- Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow
- THE SOUL SEEN – Retrospective
- René Descartes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
- “Your Suffering Will Be Legendary, Even in Hell!” – 25 Years of HELLRAISER Retrospective
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Julia was married to Charles Dodds born February , a relatively prosperous landowner and furniture maker, with whom she had ten children. Charles Dodds had been forced by a lynch mob to leave Hazlehurst following a dispute with white landowners. Julia left Hazlehurst with baby Robert, but after two years sent the boy to Memphis to live with her husband, who had changed his name to Charles Spencer.
Robert rejoined his mother around in the Mississippi Delta area, near Tunica and Robinsonville. Robert was at school in and A school friend, Willie Coffee, who was interviewed and filmed in later life, recalled that as a youth Robert was already noted for playing the harmonica and jaw harp. After school, Robert adopted the surname of his natural father, signing himself as Robert Johnson on the certificate of his marriage to sixteen-year-old Virginia Travis in February She died in childbirth shortly after.
McCormick believed that Johnson himself accepted the phrase as a description of his resolve to abandon the settled life of a husband and farmer to become a full-time blues musician. Around this time, the blues musician Son House moved to Robinsonville, where his musical partner Willie Brown lived. Late in life, House remembered Johnson as a "little boy" who was a competent harmonica player but an embarrassingly bad guitarist.
Soon after, Johnson left Robinsonville for the area around Martinsville, close to his birthplace, possibly searching for his natural father. Here he perfected the guitar style of House and learned other styles from Isaiah "Ike" Zimmerman. He was asked whether he attributed Johnson's technique to this pact, and his equivocal answers have been taken as confirmation. He married Caletta Craft in May In , the couple moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi , in the Delta. Caletta died in childbirth, and Johnson left for a career as a "walking" or itinerant musician.
From until his death in , Johnson moved frequently between the cities of Memphis and Helena , and the smaller towns of the Mississippi Delta and neighboring regions of Mississippi and Arkansas. In other places he stayed with a woman he seduced at his first performance. He used different names in different places, employing at least eight distinct surnames. Biographers have looked for consistency from musicians who knew Johnson in different contexts: Shines, who traveled extensively with him; Robert Lockwood, Jr. When Johnson arrived in a new town, he would play for tips on street corners or in front of the local barbershop or a restaurant.
With an ability to pick up tunes at first hearing, he had no trouble giving his audiences what they wanted, and certain of his contemporaries later remarked on his interest in jazz and country music. He also had an uncanny ability to establish a rapport with his audience; in every town in which he stopped, he would establish ties to the local community that would serve him well when he passed through again a month or a year later. Shines was 17 when he met Johnson in He estimated Johnson was maybe a year older than himself. Robert was a very friendly person, even though he was sulky at times, you know.
And I hung around Robert for quite a while. One evening he disappeared. He was kind of a peculiar fellow. Robert'd be standing up playing some place, playing like nobody's business.
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At about that time it was a hustle with him as well as a pleasure. And money'd be coming from all directions. But Robert'd just pick up and walk off and leave you standing there playing. And you wouldn't see Robert no more maybe in two or three weeks. So Robert and I, we began journeying off. I was just, matter of fact, tagging along. During this time Johnson established what would be a relatively long-term relationship with Estella Coleman, a woman about 15 years his senior and the mother of the blues musician Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Johnson reportedly cultivated a woman to look after him in each town he played in. He reputedly asked homely young women living in the country with their families whether he could go home with them, and in most cases he was accepted, until a boyfriend arrived or Johnson was ready to move on.
Louis and possibly Illinois and then to some states in the East. In , Columbia Records producer John H. On learning of Johnson's death, Hammond replaced him with Big Bill Broonzy , but he played two of Johnson's records from the stage. In Jackson, Mississippi, around , Johnson sought out H. Speir , who ran a general store and also acted as a talent scout. The recording session was held on November 23—25, , in room of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio,  which Brunswick Records had set up to be a temporary recording studio.
In the ensuing three-day session, Johnson played 16 selections and recorded alternate takes for most of them. He reportedly performed facing the wall, which has been cited as evidence he was a shy man and reserved performer. This conclusion was played up in the inaccurate liner notes of the album King of the Delta Blues Singers. The slide guitarist Ry Cooder speculates that Johnson played facing a corner to enhance the sound of the guitar, a technique he calls "corner loading".
