Saturday, 24 May 2008


This is the cardboard stand-up painting of Willie McTell that stood, at least in the early years of the 21st Century (but apparently not now - has it been put away in a cupboard?), upstairs in the Statesboro City Hall. You may not think it looks particularly like him, but there it is. Or was:


Danny said...

Hi Michael,
I just started the Blind Willie book this weekend and I am loving it so far. Also, I listened to you on The Generalist interview and was wondering what you recalled of interviewing 'The Killer' himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, (and Marianne Faithfull too.) Do you still have these interviews or the articles you wrote on them. It would be great to see them on one of your websites if you have them tucked away somewhere.

Oh, also on the subject of Jerry Lee, I bought a 'best of' the other day to stick on my Ipod. I was shocked how badly he transfers to cd - it sounds really week compared to the original vinyl. Bring back the 45!

Michael Gray said...

Thanks for writing. I regret I don't have any notes, let alone written articles, from my interviews with Jerry Lee or Marianne Faithfull. Just memories. I'll post what I can one of these days.

As for transferring to CD, well it isn't only a loss from vinyl. Sometimes there's a loss, not in clean scratch-free sound but in presence and vividness in the transfer from shellac 78s to vinyl in the first place!

I remember this being striking with, for instance, Jackie Wilson's 'Reet Petite' and Elvis' 'Hound Dog', so I suspect it probably happened with Jerry Lee too.

Bring back the 78!

And certainly some crucial vinyl albums have proved hard to replicate on CD: as I think I've written somewhere before, even Columbia Records recognised that they'd failed at least twice over with "Blonde On Blonde". I also found when I bought Van Morrison's masterpiece ("Astral Weeks", of course) on CD, I had to play it in mono to make it sound more like the (stereo) vinyl than it did otherwise.