The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162706   Message #3876754
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
12-Sep-17 - 05:08 PM
Thread Name: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
Subject: RE: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
well i don't suppose they invented blues music to be unpopular.

however i want at this stage to completely disagree with the negative reviews of this remarkable book.
there's stuff i'm not keen on . but Calt does try to discuss Skip James's music, in a musicianly/guitarist's way.

its a serious book and tries to empathise with the utter rejection that many musician's deal with when their music becomes unfashionable/unprofitable - and yet the artist still feels impelled to go on developing.
it also deals with the way many people acquiesce in the the status and career opportunities their oppressive societies confer on them. i guess that's what Max Weber called functionalism. we are grateful for to have a function when the consequences of not having a function are awful.

Skip James was moonshiner, pimp, then factory worker in the society he was born into. That he was also a creative genius is matter of record. We aren't good to geniuses. THink of the Cornish fisherman painter Alfred Wallis dying penniless in the workhouse. The poet John Clare dying in the madhouse.

such people live at heights and depths unimaginable.   Calt does his best to convey some of this chaotic mental and emotional state and the intensity of the focus necessary to create at that level of excellence.