The first to be released were " Terraplane Blues " and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down", probably the only recordings of his that he would live to hear. According to Elijah Wald , it was "the most musically complex in the cycle"  and stood apart from most rural blues as a thoroughly composed lyric, rather than an arbitrary collection of more or less unrelated verses. Johnson traveled to Dallas , Texas, for another recording session with Don Law in a makeshift studio at the Vitagraph Warner Brothers Building, at Park Avenue,  on June 19—20, where Brunswick Record Corporation was located on the third floor.
Johnson did two takes of most of these songs, and recordings of those takes survived. Because of this, there is more opportunity to compare different performances of a single song by Johnson than for any other blues performer of his time and place.
Johnson died on August 16, , at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi , of unknown causes. His death was not reported publicly; he merely disappeared from the historical record and it was not until almost 30 years later, when Gayle Dean Wardlow , a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson's life, found his death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death.
No formal autopsy was done, as a dead black man found by the side of the road near a farm, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that may have been a contributing factor in his death. However, 30 years of local legend and oral tradition had, like the rest of his life story, built a legend which has filled in gaps in the scant historical record.
Several differing accounts have described the events preceding his death. According to one theory, Johnson was murdered by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted. In an account by the blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson , Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, and she gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband. When Johnson took the bottle, Williamson knocked it out of his hand, admonishing him to never drink from a bottle that he had not personally seen opened.
Johnson replied, "Don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand. Johnson is reported to have begun feeling ill the evening after and had to be helped back to his room in the early morning hours. Over the next three days his condition steadily worsened. Witnesses reported that he died in a convulsive state of severe pain.
The musicologist Robert "Mack" McCormick claimed to have tracked down the man who murdered Johnson and to have obtained a confession from him in a personal interview, but he declined to reveal the man's name. While strychnine has been suggested as the poison that killed Johnson, at least one scholar has disputed the notion.
Tom Graves, in his book Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson , relies on expert testimony from toxicologists to argue that strychnine has such a distinctive odor and taste that it cannot be disguised, even in strong liquor. Graves also claims that a significant amount of strychnine would have to be consumed in one sitting to be fatal, and that death from the poison would occur within hours, not days.
The LeFlore County registrar, Cornelia Jordan, years later and after conducting an investigation into Johnson's death for the state director of vital statistics, R. Whitfield, wrote a clarifying note on the back of Johnson's death certificate:. I talked with the white man on whose place this negro died and I also talked with a negro woman on the place. The plantation owner said the negro man, seemingly about 26 years old, came from Tunica two or three weeks before he died to play banjo at a negro dance given there on the plantation. He stayed in the house with some of the negroes saying he wanted to pick cotton.
The white man did not have a doctor for this negro as he had not worked for him. He was buried in a homemade coffin furnished by the county. The plantation owner said it was his opinion that the man died of syphilis. In , a medical practitioner, David Connell, suggested, on the basis of photographs showing Johnson's "unnaturally long fingers" and "one bad eye", that Johnson may have had Marfan syndrome , which could have both affected his guitar playing and contributed to his death due to aortic dissection.
The exact location of Johnson's grave is officially unknown; three different markers have been erected at possible sites in church cemeteries outside Greenwood. John Hammond, Jr. According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician.
Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow
He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man the devil who took the guitar and tuned it. The devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This was a deal with the devil mirroring the legend of Faust.
In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous. This legend was developed over time and has been chronicled by Gayle Dean Wardlow ,  Edward Komara  and Elijah Wald, who sees the legend as largely dating from Johnson's rediscovery by white fans more than two decades after his death. Welding reported it as a serious belief in a widely read article in Down Beat in Further details were absorbed from the imaginative retellings by Greil Marcus  and Robert Palmer. There is dispute as to how and when the crossroads detail was attached to the Robert Johnson story.
All the published evidence, including a full chapter on the subject in the biography Crossroads , by Tom Graves, suggests an origin in the story of the blues musician Tommy Johnson. This story was collected from his musical associate Ishman Bracey and his elder brother Ledell in the s. In another version, Ledell placed the meeting not at a crossroads but in a graveyard.
This resembles the story told to Steve LaVere that Ike Zinnerman of Hazlehurst, Mississippi , learned to play the guitar at midnight while sitting on tombstones. Zinnerman is believed to have influenced the playing of the young Johnson. Recent research by the blues scholar Bruce Conforth , in Living Blues magazine, makes the story clearer. Johnson and Ike Zimmerman the spelling reportedly given in census records for the family going back to the early s, on his Social Security card and Social Security death notice, on his funeral program, and by his daughters did practice in a graveyard at night, because it was quiet and no one would disturb them, but it was not the Hazlehurst cemetery as had been believed: Zimmerman was not from Hazlehurst but nearby Beauregard , and he did not practice in one graveyard, but in several in the area.
