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Review: Sleepy John Estes

olddude 12 Oct 08 - 09:49 AM
Leadfingers 12 Oct 08 - 09:57 AM
alanabit 12 Oct 08 - 10:28 AM
MartinRyan 12 Oct 08 - 10:47 AM
Leadbelly 12 Oct 08 - 02:15 PM
Fred McCormick 12 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM
olddude 12 Oct 08 - 08:06 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 08 - 08:57 PM
olddude 12 Oct 08 - 09:24 PM
katlaughing 13 Oct 08 - 07:32 PM
PoppaGator 14 Oct 08 - 11:41 AM
Elmer Fudd 15 Oct 08 - 03:33 PM
wayfarer 15 Oct 08 - 03:53 PM
Art Thieme 15 Oct 08 - 06:27 PM
Art Thieme 15 Oct 08 - 06:37 PM
olddude 15 Oct 08 - 06:39 PM
katlaughing 15 Oct 08 - 07:27 PM
olddude 15 Oct 08 - 07:42 PM
Leadfingers 15 Oct 08 - 08:02 PM
olddude 16 Oct 08 - 12:03 PM
Art Thieme 16 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM
olddude 16 Oct 08 - 06:41 PM
Art Thieme 16 Oct 08 - 08:46 PM
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Subject: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 09:49 AM

Found a bunch of great video of Sleepy John Estes on youtube. No one talks much about him anymore and I am not sure why. Amazing is the word for me.



mailman blues


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 09:57 AM

AND Yank Ratchell on mandolin ! Thanks for that link !


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: alanabit
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 10:28 AM

I am probably one of many, who have heard the music mostly second hand from other musicians. He was obviously very highly rated by Clapton and The Blues Band among others, who recorded his songs. Was he blind?


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 10:47 AM

Wonderful mandolin.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Leadbelly
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 02:15 PM

alanabit, indeed, he was blind. After a baseball accident at the age of 6 Estes was blinded in his right eye. Later- at the end of the fourties-he became blind on his left eye.
In the 60'I have had the pleasure to listen to him and some others in Hamburg. He seemed to be a little bit drunk like most of all others inclusive Lightnin Hopkins. But nevertheless, it was great to get a last chance to see these early blues artists.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 02:28 PM

Nice find. But don't forget to clock the Sister Rosetta Tharpe clips on the same page. One of them thare spirituals I thought she was going to start doing the duck walk.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 08:06 PM

So right Fred
hey have a look at Jesse Fuller doing the red river blues on youtube. He is a one man band

red river blues


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 08:57 PM

We got to hang out with and listen to Sleepy John Estes and Yank and John Lee Granderson and many others back in the 1960s in Chicago. I opened a show for John Estes back then. Of the young whites addicted to the blues then in Chicago was Mike Bloomfield and Nick the Greek Gavenites who were part of the scene then ---along with Charlie Musselwhite and Silver Sid and Jim Schwall & Corky Siegel. Paul Butterfield too.

The rediscovery of some of the older blues men was centered around Bob Koester's Delmar Records (later to become Delmark Records after the first name they picked conflicted with a Delmar label in St. Louis.) I remember a jam album that came out with Yank and John and young Mike Bloomfield that was to have a good photo of all 3 on the cover-----but when it came out, Bloomfield was gone from the picture. It seems it was uncool commercially to have a white Jewish kid on there with the legends. But Mike was a blues prodigy.

I always felt that John Estes had narcolepsy. He often seemed asleep while others were playing solo songs on stage in workshops with him. Once, at the University O Chicago, their Folklore Society booked a show with John and Yank to do half of the concert, and Rev. Gary Davis was doing the second half of the show. Well, time came for tghe show to start and Sleepy John Estes wasn't there. We all waited an extra half hour before it was decided that Yank would do a solo set---something he never ever did.

Folks, Yank Rachel struggled to do a show that evening, and it was a valiant effort that was heartily applauded by all who were there. But when Gary Davis came out, he sat down, and rather snidely we thought, said something like, "We all know that man tried to do the best he could." --- But that was Gary Davis; he said what he was thinking.

Later, when we checked up on John, sure enough, he had slept through the show. He never did get there.

But if you want to hear John Estes and Yank at the top of their abilities, listen to the reissues of their old 78 rpm records. There was no better POET OF THE BLUES than Sleepy John Estes of Tennessee.----"Diving Duck Blues" -- "Floating Bridge Blues"--so many others.

