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March 2, 2013 11:02 PM   Subscribe

“Dust My Broom”: The Story of a Song
posted by flapjax at midnite (13 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh, apparently I shared a birthday with Elmore James. I believe I shall play some blues tomorrow in his honour.
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:26 AM on March 3, 2013


Thanks for this!

But I'm feelin' like it's topsy-turvy world when Elmore James' version is "the best-known". Maybe it's the way I came to this music, but my money would've been on Robert Johnson.

Anyway, this is a great post. Thank you!
posted by trip and a half at 1:29 AM on March 3, 2013


That's lovely. Thanks for posting it.
posted by alloneword at 3:24 AM on March 3, 2013


This song has such a history...great post.
Always wondered what the words were all about.
I really love the more contemporary versions of the song.
The timbre of the electric guitar, and the emphasis placed.
posted by quazichimp at 3:33 AM on March 3, 2013


I love slide but my family have pretty much banned me from playing it in the house. Some ears just can't handle it. Anyone else encounter this?
posted by colie at 4:39 AM on March 3, 2013


Sometimes I think to myself, They can mistreat me here but they can't when I go home.
posted by Jode at 4:57 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my very favorite songs since the moment I first heard it (the Elmore James version, natch). And now I even know what it means. Thank you!
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:13 AM on March 3, 2013


Great way to kick off the morning, flapjax, thanks - this is a terrific article. That Leroy Carr- Scrapper Blackwell version is a hoot. And I loved Ry Cooder's perspective on why Robert Johnson sat in the corner.

OK, gotta run - I am gonna go find me one of those downtown men.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:09 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone else encounter this?

Definitely. Playing acoustically, a glass slide is perhaps a bit less grating but probably not enough to lift the ban. My take on the "best known" thing is that Elmore James is in a sense known for Dust My Broom whereas it doesn't even rate in the top five songs Johnson is known for. Not a value judgment on my part, I love it all. Thanks for the post.
posted by Lorin at 8:22 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I'm feelin' like it's topsy-turvy world when Elmore James' version is "the best-known". Maybe it's the way I came to this music, but my money would've been on Robert Johnson.
trip and a half, Johnson is by far the better-known blues musician, but Elmore's version is the definitive one. I'd guess most people who know actually are familiar with this song (nowhere as popular as say, Hooker's "Boom-Boom") would know James' version.

And, yes, eponysterical.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:57 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


"this riff delivers propulsive full-octave glides played with the passion of the procreant urge"

Eh? Cool article, but this prose reminds why the guitar player in the band is usually the biggest ass.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2013


why the guitar player in the band is usually the biggest ass.

and better be!
posted by telstar at 7:56 PM on March 3, 2013


Well, I'll have to concede the point, then. As I said, I think my perception/expectation was probably based on how I came to this music, which was through my mother's family. They were all blues slide players and for them, Robert Johnson was pretty much the model.

This is a great article, though, and I'm happy that flap posted it, because otherwise I probably wouldn't have seen it.
posted by trip and a half at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2013


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