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Book Reports

Feb 12

Dead of Winter

Hope you all are doing well in the dead of Winter....All well down here in the Sunny South! Just back from Orlando's Vintage Guitar Show. Had a great time with all my guitar dealer pals from around the country. Didn't buy anything, didn't sell anything but got to play some cool guitars including a very fine "piano finish" 1938 National Duolion that made me sound like Blind Boy Fuller himself! Do have a look at on the internet if you are looking for a vintage National...he has many!

My pal Gayle Dean Wardlow, "Mississippi Blues Detective" was there. He left me a draft of his new book to check out. Gayle Dean wrote Chasin' the Devil's Music, the greatest book on Delta Blues ever written. The new book is going to be a real eye opener. Reading about his adventures back in the 1960's is thrilling. Interviews with old Preachers who made Blues records back in the 1920's and 30's, who palled around with Charley Patton and Son House, are fantastic. Stories of searching door to door for old 78's in rundown old "Colored" neighborhoods in Mississippi before anyone really knew anything about the music gave me "chill bumps". I will let you all know when the book is available.

Interesting in the Bob Dylan Chronicles, he mentions that John Hammond Sr. at Columbia Records gave him a test pressing of the first Robert Johnson re-issue in about 1961. Hardly anyone had ever heard of Johnson at that time! He asked Van Ronk about Robert and even Dave had never heard of him! Dylan was more impressed than Dave was as Dave recognized the sources for many of the tunes. Bob Dylan goes on and on how these sides changed his life and his take on how to compose a song! It is so nice to see Dylan acknowledge Dave Van Ronk's importance in his musical development. After all, Dave played a big part in the lives of all of us who came up after him!

Working on the big 2005 tour daily and now it has changed direction and we will be heading West after all. Booking the tour is always a challenge and unpredictable. You got to go where 'it' wants to go and not necceserily where you want to go....Dates are now confirmed in Oklahoma, Colorado and California for early Summer. I am actually glad it went that way and Nancy and I are looking forward to the trip. There's nothing like a coast to coast drive. Hoping on some dates in Utah, Nebraska and Kansas, three states I have not worked much in before.

"Live at The Fur Peace Ranch" cd coming along. Still shooting for a late Spring release on PEGleg, of course. I am relly pleased with the project and hope you all will be too. The cover is looking good thanks to Adam "the nephew". He came up with lots of cool ideas and it looks like we finally settled on the design we will go with.

Got some "Spring Training" gigs coming up and I am looking forward to them. And before you know it the baseball players will be down here for the same. Nancy enjoying her new life as a "Special Ed Teacher" and my sister-in-law, Maureen is doing fine. I keep busy around the house and manage once a week to play some "Texas Hold'm" either at the Indian Casino in Tampa or out on the new Crown Jewel Gambling ship which anchors out in the Gulf. The high speed catamaran shuttle zips you out from downtown St. Pete in about an hour and on a calm day, it's a real pleasure.

That's the story so far, stay tuned for the next episode...

By For Now.