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At Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop and Vestapol Videos, we offer the best in instructional guitar DVDs, Audio CDs and Books, and the Vestapol series of historic and concert DVDs. We also have a wide variety of DVD and CD audio lessons focusing on various aspects of fingerstyle and flatpicking guitar styles and techniques.
Our roster of teachers reads like a "Who's Who" of the guitar world. Our DVD lessons present the finest in clear and incisive visual education. Each tune is performed in full and then explained.
You'll find Nashville fingerstyle, Country and Delta Blues, Ragtime, Celtic, Swing Jazz, Rockabilly, Classic Ragtime, and straight Jazz lessons in our catalog. Our DVD lessons present the finest in clear and incisive visual education.
Each tune is performed in full and then explained. This is followed by the piece being played slowly on a split screen, allowing the student to see both the right and left hand movements. Everything played during the split screen segments is transcribed and presented in a PDF tab/music booklet that is on the DVD lesson. Bonus audio tracks are included on our Country Blues lessons.
This lesson features a mixed bag of seven songs that I’ve arranged in a variety of ways, employing tricks and licks that I’ve picked up over the years in my quest to find my own “style”. – Cory Seznec
In this lesson Tom Feldmann takes you through nine tunes that Tampa Red recorded in the 1920s-1930s showcasing his varied song styles and masterful slide
We have 8 Vestapol DVDs devoted to performances and interviews with the great Doc Watson. You can purchase ALL 8 titles as DVDs or Direct D...more
Stefan Grossman is an acoustic blues guitarist, a student of Rev. Gary Davis, and a guy who has been to the rodeo and back again in the blues wo...more
Every Wednesday we e-mail a link to a free lesson of ours on YouTube including a link to the PDF tab/music for that lesson. Make sure to be sign...more
In the mid-1970s when I started Kicking Mule Records my aim was to produce a series of acoustic fingerstyle guitar albums. But the first project...more
We rarely review instructional videos, but this one is something special. And it’s more than just a how-to guide:it’s an in-depth, note-for-note...more
It’s hard for me to believe. Almost 50 years has passed since I was sitting by the stage at Gerde’s Folk City in New York City with my two track Tandberg tape machine recording my teacher, Rev. Gary Davis’ performances. It was the week of February 3rd to 10th, 1962. Rev. Davis was booked along with the New World Singers (Gil Turner, Happy Traum and Bob Cohen) at the famous bar in Greenwich Village. During the week’s engagement all the new and old folk singers of the Village came by to watch, listen and pay their respects - from Dave Van Ronk to a newly arrived Bob Dylan.
When the gig at Gerde's Folk City came up I was excited, as here was a chance to record performances of Rev. Davis for a full week. I had been going down to Gerde’s for some time and Mike Porco, the owner, knew my face and would let me in for free as long as I sat at the bar (even though I was underaged!). I was also friends with Manny Greenhill of Folklore Productions. He managed Rev. Davis and was encouraging me to record Rev. Davis whenever I could. Manny wanted me to get as many songs and instrumentals recorded so that they could be published and protected. So I had the green light from all concerned and Mike allowed me to leave my Tandberg in the basement after each night’s performances.
Rev. Davis was very much part of these recordings. He wanted to play tunes that he had not yet recorded. Each set was filled with songs I had never heard.
Track Listing: (click on tracks for mp3 sound samples)
1. You Got To Move
2. Intro to Come Down And See Me Sometime
3. Come Down And See Me Sometime
4. Wouldn't Say Quit
5. Oh Lord
6. Announcing Guitar lessons
7. People That Use to See, Can't See No More
8. There’s Destruction In This Land
9. Intro to Soon My Work Will Soon Be Over
10. Soon My Work Will Soon Be Over
11. Intro to Oh Glory, How Happy I Am
12. Oh Glory, How Happy I Am
1. I Want To Be Saved
2. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
3. Death Don't Have No Mercy
4. Lord I Won't Go Back In Sin
6. Buck Dance
7. Samson & Delilah
8. Working On The Building
9. I'll Fly Away
10. Sun Goin’ Down
11. Fox Chase
1. God's Gonna Separate
2. Lord Search My Heart
3. Jesus Met The Woman At The Well
4. Say No To The Devil
5. I Am A Pilgrim
6. All Night Long
7. Trying To Get To Heaven
8. Thank You Jesus
9. Twelve Sticks
10. Intro to Tesse
12. Lord They Tell Me
13. Right Or Wrong
Review: As Stefan Grossman tells us in his heartfelt notes he was encouraged by Davis's manager and friend, the charismatic Manny Greenhill, to record Davis whenever he could. Over the years Grossman has collected a wealth of Davis material, recorded informally at Davis's home and live in various concerts, and this three-disc compilation finds Davis in concert and in sparkling form.
The energetic Davis was 65 years old at the time of these recordings and was at the height of his powers, and all of his impressive skills are captured on this very highly recommended set. Surprises include a number of titles that have not been released elsewhere, alongside some of his most popular titles such as Say No To The Devil, Death Don't Have No Mercy and Soon My Work Will All Be Done.
