Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook

Overview

Throughout the 1920s, in tents, theaters, dance halls and cabarets, and on "race" records, black American women captivated large audiences with their singing of the blues. University of Maryland professor Harrison examines the subjects and texts of their songs, the toll these performers paid for their right to be heard, and what they did to transform a folk tradition into a popular art. She describes the singing and lifestyles of Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, Edith Wilson and Alberta Hunter to illustrate how they introduced a new model of the black woman: assertive and sexy, gutsy yet tender, bereft but not downtrodden, exploited but not resentful, independent yet vulnerable. The author shows that their choice of performing style, inflection, emphasis and improvisation provided a perspective and expressiveness that profoundly affected later American popular music.

"A genuine contribution to the history of blues in particular and of Afro-American culture in general."--Times Literary Supplement

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Throughout the 1920s, in tents, theaters, dance halls and cabarets, and on ``race'' records, black American women captivated large audiences with their singing of the blues. ``Harrison examines the subjects and texts of their songs, the toll these performers paid for their right to be heard, and what they did to transform a folk tradition into a popular art,'' said PW. July
Library Journal
Blues music spawned legendary performers whose influence has been felt in many musical forms here and around the world. Until now the important role of the great women blues singers has largely gone unexplored. This book tells of the cultural and social impact of the blues during the 1920s when the genre was dominated by women, both on stage and on record. Harrison Afro-American Studies Department, University of Maryland writes with authority, focusing particularly on Sippie Wallace, Edith Wilson, Victoria Spivey, and Alberta Hunter as she analyzes the music and the collective black experience out of which it grew. A significant book, particularly for collections of music history, black studies, and women's studies. Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Amherst, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813512808
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1990
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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