James Jackson Toth (better known by his nom de plume, Wooden Wand) and MAGNET go way back. We’ve been rabidly following his prolific, genre-eschewing career over the last decade: 100-plus records and counting, from short run seven-inches and handmade CD-Rs to major releases on some of the world’s most respected indie labels, including Kill Rock Stars, Ecstatic Peace and Young God, covering everything from the freakiest of folk to the most American rock ‘n’ roll money can buy. We’ve been lucky enough to have him as guest editor of magnetmagazine.com a couple of other times over the years, and he’s hooked us up with great mix tapes and been a constant source of great discussions about music. Toth will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with him.
Toth: This is one of the finest books on the subject of blues I have read (and I have read many). Makes a great companion to Stephen Calt’s excellent book on Skip James, I’d Rather Be The Devil, though Daniel Beaumont‘s tone is far less defamatory (read: bitchy). The only real villain in Beaumont’s book is Alan Lomax, who is cast as an exploitative opportunist, but mostly, the book is heavy on facts and light on conjecture and gossip. Given what I previously knew of Son House from various accounts (such as Segrest and Hoffman’s Howlin’ Wolf biography, Moanin’ At Midnight), I was surprised and delighted to find that the man, who admittedly had his demons, was actually rather humble and benevolent, a direct contrast to some of his more caustic contemporaries. An indispensable book on a fascinating subject.
Video after the jump.