Thursday, 29 October 2009


I'm happy to be sent another very positive review of my book, this time on blogcritics. I especially like these bits:

"By no means mere biography, it is, instead, a fascinating and often elagaic tale of his quest for information about the Georgia-born bluesman. "

"Of course there's a great deal of biographical information here, and Gray proves a careful and conscientious researcher with an obvious affection for McTell. With dogged persistence, he traces McTell's life through interviews and old documents. He uncovers much new information and gently corrects some common misconceptions based on earlier research. It's the kind of stuff that's often dry and dusty, but Gray, who hails from England, brings the quest to life with lively commentary and an outsider's wonder at the peculiarities — both good and bad — of the South."


"Gray's book is a lovely and fitting epitaph to a fine musician and man."


Jon Kiparsky said...

Mr. Gray - I don't see a way to email you directly, but since you'll see this in the moderation process, you can treat it as a letter, not as a comment. That is, it probably doesn't need to be posted, unless you think your readers would find it interesting.

Just reading your book - enjoying it immensely, I should add - and I thought you should know about a tangential connection to another book. That book is called "We All Got History", by Nick Salvatore, and like you he's attempting to dig out the life of a man more or less forgotten by history. What interests you here is that his subject, Amos Webber, may have been one of the Massachusetts soldiers who guarded Reddick during his confinement at Point Lookout. Salvatore goes into some detail on this period of Webber's service, so you might learn something about what Reddick experienced from this.
The book is worth a look on its own merits as well, if you're interested in the life of a free black man in the north in that period.

Let me also say that it was a pleasure to read the transcript of your intervew with Bruce Phillips. I used to run into him when he came to Portland, back when I lived in Oregon - a wonderful fellow, we won't see another like him again.

Best of luck in your travels,
-Jon Kiparsky
Somerville, MA

Michael Gray said...

Dear Jon
Thank you for this. I decided to publish it because unfortunately I can't edit "Comments", so I can't publish parts of them - it has to be all or nothing, and I thought yours would mostly be of interest to other readers.

Certainly it was of interest to me, and I thank you for drawing my attention to the book. I shall look into it - and also pass on your tantalising suggestion of a possible connection between Amos Webber and Reddick to the Kendall McTier Family Association.

Best wishes to you too. I appreciate your taking the trouble to let me know all this.

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