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Friday, 21 October 2016

Second Story Books, Dupont Circle, DC; Blues and The Beats

When in Washington DC I always call in at Second Story Books, Dupont Circle, where I usually find some interesting secondhand books.

I tend to look for books by the Beats or about the blues. When I get them back to England, I often find I already have a copy of the same book, like "Delta Blues" by Ted Gioia. Still, it's good to dip into them again, whilst in the USA.

Here's a passage I like from "Delta Blues":

"John Lee Hooker showed that a single musician vamping on  a primitive riff could still achieve a chart-rockin' hit record in the nuclear age. Muddy Waters did the same, teaching the Chess brothers that less could be more, earning his first big hits with reworkings of the simple field recordings he had made for the Library of Congress back on Stovall Plantation. Now Howlin' Wolf was reinforcing the point, building a series of hits from songs that were little more than vamps, a wisp of harmony backed by a bump-and-grind beat, tunes you didn't so much hear as feel".

I've also taken delivery of a well-worn (just about playable) copy of an old 78 rpm record -  Muddy Waters' "You're Gonna' Miss Me (When I'm Dead and Gone"), on the Aristocrat label.

Now that's a work of art.

 A much better copy

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