The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162706 Message #3875649
Posted By: GUEST,Jerome Clark
07-Sep-17 - 09:14 AM
Thread Name: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
Subject: RE: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
I have to say that I have not only enjoyed this thread but found vindication in it.
Till now, I hadn't encountered anybody else who'd read Calt's strange book, though I had some sense that among hard-core blues types his reputation was not exactly stellar. It's good to know that others found the James biography as hard to take as I did. Maybe it will encourage those curious about blues scholarship to seek out the more worthy books, of which there are many, and also to hope that a more able chronicler of James's life, times, and music surfaces eventually.
I remember, by the way, reading a piece some years ago in which a New York Times music critic expressed dismay on learning that Calt planned to write a Robert Johnson biography. Calt died (at the relatively young age of 62, as I recall) before that happened,
On another matter I think it is a mistake to think of Mississippi John Hurt as a blues performer. Rooted in pre-blues Southern folk music, he is more accurately characterized as a songster, and justly celebrated as a unique and interesting figure.