Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression

Overview

Showcasing American music and music making during the Great Depression, Hard Luck Blues presents more than two hundred photographs created by the New Deal's Farm Security Administration photography program. With an appreciation for the amateur and the local, FSA photographers depicted a range of musicians sharing the regular music of everyday life, from informal songs in migrant work camps, farmers' homes, barn dances, and on street corners to organized performances at church revivals, dance halls, and community ...

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Overview

Showcasing American music and music making during the Great Depression, Hard Luck Blues presents more than two hundred photographs created by the New Deal's Farm Security Administration photography program. With an appreciation for the amateur and the local, FSA photographers depicted a range of musicians sharing the regular music of everyday life, from informal songs in migrant work camps, farmers' homes, barn dances, and on street corners to organized performances at church revivals, dance halls, and community festivals. Captured across the nation from the northeast to the southwest, the images document the last generation of musicians who learned to play without the influence of recorded sound, as well as some of the pioneers of Chicago's R & B scene and the first years of amplified instruments. The best visual representation of American roots music performance during the Depression era, Hard Luck Blues features photographs by Jack Delano, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott, and others.

 

Photographer and image researcher Rich Remsberg breathes life into the images by providing contextual details about the persons and events captured, in some cases drawing on interviews with the photographers' subjects. Also included are a foreword by author Nicholas Dawidoff and an afterword by music historian Henry Sapoznik.

 

Published in association with the Library of Congress.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252035241
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rich Remsberg is an Emmy Award-winning image researcher and a documentary photographer. His credits include Woody Guthrie: Ain't Got No Home and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, as well as other PBS programs and independent films. He lives in North Adams, Massachusetts.

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