Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs / Edition 1

Blue Chicago: The Search for Authenticity in Urban Blues Clubs / Edition 1

by David Grazian
     
 


The club is run-down and dimly lit. Onstage, a black singer croons and weeps of heartbreak, fighting back the tears. Wisps of smoke curl through the beam of a single spotlight illuminating the performer.

For any music lover, that image captures the essence of an authentic experience of the blues. In Blue Chicago, David Grazian takes us inside the world of

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Overview


The club is run-down and dimly lit. Onstage, a black singer croons and weeps of heartbreak, fighting back the tears. Wisps of smoke curl through the beam of a single spotlight illuminating the performer.

For any music lover, that image captures the essence of an authentic experience of the blues. In Blue Chicago, David Grazian takes us inside the world of contemporary urban blues clubs to uncover how such images are manufactured and sold to music fans and audiences. Drawing on countless nights in dozens of blues clubs throughout Chicago, Grazian shows how this quest for authenticity has transformed the very shape of the blues experience. He explores the ways in which professional and amateur musicians, club owners, and city boosters define authenticity and dish it out to tourists and bar regulars. He also tracks the changing relations between race and the blues over the past several decades, including the increased frustrations of black musicians forced to slog through the same set of overplayed blues standards for mainly white audiences night after night. In the end, Grazian finds that authenticity lies in the eye of the beholder: a nocturnal fantasy to some, an essential way of life to others, and a frustrating burden to the rest.

From B.L.U.E.S. and the Checkerboard Lounge to the Chicago Blues Festival itself, Grazian's gritty and often sobering tour in Blue Chicago shows us not what the blues is all about, but why we care so much about that question.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226305684
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
06/28/2003
Edition description:
1
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Prologue: How Blue Can You Get: A Night in a Chicago Blues Club
Introduction: Black and Tan Fantasy: Searching for the Chicago Blues1
1Blues in Black and White: The Politics of Race and Authenticity33
2The Fashion of Their Dreams: Inventing Authenticity in the Nocturnal City61
3Like Therapy: The Blues Club as a Haven87
4Keepin' It Real: Chicago Blues Musicians and the Search for Authenticity125
5Chicago Confidential: The Rise of the Blues Club as a Tourist Attraction165
6Sweet Home Chicago: Selling Authenticity in the Urban Metropolis197
7Conclusion: The Search for Authenticity229
Notes243
Bibliography279
Index293

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