OA: Rock Cesario Column January 16, 2009

Column about 'Cadillac Records’ creates somewhat of a stir

In the Jan. 2 issue of Out & About, I wrote about the movie “Cadillac Records.”

In that column, I mostly wrote about the movie and in the process related a story about guitarist Hubert Sumlin. I mentioned that I had met Sumlin here at a concert.

This led a reader to send me a long e-mail admonishing me for confusing fact with fiction.

Here is an excerpt from that e-mail.

“I think a lot of people are savvy enough to know that Hollywood films are always going to play fast and loose with the facts, but when those falsehoods are regurgitated in print without question or correction, it gives them a stamp of approval that lives far beyond the reach of the film.

“Unfortunately, your review is an example of this; it presents a series of falsehoods portrayed in the film as if they were facts, then segues into your actual encounter with
Hubert Sumlin, with no differentiation between fantasy and the reality. This would leave anyone reading it to believe that it’s ALL fact, but it’s not.”

My response was, thanks for reading the column.

Maybe more people will go and see the movie and then seek out the truth themselves. I was reporting on the movie and if my meeting with Sumlin was not properly interjected, then I apologize.

I was just hoping to get more people to go to the movie, which I think would be a good thing.

I had already decided to try and educate myself more about the blues music, but really didn’t know where to start. A lot of what I know, I read about in the booklets that came with the Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon Chess Records box sets.

I have also since heard from several people, including customers, who went to see “Cadillac Records” and enjoyed it.

One customer, Scott Fasken, dropped off a book for me when I was at lunch last week. It’s “Delta Blues” by Ted Gioia.

Accompanying the book was a note that read, “Rock, keep this & loan it to others. Thanks for the movie review-loved it — have not been to a movie in 2 years. Scott.”

Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine, said this about “Delta Blues”: “Ted Gioia travels the highways and back roads of the blues with no agenda. He neither romanticizes nor demystifies the music. He just sees and hears the blues clearly and lets the truths of the music he loves emerge and speak eloquently to his readers.”

Shemekia Copeland, daughter of bluesman Johnny Copeland, said this: “Very, very cool.

This is history that’s alive ... as deep and full of passion as the men and women who first made this music I love. This is history you can taste and smell. Rich, deep, and funky as a juke on Saturday night. Did I mention that I learned a lot, too?”

I have read the first 30 pages of “Delta Blues” at least twice.

In those pages, Gioia explains the origins of the Delta Blues and he sums it up this way:

“Here then are the sounds that formed the blues. Songs of work. Songs of play. Music of the sinners. Music of the saints. And before them all, the rich, varied legacies of the Old Kingdoms of Africa, a residual energy field — halfway between collective memory and subconscious force — submerged undercurrents underpinning the whole enterprise, even today sending out tremors along so many hidden fault lines.”

I will continue to report on this very interesting book as I read it.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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