Mance Lipscomb's style is very distinctive, and for a while I've been struggling to find the key to that distinctiveness. It's not that I wanted to clone the sound, more that I wanted enough of his sound to make me feel I wasn't just playing Mance's songs but also playing in a recognisably Mance-like way.
Ernie's DVD lesson delivers exactly what I needed. Within minutes of watching I started to get it, to see and hear everything I needed to be able to practice not just the songs but the style too. To get this instantly for just a few pounds seems to me like an act of enormous generosity on the part of the teacher: as the potted sleeve biography says he was taught by Rev. Gary Davis, he played with Mance, Son House, Fred McDowell, Robert Pete Williams and others, he spent years accumulating this knowledge, not to mention considerable skill as a player himself. And as owner of this DVD I get to benefit from all this just by putting the thing in the slot and clicking 'play'. It's just one of life's unqualified wins. If you're thinking of buying this, just stop thinking and lay your money down...
So, I think it's clear that I love this DVD. In the interest of balance I would normally hope to find some small caveat to add, but really there's none; Hawkins's teaching style is warm, unpretentious, pitched perfectly to work for the beginner/improver but not to the extent to frustrate the more advanced player. As an example, he will talk about Mance moving his left-hand 'to get the third [of the chord]', but the demonstration is also clear enough for players with no, or precious little chord theory, like me, not to be left wondering what he means. For me it just works. It's great.
So thanks Ernie. And thanks Mance.