THE SOUL SEEN – Retrospective
While Dockery, Hazlehurst and Beauregard have each been claimed as the locations of the mythical crossroads, there are also tourist attractions claiming to be "The Crossroads" in both Clarksdale and Memphis. The blues historian Steve Cheseborough wrote that it may be impossible to discover the exact location of the mythical crossroads, because "Robert Johnson was a rambling guy". Some scholars have argued that the devil in these songs may refer not only to the Christian figure of Satan but also to the African trickster god Legba , himself associated with crossroads. Folklorist Harry M. Hyatt wrote that, during his research in the South from to , when African-Americans born in the 19th or early 20th century said they or anyone else had "sold their soul to the devil at the crossroads," they had a different meaning in mind.
Hyatt claimed there was evidence indicating African religious retentions surrounding Legba and the making of a "deal" not selling the soul in the same sense as in the Faustian tradition cited by Graves with the so-called devil at the crossroads. The Blues and the Blues singer has really special powers over women, especially. It is said that the Blues singer could possess women and have any woman they wanted.
And so when Robert Johnson came back, having left his community as an apparently mediocre musician, with a clear genius in his guitar style and lyrics, people said he must have sold his soul to the devil. And that fits in with this old African association with the crossroads where you find wisdom: you go down to the crossroads to learn, and in his case to learn in a Faustian pact, with the devil.
You sell your soul to become the greatest musician in history. This view that the devil in Johnson's songs is derived from an African deity was disputed by the blues scholar David Evans in an essay published in , "Demythologizing the Blues":. There are The devil imagery found in the blues is thoroughly familiar from western folklore, and nowhere do blues singers ever mention Legba or any other African deity in their songs or other lore.
The actual African music connected with cults of Legba and similar trickster deities sounds nothing like the blues, but rather features polyrhythmic percussion and choral call-and-response singing. The musicologist Alan Lomax dismissed the myth, stating, "In fact, every blues fiddler, banjo picker, harp blower, piano strummer and guitar framer was, in the opinion of both himself and his peers, a child of the Devil, a consequence of the black view of the European dance embrace as sinful in the extreme". Johnson is considered a master of the blues, particularly of the Delta blues style.
Keith Richards , of the Rolling Stones , said in , "You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it. Louis , with "a full-fledged, abundantly varied musical arrangement". An important aspect of Johnson's singing was his use of microtonality. These subtle inflections of pitch help explain why his singing conveys such powerful emotion. Eric Clapton described Johnson's music as "the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice".
In two takes of "Me and the Devil Blues" he shows a high degree of precision in the complex vocal delivery of the last verse: "The range of tone he can pack into a few lines is astonishing. A star being formed from molecular clouds in space. All of this is both one experience and every experience. Everything is incredible. No irony to get in the way, Malick is entirely, damnably sincere. All that matters was that it fixed Jack.
We all discover our own enlightenment. Some look deep within themselves to find it. Some look to religion. Some look to art. Some look to film. And in all of these things, we find the same joy. For our lives. For life in general. All life connected. Soldiers die in The Thin Red Line , and a bird breaks its wings.
Grief now relieved, sins now forgiven, Jack finds himself back in that elevator, this time descending to the ground floor. He steps out of the building just as lost as he was before. Clouds reflect on the glass buildings like they themselves are a second sky. A bird swoops down a bridge. A cut to black. The film ends where it began: With a single flame of light glowing in the darkness. I like to think that that very flame that begins and ends the film is the same that the universe began and will eventually end with.
Every single universal experience condensed into one being. Kit wanted to leave behind a legacy through his murders. Malick already has left a legacy with his films. And we all leave our own legacy just through our experience. And they are all one. For little did we realize that what began in the alleys and backways of Ft.
Dupree, South Dakota , would end in that single flame. And the mountains will go up in big flames. And it will all just rise up. And we will look out at the things we made. All things shining. And only then, will we know where Mother lives. For she was one of many that lead us to the door. The Tree of Life was a surprise success in the box-office, considering how much of a hard sell it was. And while the Terrence Malick Retrospective has come to a close, I will continue to chronicle his filmography.
Days of Heaven. The Thin Red Line. The New World. And also consider at the end, that he was specifically the one who Chastain is overjoyed to see—and who she specifically parts ways with. Though I still believe knowing really changes anything, and Malick knew that too, which is why he never states it explicitly. Still, its interesting that you can find it out just by paying attention. For me, this was a film that went beyond everything I had expected and more.
