Although most famously tied to 1966 Ray Charles, "Let's Go Get Stoned" is so enticing that its gin-soaked invitation has rung out in psychedelic garages (the Amboy Dukes) and stronger-than-dirt blues joints (Big Mama Thornton). From post-bop fretboards (John Scofield) to 2017 stages packed wall-to-wall with the Tedeschi-Trucks Band, too. "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues" serves up a meaty slab of Barbecue Bob, slathered with vicious bass-string snaps. "Banty Rooster" was part of the rhythmic currency traded inside shotgun shacks around the Delta. Charley Patton, Big Joe Williams and Honeyboy Edwards all had their own working version. Grossman's version, however, traces straight to Son House in all of its heaving, foot-stomped Mississippiness. So know that you're second in line, having learned from Stefan, who learned directly from Son. Grossman also plays medium between you and Mississippi John Hurt, another of his enviable face-to-face tutors. "Ain't Nobody But You Babe" is prime under-the-counter Hurt: Less known, but no less genteel and melodically gorgeous. Lastly, you're privy to the secret 'Mance Lipscomb tuning' that, enriched by a variety of plug-in solos, drives the blues' bluest workhorse, "Goin' Down Slow." – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag
Review: Two titles together in the same review as a great deal of what I would say has already been said. It is a Guitar Workshop production therefore you can expect immaculate filming, first class sound and inspired tuition that is easy to understand. Let me say here that I am not on commission but I seem to have done most of the recent reviews and I am running out of things to say, now anyone that knows me will know how rare that is! You can almost treat these as samplers for the rest of the series, the first one Lets Get Stoned is a look at just five different acoustic Blues numbers, each of them offering Stefan a different style of playing to put across, and he does so as well as ever. If you didn't want to buy the entire series, this would be a good place to start, as what you learn on each song can be transferred to many others, so there you are, I have saved you a small fortune, The second offering Show me the way to go home is something a little different and just in time for Christmas, you will have time to learn some novelty songs (One of which is really quite rude, but I'll leave you to check out the excellent PDF file for yourself) .You would not believe how difficult it actually is to play Teddy Bears Picnic, not until this version anyway! So yes two more excellent pieces of work from the apparently tireless Stefan Grossman. – Dave Stone/Blues Matters!