Sorry about the thread creep. You just got me to thinkin' back...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 12 Oct 08 - 09:24 PM

Art
what thread creep, that was wonderful carry on my friend all I can say is WOW


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Oct 08 - 07:32 PM

Wow!! Thanks all, esp., Art!


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: PoppaGator
Date: 14 Oct 08 - 11:41 AM

Narcolepsy, huh? I guess whoever gave Sleepy John his nickname knew what tehy were about!

Great stories.

Too bad Gary Davis couldn'd have teamed up with Yank for a few duets. Yank was always a partner/accompanyist, never a solo act, and he very probbaly could have come up with a part of play along with the Rev ~ if he had been willing to share the stage.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 03:33 PM

Thanks, Art, for your precious memories of Sleepy John Estes, Yank Rachell, and Mike Bloomfield. You are one lucky man to have seen them all.

There's a bio of Yank Rachell, "Yank Rachell: Blues Mandolin Man: The Life and Music of Yank Rachell," by Richard Congress, that is worth reading. It's mostly in Rachell's own words. Blues mandolin is such an interesting form of the genre, and Rachell was the first to record it, in the 20s. The book contains a lot of information about Sleepy John Estes as well.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: wayfarer
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 03:53 PM

Great clips, thanks for that, olddude.

I first discovered Sleepy John some years ago when I picked up Taj Mahal's first album and there were a couple of tunes on there, "Leavin' Trunk" & "Diving Duck," I believe. This was something different than what I'd been listening to, mostly Chicago blues and Delta blues, at that time. Perhaps a unique Memphis thing, kinda like Lighting Hopkins having that unique Texas style about his music. Not sure if it's a rhythm thing or what, but I really liked it.

Also, an interesting aside. Peter Case's latest CD is entitled "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John." Turns out it's mostly new original tunes rather than covers but the spirit ( mostly unaccompanied vocals and guitar) is in keeping with the music of Sleepy John.

For what it's worth, and in the spirit of keeping ole Sleepy John's music alive, here is my version of Sleepy John's ( with obvious kudos to Taj ) "Leavin' Trunk Blues"

Leavin' Trunk


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:27 PM

Elmer, thanks.

Mike Bloomfield used to call me "the cuddle bunny of Old Town" --- I think that was because his wife then, (1965 or '66) Suzy, started calling me that because it'd piss him off. So he did it too. 1965, '66 and up to fall of '67 I was Asst. Manager of the Old Town Folklore Center in Chicago.

ALL that was SOOOOOOOO long ago!! Hard to grasp...

There are other things I've said here in other threads about Mike. Do a Forum search to read those.

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:37 PM

RICH DELGROSSO is a fine blues mandolin player. He was a friend of Yank's---and learned a ton of great stuff from him.

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:39 PM

What wonderful wonderful memories you have Art
thank you for sharing them with us

Dan


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 07:27 PM

Ditto, here, Art. Thanks, Elmer, for the book info.

wayfarer! Sounds great...really enjoying Howlin' at the Moon, esp.


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 07:42 PM

Ditto, loved wayfarer's howlin at the moon


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 08:02 PM

I would have loved to catch Sleepy John and Yank In The Flesh !
Managed Gary Davis at the Troubadour though ! That was a GOOD gig !


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 12:03 PM

Leadfingers
you managed Rev. Davis !!!   Oh my Gosh
wow, ok tell us about it please what was he like before the stage.
Art just told us the Sleepy John was really sleepy John. I figured it was just a name, I now know it was really true.

wow
Dan


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 12:36 PM

As long as we've creeped this into talking about Rev. Gary Davis:

I think it was in the 1970s, but maybe the late '60s, that the Chicago folk club called Mother Blues (owned by Lorraine Blues -- 1305 N. Wells St. in Old Town) brought in Gary Davis for a week long gig. Gary either got drunk or just lost himself on stage, but after being warned a few times, the Rev kept on doing instrumentals, like a military march he usually did great. Those lasted a half hour or more each, and destroyed the club's attempts to be on a schedule of some kind. Gary was "fired" -- and sheepishly went home to New York. His wife could always control him, so he was told to come back with her if he wanted to do the job right. He DID bring her back to Chicago with him -- and everything went fine after that.

Art


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: olddude
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 06:41 PM

Art
awesome story I love it


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Subject: RE: Review: Sleepy John Estes
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 08:46 PM

A correction:

Lorraine Blue was actually her name. Her club was called MOTHER BLUES. I don't remember it ever being written with a possessive apostrophe between the "e" and the "s"

And there is a photo of the entrance to the club and their sign at my photo website. (Actually my part of BKLICK's website)

Art


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