It was nothing like I had ever seen. After seeing it, I knew that Malick had just upped the stakes of what can be done with cinema. Two couples left in the first 20 minutes laughing, several old ladies complained about nothing happening behind me, and by the time the movie had finished my brother and I were the only ones left in the theater. We quietly exited the place in a daze and walked to the car stunned. Even with a terrible audience, once I glimpsed that first light emerging from the darkness, Malick had me. When I saw The Tree of Life, it was in the Arclight, and considering how expensive Arclight is and how great their staff is, there were no people being disrespectful.
And it was still one of my favorite and most memorable theater experiences. As much I as I found the film extremely dull, it should always be remembered that filmmaking is an arduous, painstaking, time-consuming enterprise and never ever undertaken without effort. Even this one as unengaging as it is.
Excellent review. Grace represents the fruit of the Spirit, … and Nature represents the harshness of a world that barely gives a damn. The conflict between to the two can be devastating, … or transforming….. Pingback: Welcome to the Balcony! Movie Mezzanine. It is simply that destruction itself is sourced to evil, and that a human being, as Jack as a child, could not see violence, failure and arrest around him, around his town, without then needing to reject it.
I wanna see what You see. What he does onward, what he thinks, is always ever a manifestation of this principle rejection of destruction. He realizes his brother is safe, safer from this destruction, in death, than in his world, a world steadily removed of the garden, of the trees. The film creates a positioning toward destruction: death is a way to value the garden, the trees, the birds, once more.
Destruction stands in the way of the perfect death, one that allows us to see the value of the garden without destroying ourselves and others. All we know is that it caused pain, it was somehow related to destruction. This just goes to show how ultimately indistinguishable to the naked eye death is from destruction.
Although She Who Bleeds. Yet the stance could also be seen as risky for an artist looking for a shot at success amidst the fun-loving, materialistic fare that the music industry predominantly peddles. The woman is a genius! At the heart of what we call soul is sincerity. It is what gives words meaning beyond definition and transforms a song into a conversation. But it also lies at the core of the person she truly is, off the bandstand and away from the mike. This refreshing quality is what turned a scheduled fifteen-minute interview with the gifted, Brooklyn-bred songstress into an enjoyable and interesting forty-minute chat.
What also comes through during a talk with Ms. Bernod is a humbleness that belies her vast experience. An amazing instrument that is warm, captivating, full-bodied and commanding no doubt opens the doors for Bernod, but her personality is what surely keeps them that way.
Although Bernod has always had her eyes set on a solo career and has always pursued that goal, as she notes, her work with such terrific artists has and continues to serve her well. My job. Later Bernod shares fondly what working with one particular artist has meant to her. At the time of our talk Karen was a couple of weeks away from touring with Chaka overseas and shares, with understandable excitement, that she will eventually be opening for the incomparable vocalist.
I chose it mainly because the record companies want to mold you and take so much from you without letting you have any creative input. I should know a little bit about what I want to do and how I want to look. And the rewards have grown ever since. It takes more elbow grease and all of that, but what you are paying, you appreciate it. It empowers you. Karen Bernod who released several other acclaimed solo projects continues to be a sought after background and session singer. Click here to check out her catalogue and keep an eye out for new music. Well, actually a couple of them. Feeling confident about the mounting collection of impressive tracks and rightfully so, Crockett who hails from the DC area, but who now calls Brooklyn, NY home, decided to go with the flow and find a heading that would best underscore their collective tone.
That process revealed the defining realization that before her very eyes she had changed. I started thinking of myself as a woman. So I figured, this is how I became a woman. I started thinking about all that kind of stuff. The experience not only brought sharpening of her ability, but also an invaluable glimpse at the kind of vocalist she was becoming — a stylist who although displayed a capacity for the jazz vernacular, clearly was something that harbored other musical influences and desires.
In fact, the style driven by her dynamic voice and seductive delivery wooed several who proved instrumental to her further development and exposure. Crockett appeared on their release, An Ordinary Day In An Unusual Place , an album touted by many as perhaps their best complete effort due in great part to the addition of her flavorful vocals. Now with On Becoming A Woman. Crockett, who in addition to her vocal and writing skills is a talented pianist, has poured her wealth of accumulated experience and musical influences into a splendid, moving collage of sensual reflection, powerful affirmation and beautifully insightful takes.
In the process, a complete look at this utterly mesmeric voice, soulful, strong and scored with individuality is granted and one of the more impressive releases this year revealed. For him, this marks the emergence of an outstanding young producer destined for big things. Alison Crockett, who is already enjoying success in the UK, is of course hoping for that and more here in the states with On Becoming A Woman. She released a few other impressive and acclaimed projects after the very successful On Becoming A Woman. It would be wise if in that area or if you see her coming to yours that you check her out.
