One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
It doesn't get more fun than the tunes on this lesson! If you're comfortable playing an alternating bass then these arrangements will help you expand your technique. We start with the popular children's ring game Green, Green Rocky Road played in a dropped D tuning. The playing is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk's classic arrangement but we add more left hand movements. In the key of C we explore two songs I learnt from Rev. Gary Davis. Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches has direct lineage in Piedmont children's rhymes. There's a Table Sitting in Heaven is a beautiful melodic gospel tune.
We close our lesson with two humorous tunes made famous via Hollywood films. Show Me The Way To Go Home was the song sung in the film Jaws as the shark was closing in for the kill! It was written in 1925 and is a standard pub and bar song throughout the British Isles and the USA. For our last arrangement we go further back in time with the 1907 instrumental The Teddy Bears' Picnic. In 1932 Jimmy Kennedy added lyrics and this has become a well loved tune known throughout the world. All the tunes taught in this lesson are great to play at home, picnics and get-togethers.
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD. The Bonus Audio section includes source recordings.
Titles include: Green, Green Rocky Road, Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches, There's a Table Sitting in Heaven, Show Me The Way To Go Home and The Teddy Bears' Picnic.
105 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Life of the party is written all over "Show Me the Way to Go Home". The title song alone confers Pied Piper powers to those wise to its intoxicating chords and even more inebriating lyrics. But participants began chiming along way before that below-deck, scar-swapping scene in "Jaws". Pubs, as far back as the 1920s, sloshed, swayed and sung in unison to the three-sheets-to-the-wind tale that gets all-comers just as merry as the boozy narrator. Leave it to Rev. Gary Davis to then dexterously sober up fingers. "There's a Table Sitting in Heaven" stems from his ragtime-gospel persona; "Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches" surely does not. Not while risqué lyrics get devilishly stacked atop teetering, tumbledown picking. (Grossman's personal tapes made in Davis' Bronx home, included among the bonus audio, are priceless.) "Green, Green Rocky Road" is the Greenwich Village anthem (thank you, Dave Van Ronk) that remains a breezy cure-all for any day's burden. The fifth way to win over audiences is by charming them with "The Teddy Bears' Picnic"-not to be brushed off as kiddie fantasia. Everybody from Bing Crosby to Jerry Garcia has come under the sway of its skip-along march. Grossman himself even attests to its unanimous magic, having brought down the house, night after night, as the finale for a series of his UK shows. – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag
Review: Two titles together in the same review as a great deal of what I would say has already been said. It is a Guitar Workshop production therefore you can expect immaculate filming, first class sound and inspired tuition that is easy to understand. Let me say here that I am not on commission but I seem to have done most of the recent reviews and I am running out of things to say, now anyone that knows me will know how rare that is! You can almost treat these as samplers for the rest of the series, the first one Lets Get Stoned is a look at just five different acoustic Blues numbers, each of them offering Stefan a different style of playing to put across, and he does so as well as ever. If you didn't want to buy the entire series, this would be a good place to start, as what you learn on each song can be transferred to many others, so there you are, I have saved you a small fortune, The second offering Show me the way to go home is something a little different and just in time for Christmas, you will have time to learn some novelty songs (One of which is really quite rude, but I'll leave you to check out the excellent PDF file for yourself) .You would not believe how difficult it actually is to play Teddy Bears Picnic, not until this version anyway! So yes two more excellent pieces of work from the apparently tireless Stefan Grossman. – Dave Stone/Blues Matters!