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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Friday, July 24, 2009


As you may know, 2009 is the 50th anniversary year of Blind Willie McTell's death. He died in the early morning of August the 19th (1959) in Milledgeville State Hospital. He was 56 years old.

More by chance than good planning, the North American edition of my biography of him (Hand Me My Travelin Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell) will be published on September 1.

I shall be doing a promotional stomp round a few bits of the USA - mainly in Willie's home state of Georgia - in October.

I'm right at the beginning of organising this tour of talks, and so far the only firm dates I have are these:

OCT 8, 11am - Ward Hall Great Room, Farmingdale State College (SUNY), Long Island NY
OCT 22, 7pm - Zach S. Henderson Library, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro GA
OCT 23, 7pm - Averitt Arts Center, 33 East Main Street, Statesboro GA 30458

I'm hoping that between Oct 8 and Oct 22 I can arrange a further sequence of talks in Georgia, in the other places that were significant for Willie - Atlanta, Macon, Athens, Thomson, Milledgeville and maybe Augusta.

The talk I'm offering in Georgia is SEARCHING FOR WILLIE McTELL: A British Writer in Georgia and it will include playing records and slideshows of both vintage photos and photos I took while researching the book.

If any reader has contacts at, or even just suggestions for, good venues in any of these places, please do let me know by posting a comment to this blog. All blog comments get moderated - ie I read them before deciding either to publish them or not - so any information you send me this way can be sent privately and in confidence.
Many thanks.


Blogger iriefire said...

hi there michael!
I have recently finished reading your book "hand me my traveling shoes" I must say i thoroughly enjoyed it. I just thought id let you know about two blind willie mctell compilations ive recently purchased.The first is called "king of the georgia blues" and it must be the most extensive compliation of willie's work ever released! Its a 6 cd box set and contains 117 songs!! It also contains a booklet with a biography which im sure you would have made a much better job of :) As amazing as this is i actually prefer the second compilation i seems to be a brand new release.Its a vinyl collection and is beautifully presented(ive a thing for vinyl)it obviously isnt as extensive as the cd box set i talked about, but it is definetly on heavier rotation round my house.
I was at one of your shows a few years back in Dublin and ive read "song and dance man" from cover to cover. I particularly enjoyed the chapters that discussed the poetry of the blues and the chapter about nursery rhyme. I have been on a mission to find more books to read on both subjects. Ive had success with a couple of books giving an academic study of nursery rhyme, but none such on the blues. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction and recommend one or two for additional research? I am a young songwriter and i found your work invaluable...and i have a hunger for more of the sort!
anyway i hope you are glowing :)
Carl Finlay

heres two links so you can see the compliations i mentioned :

10:32 pm  

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