Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

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9780393062588: Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

The definitive account of how the rough sounds of the Mississippi Delta changed the course of American popular music.

The blues grew out of the plantations and prisons, the swampy marshes and fertile cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. With original research and keen insights, Ted Gioia―the author of a landmark study of West Coast jazz and the critically acclaimed The History of Jazz―brings to life the stirring music of the Delta, evoking the legendary figures who shaped its sound and ethos: Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, and others. Tracing the history of the Delta blues from the field hollers and plantation music of the nineteenth century to the exploits of modern-day musicians in the Delta tradition, Delta Blues tells the full story of this timeless and unforgettable music. No cultural force boasts such humble origins or such world-conquering reverberations. In this evocative rags-to-riches tale, Gioia shows how the sounds of the Delta altered the course of popular music in America and in the world beyond. 38 illustrations

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About the Author:

An authority on jazz and blues, Ted Gioia is the founder and editor of jazz.com. He has recorded several CDs as a pianist and composer and is the author of five highly regarded books on jazz and roots music. He lives in Plano, Texas.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Gioia (The History of Jazz) succeeds admirably in the daunting task of crafting a comprehensive history of the art form known as the blues, depicting the life story of the music from its cradle in the Mississippi Delta all the way to its worldwide influence on contemporary sounds. His sweeping examination focuses on the legends in detail, including Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King and many more. He often deconstructs myths, such as the story that both Tommy Johnson and Robert Johnson made midnight deals with the devil at the crossroads, and digs deep to clarify many murky stories, including untruths and wild speculations about the life and early death of Robert Johnson. His narrative follows the northern migration of the blues to Chicago, where Muddy Waters recorded for Chess Records, and along the way he analyzes the influence of Delta blues on Elvis, the Rolling Stones and other rock 'n' roll icons. Gioia dissects many songs, but he doesn't write beyond the understanding of general readers, creating the rare combination of a tome that is both deeply informative and enjoyable to read. (Oct.)
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