Sam Charters recording Sleepy John Estes, Brownsville, TN 1962. Photo by Ann Charters.
Sam Charters was essential in the revival of blues and folk music in the 60s and 70s. His book The Country Blues and the compilation album of the same title was a key influence on so many musical artists. Bob Dylan, for example, included a version of Bukka White’s “Fixin to Die” on his first album which Dylan would have heard on the Country Blues album.
The Country Blues, Folkways Records 1959.
The original acetate of Dylan’s recording of “Fixin to Die”. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archives. All Rights Reserved.
There is an excellent obituary on Charters written by Larry Rohter in today’s New York Times. In his obit, Rohter mentions how Charters influenced other enthusiasts to “go out into the field themselves”, and specifically mentions Dick Waterman, who among other accomplishments started Avalon, the first blues management agency. Waterman photographed numerous blues and folk musicians during the early 60s and 70s. Govinda Gallery hosted an exhibition of Waterman’s photos in November 2003. Govinda director Chris Murray edited the award-winning book of Waterman’s photos and stories Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive. That book featured an introduction by Peter Guralnick and a preface by Bonnie Raitt, who Waterman managed for many years.
Booker White, Newport Folk Festival 1965. Copyright © Dick Waterman. All Rights Reserved.