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Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great to know what he's singing!, 31 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Revelation Blind Willie Johnson The Biography. (Paperback)
This book is obviously a labour of love. The author has transcribed all of Blind Willie's lyrics and brought us a whole new listening experience as a result. I have been enjoying Johnson's records since the 1960s. He has an amazing voice - a deep growl at times, a light tenor at others. On top of this, he is - according to almost every critic - the finest slide guitar player who ever lived. His songs are all religious; but they may as well be in a foreign language in places. Blind Willie's dialect and slurred delivery obscure a huge percentage of them. Now, at last, we know what he is singing about. Blakey has not only written the words down - he has also commented on the content: where the words come from, what they are referring to, what they mean. Take a look at the chapter on "If I Had My Way". What an awe inspiring performance from Willie! What enlightenment from Blakey! He explains the story of Samson and then links it to every line of the song, filling in the gaps, demonstrating the song's misconceptions, giving us sensible interpretations of the words. That is the strength of this publication. Okay, Blakey recounts the research concerning Johnson's life and he tells us a little about guitar tunings and such; but the backbone of the book - the main reason to read and enjoy it - is Johnson's lyrics and their meanings. They have never been so accurately interpreted before. That alone makes it a 5-star read.
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Location: Birmingham,UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 33,701