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.
Rev. Gary Davis was a musical giant. His ideas spanned a wide range of techniques and styles. In this series we focus on his ragtime blues.
Lesson One: This lesson highlights two of Rev. Davis’s most popular blues arrangements. Hesitation Blues is played in the key of C. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down is played in the key of G.
Lesson Two: The key of C was a favorite for Rev. Davis. In this lesson we explore the party tune Sally Where’d You Get Your Liquor From (made popular by Hot Tuna) and two versions of his very popular folk blues Candyman with the regular version followed by the Two-Step Candyman.
Lesson Three: "Raggin’ the blues" was a great part of Rev. Davis’s repertoire. His Walkin’ Dog Blues is a tour de force in a blues in C. I have transcribed ALL fourteen verses and we study how this arrangement develops. Buck Rag is a fascinating rag played in the key of C. Single-string runs, counterpoint lines, rhythmic variations and syncopated bass patterns are featured.
Level 2/3 • 40 page tab/music book with three compact discs
Review: Ragtime Fun. This book is real fun. I find the style of Rev. Gary Davis very intriguing. It takes a lot of time to master it, but this book has very accurate instructions. The CDs teach you step by step the songs that are listed, and the tablatures are very easy to read. The CDs also contain other songs of Gary Davis that are not in the list and are not taught, which are real rarities. A strange, 3/4 version, of “CandymanÆ and other songs you wont find on any commercial CD. – Spinillo Patrizio/Amazon Customer Review