School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 6 Up-This sixth book in a projected series of 15 volumes on traditional black music presents the score, lyrics, and brief background material for 26 blues songs. As Silverman says in his introduction, each one expresses individual and collective pain, frustration, and suffering, occasionally couched in humorous lyrics. Although music is provided, the author explains that real blues is a ``spontaneous act, never performed the same way twice.'' For each of the selections, the basic piano part and guitar chords are included, along with several verses. A short heading explains each song's history or the circumstances under which it was written, giving readers some understanding of the blues as social history. A few black-and-white photos help to illustrate the times. The unique presentation makes this a worthwhile addition to any music collection. Graham Vulliamy's Jazz and Blues (Routledge, 1982; o.p.) and Leroi Jones's Blues People (Morrow, 1963) provide a historical perspective.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Mary Frances WilkensIn this excellent collection of blues standards, which is part of the Traditional Black Music series, Silverman shows how the blues grew out of the despair of black oppression. The arrangements are simple enough, either for piano or guitar, but the make-you-feel-like-swaying rhythms will challenge even the brightest young musician. The songs offered here provide an excellent vehicle for illustrating a positive, rich way a culture has expressed its unhappiness. Kids who aren't black also may see some of their own unhappiness--or happiness--in the song lyrics, and this identification can only help to break down borders. As Silverman says in his preface, "Differences raise barriers; common pain transcends them all." Particularly appealing are the wonderful photographs of black life with corresponding brief essays.
Write a Review
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >