Should come with a free bar of soap......,
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This review is from: I'd Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues (Paperback)
I had read some of the previous reviews of this book, it's fair to say that none of them do it justice. I was hoping to read a balanced biography of a blues giant. Recording session details would have been appreciated, likewise a discography of what is available by Skip James on cd and vinyl. Instead what the author has produced is nothing but the worst kind of hatchet job. Stephen Calt seems to have despised just about everyone he ever came into contact with. Whether they be fellow blues fans, blues concert promotors, other blues musicians or record company personnel none of them are safe from the venom filled bile that the author deems fit pour over everyone. The very worst of that bile is reserved for Skip James. I will not repeat some of the rubbish that the author has composed between the covers of this book, suffice to say that Stephen Calt was very wise to wait until the subject had passed away before getting this published. I'm sure that he would have been sued to hell and back if Skip James had still been alive when this thing went into print. All this is bad enough, but the single thing I have found to be the most offensive about this book is the fact that the "facts" in it, according to the author, all come from taped conversations with the subject. The author brazenly states at the very beginning of the book that he regularly went to the home of Skip James and his wife during the sixties and recorded conversations where the subject would talk about his own life and all manner of other things. To then produce a rag such as this about the man, based on those alleged conversations, is probably the worst act of treachery I have ever seen in print. It does however say more about the true character of the author than he can ever hope to say about his subject. I can only think of one worse thing than having Stephen Calt as an author and that would have been having him for a neighbour. Would I recommend this book? Not on your life, it has no redeeming factors at all and as an alleged "biography", it is well suited for inclusion in the "fiction" section of your local library .Why the free bar of soap as mentioned in the title of this review? Well, after reading this I wanted to wash my hands. They felt dirty.