With this latest installment in the "Music in American Life" series, critic and journalist Whiteis places the present-day Chicago blues scene in historical perspective with biographical and stylistic portraits of important singers, guitarists, and harmonica and keyboard players from throughout the 20th century. The real meat of the book, however, lies in his portraits of living blues musicians-some famous, some obscure, and some outside of the Windy City, but all a vital part of musical life in Chicago. Whiteis uses historical documents, interviews, and his personal observations of the musicians in action to build his tale, which is part local history, part sociology, and part musicology. An important document of the thriving Chicago blues scene, this fluidly written book is an essential addition for public libraries with blues and R&B-related collections as well as for academic libraries, especially those with collections geared toward the sociology of music and American studies. Highly recommended, with the caveat that some of the material-with the frank, sexually graphic language of some of the blues artists-might be deemed inappropriate for younger readers.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
David G. Whiteis is an independent scholar living in Chicago. He has written many articles on the blues and, in 2001, won the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Achievement in Journalism.