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Cousin Joe: Blues from New Orleans
     

Cousin Joe: Blues from New Orleans

by Pleasant Joseph, Harriet Ottenheimer, Michael Cato (Other)
 

A remarkable blend of history and drama seen through the eyes of a noted New Orleans bluesman. This extraordinary life history is the result of more than 15 years of recorded conversations, pieced together into a narrative of a uniquely American experience. Joseph's colorful portrayals of the characters who parade through his life document more than 70 years of

Overview

A remarkable blend of history and drama seen through the eyes of a noted New Orleans bluesman. This extraordinary life history is the result of more than 15 years of recorded conversations, pieced together into a narrative of a uniquely American experience. Joseph's colorful portrayals of the characters who parade through his life document more than 70 years of changing relationships between blacks and whites. In his own words, he describes growing up in Louisiana, working a rice plantation, and how Gospel music put him on a career path. His candid remarks underscore the economic necessity prevalent in a musician's life. Within the tales of gigs, card games, and romantic exploits are intimate glimpses of legendary figures, including Billie Holiday and Muddy Waters. His descriptions of performing in New Orleans, New York, and Europe are especially revealing, filled with life experiences as rich as the rhythm and lyrics of the blues he played.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this life-story narrative, taken down, shaped and edited by a Kansas State University anthropologist, 80-year-old Pleasant Joseph of New Orleans, a well-known composer and performer of blues, recalls his experiences as a plasterer's helper, sack-turner in a sugar factory, dishwasher, shoe shiner and lover of many women. Self-taught as a pianist and tap dancer, ``Cousin Joe'' began his musical career as a singer at fish fries and started recording in 1945. Eventually he gained international recognition, and for the past decade he has performed abroad as often as in America. Cab Calloway, Leonard Feather, Billie Holiday and Muddy Waters are among the many jazz musicians who figure in his delightful anecdotes. Excellent discography. Photos not seen by PW. (November)
Library Journal
This is the autobiography of New Orleans blues singer and entertainer Pleasant Joseph, transcribed from interviews by Ottenheimer. ``Cousin Joe'' describes the New Orleans blues scene as well as his travels and the many famous blues and jazz musicians he worked with. The focus is less on music than on the singer's life and times. Considerable light is shed on the social and economic realities of the blues scene in pre-war New Orleans. Joseph's tale is somewhat rambling but vivid; those interested in the music or the society will enjoy this informative account. Bruce Hulse, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, R.I.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455615438
Publisher:
Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/31/2012
Pages:
228
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

PLEASANT JOSEPH was born in Wallace, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans in 1907. Known as "Cousin Joe," he was a self-taught musician who got his start in gospel singing. His album Bad Luck Blues was named 1972 Blues Album of the Year in France. He died in New Orleans in 1989.

HARRIET J. OTTENHEIMER is Emerita Professor of Anthropology and American Ethnic Studies for Kansas State University. She is focusing on writing and research.

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