Saturday, June 21, 2008

Between Midnight and Day – the Last Unpublished Blues Archive

Dick Waterman was a white man who got involved with the 60’s blues revival as a promoter/manager and just happened to also take photos. He worked with true legends such as Son House, Skip James. Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis and many others both more and less famous.

His work with these men led to many friendships, which led to a closer and more direct access to some of these people than any photographer ever had. He has photos and stories of many intimate moments – some happy, some sad, some aggravating, some downright annoying and some immensely funny. He brings these blues gods back down to earth and shows their real character to us – the good, bad and the ugly.

The book is large format – 9x12 or so – and the photos are all reproduced nicely. Each full page photo is accompanied by a personal story from Dick. He tells of giving Eric Clapton unreleased tapes of Robert Johnson, Big Mama Thorton heckling him from the stage, Mick Jagger getting harmonica lessons from Junior Wells (with photos) and helping some of these folks get their due respect and some financial recompense.

I picked this up on a whim and think this is one of the better blues books that I’ve discovered. This is a humanizing and interesting read. Don't expect detailed biographies but do expect intimate portraits - but visually and verbally.