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Vol. 8, No. 4: Ghosts

Graveyard Blues

by Rob Golan

“The soundtrack for my Revelation was a simple three-cord ditty.”

John Jackson, one of the last remaining Depression-era bluesmen, passed away in Virginia on January 20, 2002. Born in 1924 to Virginia farmers who played music at parties on the weekends, Jackson learned to play guitar at age four and was accompanying his parents by the time he was eight. His parents bought a second-hand Victrola when he was six, and Jackson grew up with the sounds of Blind Boy Fuller, Jimmie Rodgers, and Uncle Dave Macon, among others. When he was ten, he learned guitar techniques from a chain gang laborer who was working near the Jackson farm. His musical styles included Piedmont blues, ragtime, folk, old time hillbilly songs and ballads—all transformed by his distinctive playing style and rich baritone voice.

This article appears as an abstract above, the complete article can be accessed in Project Muse
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