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

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9780393337501: Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music
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“The essential history of this distinctly American genre.”―Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In this “expertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful history” (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us “the rare combination of a tome that is both deeply informative and enjoyable to read” (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 “his own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of Delta blues” (New York Times), this engrossing narrative is flavored with insightful and vivid musical descriptions that ensure “an understanding of not only the musicians, but the music itself” (Boston Sunday Globe). Rooted in the thick-as-tar Delta soil, Delta Blues is already “a contemporary classic in its field” (Jazz Review). 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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