Saturday, July 01, 2006

It is grand

REV. EDWARD W. CLAYBORN 'THE GUITAR EVANGELIST' "A Letter From Father"

Some people believe the great sanctified blues singer E.W. Clayborn, whose first recordings for Vocalion simply bore the credit THE GUITAR EVANGELIST, played slide guitar lap style. I'm becoming obsessed by his music, and there's so little known. We just have one photo from a Vocalion sleeve. Paul Oliver surmises the dude came from Alabama in his great study Songsters and Saints, based on the fact that he shared a session with Charles Davenport who was from there.

Dude's vocals are stern and restrained, his lyrics often pretty uptight recriminations that say stuff like "That's the Wrong Way to Celebrate Christmas Day" or "Everybody Ought to Treat Your Mother Right," and at least three songs warn that you basically can't trust anyone (Oliver does a slight bit of armchair shrinking which does seem warranted). As often stated, the dude basically played the same way in each song: almost the exact rhythmic pattern, slide lines that answer the vocals, and nearly the same chords every time as well. So, unlike the often similar Blind Willie Johnson, this is not a dude you would ever invite to a party.

There remains something I love about him, though. Some things, I mean. That clean and delicious guitar style? The jaunty little two-step rhythm he has going on by plucking the bass strings like that? The fact you kind of know what you're going to get with him? Because I still love the three R's so much (of course they are... repetition, repetition, repetition)? This song is one of his happiest and most uplifting, btw.

Speaking of uplifting, dude, I try not to complain... (Ummm, really I do!) But some of these complications from diabetes really blow, especially the fact that the vision in my left eye has gotten quite a bit worse since my "out of control diabetes" diagnosis last December. I just got new lenses and I'm having to learn to see/ focus differently, I guess? There are permanently popped blood vessels in that eye now (sweet! I always look stoned!?) so I'm afraid the best I can do in that eye now even with a much stronger prescription is not-that-fuzzy, where the right eye is different, it can see a lot more clearly. This has been the case for many months but in glasses that were way out of whack so everything was fuzzy. I dunno, it is possible that this prescription is wrong but I've known my eyesight in that eye got worse. I just thought somehow that corrective lensescould, you know, correct it? The good news is the damage coulda been a lot worse, but isn't. People go blind from this shit, you know? Anyway, sorry for venting here; today, it's that or putting my fist into the drywall.

How bad-ass was that? Wooooah, fists in the wall, man. Clearly, I am the most bad-ass lover of sanctified blues on my entire block, I bet. Or this part of the block, anyway.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Leila said...

It would be nice to listen to something more substantial than the crap we are usually fed over the airwaves. And sorry for your diabetes complications, man. I really am. Hope you'll get better.

11:18 PM  

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