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lundi 26 juillet 2021

DAVE DICKERSON/ Piedmont blues




          Here we have almost all of the recordings made by West Virginia bluesman and songster Dave Dickerson, certainly a very obscure figure of the so-called fingerpicking Piedmont blues. All the few details of his life come from legendary British researcher and label owner, Bruce Bastin from his essential book Red River blues. Bruce issued the only commercial recording made by Dickerson in 1967. All the other tracks in this post are unissued and were recorded live in April 1965 by Andrew Poly and Roddy Moore, director of the Blue Ridge Institute. Those are now at the Ferrum College Audio Archives. Thanks to all for allowing those rare and quite good records to be heard by blues fans all over the world.

            Dave was born at Tip Top, Tazewell County, West Virginia a few miles from the Virginia border on May, 4th 1913. For the era, he was quite educated, attending for 10 years at the Genoa High School in Bluefield, Va. His family was very fond of the blues records of the time, particularly Blind Lemon Jefferson's and Blind Blake's that they bought by mail order. Soon, the young Dave learned guitar from those records and during the 1930's borrowed a lot from his very favorite, Blind Boy Fuller.

            Around 1933, Dave Dickerson was making a living as a construction worker then as a miner for US Steel on various Virginia's mines. He sang and played for himself or for friends almost every week end at parties and venues but never thought to be recorded or even trying to make a few bucks with his music, despite the fact he earned a great reputation all around.

            In 1965, Roddy Moore who was heading the Blue Ridge Institute heard about Dave Dickerson, located him and brought him to play before the Institute's students, recording the concert. This gave confidence to Dave to play before wider audiences and he got a regularly gig at Balcksburg's coffeehouse where Bruce Bastin recorded The war is over in 1967. Unfortunately, Dave became very ill a few months after and had to give up playing. Dave Dickerson seems to have died a few years after but I have not been able to get an obituary or locate his grave.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT


Dave Dickerson, vcl/g. Blacksburg, Va. 1 april 1965

01. Dickerson blues

02. Electric chair blues

03. Hard luck blues

04. I wrote you a twelve page letter

05. I'm goin down thats unny road

06. In the pines

07. Milk cow blues

08. Old apple tree

09. Sadie Green, vamp of New Orleans

10. Steady rolling blues

11. Sweet root blues

12. Twelve days later

13. You've done wrong baby

14. Darling you can't love but one

15. Kansas City blues

16. Key to the highway

17. The preacher and the bear

Dave Dickerson, vcl/g. Blacksburg, Va. june 1967

18. The war is over



dimanche 18 juillet 2021



            C'était l'époque du Folk Boom et des grands festivals folk et blues, tout acoustiques bien sûr. On pouvait voir sans difficulté le Révérend Gary Davis chanter à Harlem, Sweet Daddy Stovepipe hanter Central Park où chaque week end, guitaristes, chanteurs, musiciens folk venaient échanger musiques, disques, conseils, informations sur tel ou tel musicien...
            Ce festival qui a eu lieu en août 1965 dans Central Park à New York - concocté et présenté par Alan Lomax - permet d'entendre plusieurs artistes de New York en compagnie d'autres venus du Sud pour l'occasion. On trouve ici uniquement des artistes Africains Américains qui représentent une large palette des musiques folk encore vivantes un peu partout dans le Sud des Etats Unis.
            Inédit en disque, ce festival est un excellent témoignage de la scène musicale du folk et blues revival du milieu des années 60.
            Tous nos remerciements à la Fondation Lomax et à
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT

            It was the Folk Boom/ Blues Revival era of the mid-60's, all acoustic of course. One could easily hear and see the Reverend Gary Davis singing for tips in Harlem and beyond, Sweet Daddy Stovepipe playing in Central Park where every week end musicians, singers and fans were gathering a little bit everywhere, swapping songs, records, informations on where to see and hear who in the NYC area.
            This very festival was held during August 1965 in Central Park, NYC. It was apparently set up by Alan Lomax who also MC'd the event. Some artists featured were familiar of the New York City folk scene, others were brought from the South for this event and probably other venues on coffeehouses and such. They were only African-American performers who displayed a wide range of deep musical traditions still living and played a little bit everywhere in the Southern States.
            Unissued on record, this festival is an excellent testimony of what was happening on the Folk scene during the mid-60's.
            A lot of thanks to the Lomax Foundation and
                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT

Reverend Gary Davis, vcl/g/bjo; Bessie Jones, vcl; Mable Hillery, vcl; John Davis, vcl; Peter Davis, vcl; Emma Ramsay, vcl; Ed, Lonnie & Lonnie Young Jr, fife and drum band; Georgia Sea Island Singers; Roger Phoenix, g. New York City, August 1965
01. Intro (by Alan Lomax)
Ed Young's Fife and Drum band.
02. Young's tune (Ed Young)
03. Jim and John
04. Ida Red
05. Sitting on top of the world
Bessie Jones & Georgia Sea Island Singers.
06. Buzzard lope
07. Old Lady from Brewser
08. Little Johnny Brown
John Davis & Georgia Sea Island Singers
09. Riley
10. Raggy levee
11. Row the boat child
12. Sink'em low
Reverend Gary Davis.
13. Kitty wants a corner
14. Candy man
15. Sally where you get your liquor from?
16. Twelve stick rag
17. Buck dance
18. Twelve gates to the City
19. Samson and Delilah
John & Peter Davis.
20. Carrie Belle
21. O Day
Mable Hillery & Ed Young
22. Chevrolet
Mable Hillery & Roger Phoenix.
23. How long blues
Bessie Jones & Gary Davis.
24. Whoa mule
Finale (all together)
25. Got on my travelling shoes