The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia

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9780140159394: The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia
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Provides brief profiles of major American blues musicians and singers, and lists major recordings

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About the Author:

Robert Santelli is a music journalist and former director of education at the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame.

From Booklist:

The blues seem to have been making a reference-publishing comeback in the past few years. The Big Book of Blues, by music-journalist Santelli, explores the lives of 650 blues musicians, with a few nonmusicians, such as the Lomaxes from the Library of Congress, mixed in.

The biographical essays open with the names of band members or individual artists, the real name or other performing nom de chanson, and birth and death dates. Entries cover the performers' career and include other musicians who influenced or played with them, hit records or singles, discussion of style, etc. Entries range in length from approximately 100 words for Eddie "Vaan" Shaw to more than 650 for Blind Lemon Jefferson. There are some discrepancies in dates between this and other sources for early blues performers, stemming mostly from unclear records. Unlike the recent Encyclopedia of the Blues by Herzhaft [RBB Ja 1 93], which had some entries by genre such as Female Blues Singers or White Blues, The Big Book of Blues is by individual or band name only, and as a result some performers have longer essays here than in Herzhaft (e.g., Sippie Wallace).

There are cross-references to other performers within essays, but no references from real names or lesser-known nicknames to the entry under the best-known performing name. Profiles end with a brief discography. A bibliography of sources and a name index conclude the work.

Libraries owning Blues Who's Who by Harris (Da Capo, 1981) and the Encyclopedia of the Blues may not need The Big Book of Blues unless they have an active blues audience. However, the book is well written, inexpensive, and current, making it an attractive purchase.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780141001456: The Big Book of Blues: The Fully Revised and Updated Biographical Encyclopedia

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ISBN 10:  0141001453 ISBN 13:  9780141001456
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2001
Softcover

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