The 36 titles were recorded during a week-long booking, in February 1962 at Gerde's Folk City, the legendary club in Greenwich Village. The venue had presented over the years a long string of legendary performers including Roosevelt Sykes, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and Bob Dylan. Davis sounds relaxed and is obviously enjoying the attention of the highly appreciative audience and Grossman, who recorded this set on a heavy Tandberg recording machine, has included a number of fascinating song introductions and anecdotes, all adding greatly to the enjoyment of the recordings.
By the time these recordings were made Davis had quite a following and had appeared at a number of major clubs and festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival and the Mariposa Festival. He had in the previous two years recorded two magnificent albums for the Prestige Bluesville label that show him at his very best, and here he is in equal form. His vocals, in particular, are powerful, committed and totally commanding, while his guitar picking is as inventive and as consummate as ever.
There are startling versions of the show stopping guitar instrumentals Twelve Sticks and Buck Dance, while the recording of Lord, Search My Heart, the only title included here from Davis's first recording session in 1935, is one of the best versions he ever recorded. One of his most popular songs, from his earliest days as a performing musician, Candyman has high falsetto vocals and a stunning guitar passage. I Am A Pilgrim, Davis informs us, comes from the time that he was first learning to play the guitar at the turn of last century. Another of the previously unrecorded songs People That Used To See, Can't See No More has a guitar melody that is very similar to another of his most popular songs, Cocaine Blues, and is one of the standout moments of this intriguing release.
One of the other not previously recorded titles that is particularly enjoyable is Working On The Building, with a guitar break that is as inventive as ever. The other three new titles, just A Closer Walk With Thee, Lord I Won't Go Back In Sin, and Tesse all add tremendously to the fascination of this set. On two titles, Soon My Work Will All Be Done and Oh Glory, How Happy I Am, Davis is joined on stage by the New World Singers (Gil Turner, Happy Traum and Bob Cohen), who shared the bill with Davis for the week, and there is no doubt that everyone is having a good time.
There are very few recordings of Davis playing the harmonica. This is an exceptional release, and thanks go to Grossman for putting it out. Davis' tremendous sense of humor is obvious alongside his committed Christian beliefs and he performs with passion and integrity. This is an absolute must for established Davis fans. If you have none of his material start here and you will not be disappointed. – Living Blues/Bob Tilling
Review: Gary Davis, the blind reverend with the wicked fretsmanship and the brimstone howl, once set up camp for a solid week in Gerde's Folk City. Joining him at the Greenwich Village club was his usual partner, the curvaceous six-stringed Miss Gibson, as well as a downhome harmonica that he rhythmically rattled. Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan were among the applauding audience those February nights in 1962. So was 17-year-old Stefan Grossman, who, fortuitously, was accompanied by his two-track tape deck, which gobbled up three CDs' worth of everything his guitar teacher did. That included advertising lessons run out of his Bronx home and even prescribing a little romantic advice. Mostly, though, it meant evangelizing listeners to the almighty powers of Davis' Piedmont picking and granite voice. Signature pieces-- "Samson And Delilah," "Candyman:' the famous downer anthem of "Death Don't Have No Mercy"-- came alive. He hammed it up through dark comedy that "Wouldn't Say Quit," and occasionally let instrumental showpieces-the "Twelve Sticks" string dance, plus "Oh Lord:' a seven-minute feat of harped hyperventilation-say it all. And the sunny ragtime bounce through "Oh Glory, How Happy I Am" could warm even the coldest sinner. Yet when his holy howl flung open its floodgates, the hellfire blasts cut through the tape hiss, exorcizing any demons within earshot of "Say No To The Devil." Oh, what a week. – Blues Rag / Dennis Rozanski
Review: Reverend Gary Davis was born in 1896 in Laurens County, S.C., and, by the age of 10 was a consummate musician on the five-string banjo, harmonica and guitar. By the time a 17-year-old Stefan Grossman caught up with him with a tape recorder (great sound) on stage at New York City's Gerde's Folk City in early February of 1962, he was a "rediscovered" favorite on the folk revival festival and club circuit, recording fairly extensively and giving guitar lessons at 3826 Park Avenue in his "little private hut." Grossman was one of his many students.
All the activity means that, despite his years, Davis was probably at his technical peak at the time, a fact that becomes abundantly clear over the course of this marvelous three-disc project. Highlights from the first disc include the sermon-like cautionary "There's Destruction in This Land" (Davis' early 1930s recordings were all in a Gospel vein, as are many here), an energized version of one of his signature sanctified efforts, the restless "You Got To Move" (that features some of his patented "talking guitar"), and the jaunty singalong "Come Down and See Me Sometime." Davis also plays some gritty harmonica on the lengthy "Oh Lord."
