Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Case For: Roy Bookbinder

Roy Bookbinder: Delia [YouTube link]
Purchase: [Roy Bookbinder: Delia]

Almost nobody knows this musician and that is a pity: reason enough for a “case for”. I was introduced to Roy Bookbinder (b. ’43) back in the days when I was a middle-of-the-night radio DJ at WQFS. Blown away by the man's skills back in the 70s, I not too long ago googled the man and came up with a YouTube link or two showing that he still picks a tune or two.
Admittedly, I tend to gravitate to American folk/country: I have boundless respect for anyone who can pick a clean, fast, stringed instrument. Think Earl Scruggs or Bella Fleck . It's the picking skills combined with vocal harmonies that turn me on. I confess that a clean/fast "saz" is at least as good.
One of the issues on my mind for this post is musicians that keep traditions alive: picking the guitar and then recording it without digital assistance; choosing songs that are 100 years old, but that still resonate. That's why I love Ry Cooder.
The song "Delia" goes back a long ways - like many of Bookbinder's songs. The song was likely written by Blind Willie McTell back around 1929, and has since been covered by many others including Bob Dylan. It's kind of a sad song about a relationship gone bad, but the listener’s take-away emotion depends on how fast you pick the strings. He sings:

Delia's dear mother, took a trip out west.
When she returned, little Delia had gone to rest.
She's all I got, is gone

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