Widely considered as one of the top acoustic guitarists in the world, masterful Woody Mann is a New York based musician and renowned teacher with deep roots in the blues. He has excellent credentials and has learned directly from the Rev. Gary Davis, played with Son House, Bukka White and John Fahey. Then, he ascended to ranks of the most celebrated and accomplished guitarists, regularly performing at the acoustic International Guitar Festival, an event that brings together the world’s finest players, kind of like the Mensa of the guitar. Along with Ed Gerhard, Bob Brozman, and a handful of others, he represents the blues well among the small circle of the “virtuosos virtuosos.”
By no means singularly a blues player, he has one foot in the jazz realm. When he does play the blues, his repertoire is wide-ranging and unlimited. Be it Ragtime, Piedmont, fingerpicking, slide, laptop, whatever he touches is amazing and delightful.
All the fancy technique, but can he play the blues with feeling? Resoundingly, yes! Of course, his performances are usually more jazz oriented, but when he wants to, play the blues, he is one of today’s best.
The music of Robert Johnson was greatly influenced by Son House, Skip James, Hambone Willie Newbern and Charlie Patton. Melodies and hot licks from the 1920s recordings of Scrapper Blackwell, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Blake can also be heard in Robert Johnson’s recordings. In this three CD series, Woody Mann traces the development of Robert Johnson’s music.
Lesson One: Scrapper Blackwell was a popular 1920s blues artist who recorded solo as well as countless sides with the great pianist, Leroy Carr. His unique rhythmic style and use of melodic treble licks can be heard in his Kokomo Blues (key of D) and Blue Day Blues (key of A). Robert Johnson freely adapted Scrapper’s techniques to his playing.
Lesson Two: Johnson was a teenager when he met and learned from Son House. Son’s My Black Mama was copied by Johnson in his Walkin' Blues. Skip James’s Devil Got My Woman, played in a crossnote tuning, was the basis for Johnson's Hellhound On My Trail. Blind Willie Newbern’s Roll And Tumble Blues was the foundation for Johnson’s Traveling Riverside Blues. Charlie Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' played in an open G tuning, presents many licks and rhythmic ideas that Johnson used.
Lesson Three: The recordings of Lonnie Johnson and Blind Blake influenced bluesmen from the East Coast to Texas to the Mississippi Delta. Blake’s Georgia Bound presents an identical melody to Johnson’s From Four Until Late. Lonnie Johnson’s Lifesaver Blues presents hot licks and a melody used by Johnson.
Level 3 • 32 page tab/music book with three compact discs