Superbly researched and vividly written, The Devil's Music is one of the only books to trace the rise and development of the blues both in relation to other forms of black music and in the context of American social history as experienced by African Americans. From its roots in the turn-of-the-century honky-tonks of New Orleans and the barrelhouses and plantations of the Mississippi Delta to modern legends such as John Lee Hooker and B. B. King, the blues comes alive here through accounts by the blues musicians themselves and those who knew them. Throughout this wide-ranging and fascinating book, Giles Oakley describes the texture of the life that made the blues possible, and the changing attitudes toward the music. The Devil's Music is a wholehearted and loving examination of one of America's most powerful traditions.
"Steve Cushing, the award-winning host of the nationally syndicated public radio staple Blues before Sunrise, has spent over thirty years observing and participating in the Chicago blues scene. In Pioneers of the Blues Revival, he interviews many of the prominent white researchers and enthusiasts whose advocacy spearheaded the blues' crossover into the mainstream starting in the 1960s. Opinionated and territorial, the American, British, and French interviewees provide fascinating first-hand accounts of the era and movement. Experts including Paul Oliver, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Sam Charters, Ray Flerledge, Paul Oliver, Richard K. Spottswood, and Pete Whelan chronicle in their own words their obsessive early efforts at cataloging blues recordings and retrace lifetimes spent loving, finding, collecting, reissuing, and producing records. They and nearly a dozen others recount relationships with blues musicians, including the discoveries of prewar bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, and Bukka White, and the reintroduction of these musicians and many others to new generations of listeners. The accounts describe fieldwork in the South, renew lively debates, and tell of rehearsals in Muddy Waters's basement and randomly finding Lightning Hopkins's guitar in a pawn shop. Blues scholar Barry Lee Pearson provides a critical and historical framework for the interviews in an introduction."-- $c Provided by publisher.
âThe essential history of this distinctly American genre.ââAtlanta Journal-Constitution
In this âexpertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful historyâ (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us âthe rare combination of a tome that is both deeply informative and enjoyable to readâ (Publishers Weekly, starred review). From the field hollers of nineteenth-century plantations to Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Delta Blues delves into the uneasy mix of race and money at the point where traditional music became commercial and bluesmen found new audiences of thousands. Combining extensive fieldwork, archival research, interviews with living musicians, and first-person accounts with âhis own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of Delta bluesâ (New York Times), this engrossing narrative is flavored with insightful and vivid musical descriptions that ensure âan understanding of not only the musicians, but the music itselfâ (Boston Sunday Globe). Rooted in the thick-as-tar Delta soil, Delta Blues is already âa contemporary classic in its fieldâ (Jazz Review). 38 illustrations
Francis Davis's The History of the Blues is a groundbreaking rethinking of the blues that fearlessly examines how race relations have altered perceptions of the music. Tracing its origins from the Mississippi Delta to its amplification in Chicago right after World War II, Davis argues for an examination of the blues in its own right, not just as a precursor to jazz and rock 'n' roll. The lives of major figures such as Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Leadbelly, in addition to contemporary artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray, are examined and skillfully woven into a riveting, provocative narrative.
It is our most passionate music, rooted in ancient Africa but brought to blossom in America at the doorstep of the twentieth century. It is a living heritage of song born in poverty, persecution, and hard labor, born of love and love betrayed, of holiness and sin, the pleasures and the pains of the flesh, the experience of tragedy, comedy, drunkenness, despair, desolation, and pure joy. It is the blues.
At root, the blues is rich in its simplicity, but it has flowered across the years in a variety of rare complexity. Perhaps no form of popular art is more immediately appealing than the blues, yet so rewards a thorough knowledge of its finer points. In eleven authoritative essays commissioned especially for the book, Nothing But the Blues traces the African-American origins of the music, its early development as popular entertainment, its early recorded manifestations, its regional differentiation (Mid-South, Tidewater-Piedmont, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles), its many stylistic dimensions, and its contemporary manifestations. Country blues, urban blues, the evolution of rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and the blues revival are all fully covered. But the written history is only part of the story. Blues fans have always treasured rare photographs of their heroes, and Nothing But the Blues is gloriously illustrated with posed and candid shots of the musicians as well as photographs of such one-of-a-kind artifacts and documents as Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet and classic recording contracts. Nothing But the Blues features an introduction by one of the genre's living legends, B. B. King, and a comprehensive "best of the best" discography, including current and rereleased recordings as well as the collectors' treasures to go after.
Blues is more popular than ever before. Not only are reissues of historical blues classics selling in unprecedented numbers, but a whole new crop of vital young blues artists is active in clubs and on record today. Nothing But the Blues is a lavishly illustrated comprehensive history of the music and the musicians, as well as the promoters, producers, and others who have shaped--and continue to shape--this powerful and enduringly popular American musical art form.
"The path the slave took to 'citizenship' is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen's music -- through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz... [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music."
So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.
Blues is the cornerstone of American popular music, the bedrock of rock and roll. In this extraordinary musical and social history, Robert Palmer traces the odyssey of the blues from its rural beginnings, to the steamy bars of Chicagoâs South Side, to international popularity, recognition, and imitation. Palmer tells the story of the blues through the lives of its greatest practitioners: Robert Johnson, who sang of being pursued by the hounds of hell; Muddy Waters, who electrified Delta blues and gave the music its rock beat; Robert Lockwood and Sonny Boy Williamson, who launched the King Biscuit Time radio show and brought blues to the airwaves; and John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, B. B. King, and many others.
"A lucid . . . entrancing study" -- Greil Marcus
"Palmer has a powerful understanding of the music and an intense involvement in the culture." --Â The Nation
Chicago has always had a reputation as a "wide open town" with a high tolerance for gangsters, illegal liquor, and crooked politicians. It has also been the home for countless black musicians and the birthplace of a distinctly urban blues-more sophisticated, cynical, and street-smart than the anguished songs of the Mississippi delta--a music called the Chicago blues. This is the history of that music and the dozens of black artists who congregated on the South and Near West Sides. Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Tampa Red, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells, Eddie Taylor--all of these giants played throughout the city and created a musical style that had imitators and influence all over the world.
The Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe was a major star of the Grand Ole Opry for over fifty years; a member of the Country Music, Songwriters, and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame; and a legendary figure in American music. This authoritative biography sets out to examine his life in careful detail--to move beyond hearsay and sensationalism to explain how and why he accomplished so much. Former Blue Grass Boy and longtime music journalist Tom Ewing draws on hundreds of interviews, his personal relationship with Monroe, and an immense personal archive of materials to separate the truth from longstanding myth. Ewing tells the story of the Monroe family's musical household and Bill's early career in the Monroe Brothers duo. He brings to life Monroe's 1940s heyday with the Classic Bluegrass Band, the renewed fervor for his music sparked by the folk revival of the 1960s, and his declining fortunes in the years that followed. Throughout, Ewing deftly captures Monroe's relationships and the personalities of an ever-shifting roster of band members while shedding light on his business dealings and his pioneering work with Bean Blossom and other music festivals. Filled with a wealth of previously unknown details, Bill Monroe offers even the most devoted fan a deeper understanding of Monroe's towering achievements and timeless music.