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Living Blues

Living Blues

Bob Tilling
LIVING BLUES 2009-04-12
  
The "Guitar Artistry" DVD series now includes ten discs. The recordings are filmed in a low-lit uncluttered studio setting where the performers are encouraged to talk informally about their life and times as well as about their music. This was, of course, very easy for Book Binder, who was one of the most amusing and engaging raconteurs on the acoustic club and festival circuit.

Now 65 years old, Book Binder has been performing and recording for 42 years, and he is obviously enjoying his time on the road as much as ever. Meeting people is for him equally as important as the gigs themselves and although he spends much of the time traveling, he does enjoy his time at home in Florida with his wife Nancy.

Book Binder became interested in blues influenced music during the early 1960s while in the navy when he began listening to the likes of Ray Charles, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Dave Van Ronk. He speaks fondly of Van Ronk, who strongly influenced Book Binder to become a professional musician. As Binder says with a wry smile, "He ruined my life!" Book Binder also speaks fondly of Rev. Gary Davis and Pink Anderson, and his anecdotes of h~is first meeting with these legendary musicians are among the most delightful moments here. Book Binder is as generous with his praise of fellow musicians as he is modest about his own guitar skills.

During the later part of the 88-minute film Book Binder talks in more detail about his repertoire, which includes material from Blind Boy Fuller and Luke Jordan, and particularly about his own compositions. On the standout Another Man Done A Full Go 'Round, he pays tribute to his late friends and mentors John Jackson, Dave Van Ronk, and Dave "Snaker" Ray. There are some heartfelt liner notes by Binder and a number of the titles are transcribed in guitar tablature which can be downloaded from the disc.

Book Binder may see himself primarily as an entertainer, and he certainly is that, but this disc truly shows his true love of his music and his way of life. He comes over as a sincere and content man who still has a lot to offer.

- Bob Tilling/Living Blues