I would have gotten around eventually to reintroducing the following piece. It is for the incredibly talented, super fly duo, Heavy. In this piece there is the suggestion that they and their sound may very well have been way ahead of its time. The Heavy you now hold is neither too much to bear nor excessive. Hell yeah — But beyond you? These are the words used to describe the group Heavy in the liner notes of their recent self-titled UK release. Unexpectedly requested — enthusiastically supplied. It was indeed a pleasure to do so, but definitely not an easy task to sum up the admiration for this exciting crew in only a few words.
Or for that matter, define their brand of music. However, a realization soon followed that even a flood of descriptive text would not adequately convey the effect of their music. Will Comparisons help? Comparisons to whom? Groove Theory? Rene and Angela? Captain and Tenille? For sure, they are now. Ultimately, the music will speak best for what Heavy truly is. Like fine wine the number of projects Heavy actually released is limited and rare. But in addition to their high powered performances and novel look, still made quite an impact on the then burgeoning independent soul scene for sure.
With top-notch aid on both the music and business sides from stellar guitarist Teddy Crockett , Heavy turned heads and ears both in the states and abroad, which encouraged touring opportunities with likes of Q-Tip, N. D and Jill Scott. If not for a full fledged return, maybe to bless us with just a few more magical musical moments together.
Their talent and obvious love for music would not likely allow otherwise. And so, we can only hope to get real Heavy , to some degree soon. Case in point, vocalist, songwriter, and musician, KEM. Well, not only was the goal met, it was exceeded — while at the same time sparking a watchful eye and eventual offer from Motown Records to promote and distribute not only Kemistry, but 4 other future releases as well.
René Descartes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
But why, you maybe wondering, after confirming his ability to sell records on his own would Kem decide to hook up with Motown? It also helps me build my fan base, my market base. I will have established that kind of base. Not only for his astute business acumen, but because he is in possession of the main element which has been key to his success thus far — Genuine, innate talent. In addition to being a completely self-taught musician, his vocal range goes 4 high on the octave scale and his emotive, creative style, which soars, bends, and soothes, employs them all.
As to the comparisons made to renowned, multi-award winning vocalist, Al Jarreau, Kem considers himself in great company, but counts Jarreau and vocal wizard, Bobby McFerrin, as more like confirmations than necessarily influences. Topics like spirituality and faith.
“Your Suffering Will Be Legendary, Even in Hell!” – 25 Years of HELLRAISER Retrospective
When asking Kem about his hopes for Kemistry , he goes back to why he got with Motown and what potential it creates. Feeling me. Those are the ones I cater to. For more about Kem and when you can see him in your town go to musicbykem. In fact, his first was the first full interview feature that appeared on its pages. Patterson would later, in , follow up the debut with LOVE IN STEREO , another fan favorite steered by his emotive, multi-octave ranged vocals and flaunting superlative songwriting, incredible production and infectious grooves.
We caught up with Patterson a couple years later as he was working on his next project and in retrospect, our candid conversation was perhaps prophetic as he shared his views on his career at that point, the Love In Stereo record, the industry, the label he was then on and the artist he was intent on being. Below is that interview:. Rahsaan Patterson: It was a natural progression for me to get to the point of making a record so when I was making it, it felt natural, you know, like the next phase.
I was definitely excited about releasing an album. I knew that I had to make some kind of impact and in doing so, I had to be me. Is there a great deal more expectation for your second CD than there is on your first? RP: I believe there is on the second project. People have more of an expectation.
They want to at least see if you can live up to what the first one was. I believe it is true in that sense. I know for myself, I am always changing, growing rather and getting to places within myself where I feel comfortable with exposing other sides of myself to people through music. So with each album it just gets a little deeper for me that way. For some reason, it ended up not being — after spending an astronomical amount of money with two hot producers of the moment — for a song that was suppose to be the first single because they were hot at that moment and the production style of the song was suppose to be the hottest.
But in terms of what I write and what I sing and who I do it with, I have control over that. What brought about you being moved to record this song and to start this foundation? RP: Growing up around it. Growing up around physical abuse — Being exposed to it and realizing the effect that it has had on my life and my view of relationships. I knew that it was something that a lot of people could relate to and I know definitely a lot of people that come from the place I come from and could relate to it. You know, like having a platinum record and all that kind of stuff. For me, my success is everyday, waking up cool with myself, and cool with my decisions and my choices — Always maintaining true to myself and artistry first.
Beneath all of that there has to be a reason why they keep you.