The following discs dig even deeper into Davis' vast repertoire, with a chilling "Death Don't Have No Mercy," a playful "Candyman," the lively "Buck Dance" (more "talking guitar"), the traditional instrumental "Fox Chase" (more earthy harmonica), a stark "Right or Wrong," an old vaudeville weeper titled "Tessie" (made up on the spot for a lovesick Mr. Grossman) and the exuberant "Trying to Get to Heaven," among others. Grossman's nostalgic liners remind us of the profound influence that Davis had on more than one generation of guitarists with the nonpareil complexity and relaxed brilliance of his approach. – Sing Out!
Reverend Davis is one of those figures whose creativity covered such a wide range that one can come back again and again and always find something new. This release certainly proves that. There is only the one gospel song, but the interplay between voice and instrument can be heard on songs like Hesitation Blues and Candyman. The ragtime and blues playing here are definitive examples of American guitar, i.e. Walkin’ Dog Blues, Twelve Sticks, Buck Rag, Buck Dance. There is hokum hilarity and novelty (the slide on Whistlin’ Blues) to balance the sheer instrumental force. And there is a lot more: Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches is a song that might slip through the cracks on a compilation like this, but a careful listen reveals a piece that is so unique it is hard to categorize.
This collection shows the instrumental genius of Rev. Gary Davis. Stefan Grossman recorded these tracks in concert and at the home of Rev. Davis over the years 1962-1966. It presents the best of the best.
1. Walkin’ Dog Blues*
2. Cincinnati Flow Rag*
3. She’s Funny That Way
4. Whoopin’ Blues
5. Twelve Sticks*
6. Children of Zion*
7. Buck Rag*
8. Hesitation Blues*
10. Baby, Let Me Lay It on You*
11. Cocaine Blues*
12. Buck Dance*
14. Wall Hollow Blues
15. Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches*
16. Whistlin’ Blues*
This CD is a re-issue album. It was first released in 1972.
This new enhanced CD edition includes a 63 page tab/music PDF booklet on the CD. Those tunes marked with a star (*) are included in the PDF booklet on
Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop presents a definitive portrait of the hugely influential folk blues icon Rev. Gary Davis in a comprehensive three-CD set titled Demons & Angel. Compiled by disciple and historian Stefan Grossman (who calls Davis “the Stravinsky of the acoustic guitar”), this sprawling set showcases the full stylistic range of Davis’ music, encompassing blues, gospel, ragtime, minstrel songs and other bits of Americana. The recordings were culled from over 100 hours of studio, concert and home recordings... Rev. Gary’s eccentric genius shines brightly on this substantial collection. – Bill Milkowski/Jazz Times
The definitive collection from one of the true giants in early blues and gospel, Reverend Gary Davis, a man positively worshipped by latter-day folkies and rockers (Dave Van Ronk, for one, called him “the most fantastic guitarist I’d ever seen”). This 3-CD set contains 57 tracks - many unreleased - highlighted by such spine-tinglers as Baby, What You Going to Do, I Am the True Vine, Mean Old World, Devil’s Dream, You’re Going to Quit Me Baby, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning, and more.
A PDF booklet is included featuring all the song lyrics plus a bio of Rev. Davis by Ian Zack.
This three CD set, full of treasures, is issued by Stefan Grossman, who was a pupil of the Reverend. These are unissued recordings: CD 1 was recorded at the Columbia University,1958-1959; CD 2 was recorded at home, 1964-1966 and CD 3 comes from concert dates,1962-1966. Of course, it includes some amazing music. Gary Davis was really alone in his field, that way of playing and singing sacred songs with this Carolina touch. His incredible, extremely difficult picking style (surely the most difficult along with Blind Blake's), with many ragtime touches, is a real delight. I don't speak of the guitar he's playing; I just hope I'll have the opportunity to play such an instrument once in my life.
Gary Davis stopped playing blues in the 1940’s, and it's a great chance to hear him play it here. But if you buy this set, please start listening to "Sporting Life Blues", (no, it's not Brownie McGhee's, even if the melody and chords are close to it). This is an amazing guitar solo which will drive you directly into Gary Davis's music. And Lord, what a sound!!! I won't try to tell you about all the songs, there are too many and they're all amazing. The only regret I have, like another reviewer said, is that Gary Davis' masterpiece, "Death Don't Have No Mercy", doesn't figure here. Too bad. But there are other masterpieces: "God's Gonna Separate", for example, or many others. Nothing here has to be rejected. This here is an absolute concentrate of talent.
Gary Davis is one of my favorite musicians for twenty years. One of my favorite guitar players. And of course, one of the most magnificent voices I've ever heard. I think this 3 CD set is the first opus to buy if you really wish to be introduced to the Reverend's music. Every minute of music played or sung by Gary Davis is one of the most essential ones of all times. So, don't miss this magnificent set full of things that have never been heard. Full of noise and fury. Some of the most important music of the 20th century is here. The booklet is a fine one and there are many lyrics transcribed. Sorry, you won't find the tablatures. So, try to find the Reverend's chords. Good luck! Sincerely. – Jean-Marie Juif/Amazon Customer Review
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