featuring Tommy Johnson, Walter Vinson, Rube Lacy, Geeshie Wiley, Ishmon Bracey and Bo Carter
Jackson, Mississippi attracted a host of blues musicians in the period 1910--1940. Many players from small towns made their way to Jackson, which as the capital of Mississippi and a much larger city, held forth the promise of more and better work opportunities, and the possibility of making a living playing music rather than driving a mule or chopping cotton. The Jackson Blues scene was an unusually rich one, stylistically, spanning the gap from the sophisticated Pop blues of Bo Carter to the low-down blues of Rube Lacy and a host of players working between those two extremes.
Included on this DVD are transcriptions and teaching of recorded performances from Tommy Johnson, one of the fountainheads of the Mississippi blues, Itta Bena natives Rube Lacy and Ishmon Bracey, with their distinctive vocal head tones and intense playing, the great Geeshie Wiley, a woman who played and sang as strongly as any man, Walter Vinson, guitarist and lead singer for the Mississippi Sheiks, and Bo Carter, a player with a rich chordal vocabulary and Jazzy sound. The songs presented offer a wide range of left and right hand approaches and ways of keeping time and will expand your your ability to play blues, moving far afield from the simple alternating bass.
A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD, and contains all of the songs’ lyrics as well as transcriptions of the guitar parts. Also included are the original source recordings from which the transcriptions taught in the lesson were taken.
Titles include: TOMMY JOHNSON Lonesome Home Blues WALTER VINSON Overtime Blues GEESHIE WILEY Eagles On A Half RUBE LACY Ham Hound Crave ISHMON BRACEY Four Day Blues BO CARTER Honey
97 minutes • Level 3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: In days of yore, Jackson, Mississippi served as a major blues hub. Dinky cotton patch hamlets ringing the capital city ponied up guitarists who drafted a sound with its own stylistic fingerprint. Headmaster for this prewar school of Jackson Blues Guitar was regional kingpin Tommy Johnson. Prolific and influential, he set local standards with gems like Ins darkly lulling "Lonesome Home Blues." Shrouded in melancholy, the haunting drag creeps along on string bends, leaden downbeats, and desolate imagery. Yet Johnson's playing didn't hold a monopoly on brooding WaIter Vinson, moonlighting away from the Mississippi Sheiks, forcefully snaps "Overtime Blues" out from the strings. The innuendo-blunted frustration in Rube Lacy's "Ham Hound Crave" and Geeshie Wiley`s juggernaut "Eagles On A Half" also unyieldingly shoves along with rhythmic push. Ishmon Bracey's "Four Day Blues" prefers plucking dreariness with utmost calm. But coming to your emotional rescue are the 32 playfully scampering bars of Bo Carter's "Honey." And teaching it all is John Miller. His how-to DVD not only details the ins-and-outs, but includes all six original recordings and lyrics too. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag
Review: Excellence! This is part of a series of 'geographical' blues lessons by John Miller. This review covers them all. John Miller is a gifted instructor. Many artists are gifted players, but they do not all possess the gift of teaching.
John Miller's teaching is a slow, methodical breakdown with anticipation of student struggles. His demeanor is humble, quiet, respectful, and enthusiastic for the music. With judicious use of the pause button, it is as close as a student can come to face to face lessons with a master.
The series highlights some of the lesser known blues songs of regional greats from long ago. The songs are wonderful to learn to sing, but for me, they are, almost to a song, terrific for acoustic solo playing. Each region has its specifics but they are perfectly suited for instruction to the Intermediate guitarist (late beginners should collect John's DVDs) as well as the Advanced guitarists who need to learn new songs.
Each geographical region has its unique songs, and John's teaching is consistent throughout. Texas Blues is currently my favorite, but this changes as I go from DVD to DVD.
Jackson Blues, Texas Blues, Memphis Blues, Atlanta Blues as well as Theory and Chord instruction DVDs are all 'must haves' for those who learn from DVD lessons. – Peter Hyatt/Amazon Customer Review