Nothing but the Blues (P): The Music and the Musicians

Overview


It is our most passionate music, rooted in ancient Africa but brought to blossom in America at the doorstep of the twentieth century. It is a living heritage of song born in poverty, persecution, and hard labor, born of love and love betrayed, of holiness and sin, the pleasures and the pains of the flesh, the experience of tragedy, comedy, drunkenness, despair, desolation, and pure joy. It is the blues.
At root, the blues is rich in its simplicity, but it has flowered across ...
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Overview


It is our most passionate music, rooted in ancient Africa but brought to blossom in America at the doorstep of the twentieth century. It is a living heritage of song born in poverty, persecution, and hard labor, born of love and love betrayed, of holiness and sin, the pleasures and the pains of the flesh, the experience of tragedy, comedy, drunkenness, despair, desolation, and pure joy. It is the blues.
At root, the blues is rich in its simplicity, but it has flowered across the years in a variety of rare complexity. Perhaps no form of popular art is more immediately appealing than the blues, yet so rewards a thorough knowledge of its finer points. In eleven authoritative essays commissioned especially for the book, Nothing But the Blues traces the African-American origins of the music, its early development as popular entertainment, its early recorded manifestations, its regional differentiation (Mid-South, Tidewater-Piedmont, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles), its many stylistic dimensions, and its contemporary manifestations. Country blues, urban blues, the evolution of rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and the blues revival are all fully covered.
But the written history is only part of the story. Blues fans have always treasured rare photographs of their heroes, and Nothing But the Blues is gloriously illustrated with posed and candid shots of the musicians as well as photographs of such one-of-a-kind artifacts and documents as Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet and classic recording contracts. Nothing But the Blues features an introduction by one of the genre's living legends, B. B. King, and a comprehensive "best of the best" discography, including current and rereleased recordings as well as the collectors' treasures to go after.
Blues is more popular than ever before. Not only are reissues of historical blues classics selling in unprecedented numbers, but a whole new crop of vital young blues artists is active in clubs and on record today. Nothing But the Blues is a lavishly illustrated comprehensive history of the music and the musicians, as well as the promoters, producers, and others who have shaped--and continue to shape--this powerful and enduringly popular American musical art form.

Created by Grammy Award-winner Lawrence Cohn, this extraordinary volume, with its fascinating vintage photographs, tells the story of America's most passionate and enduring music. Introduction by blues immortal B.B. King. 325 illustrations, 16 in duotone.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this extensively illustrated, comprehensive volume, Grammy-winning CD producer Cohn provides an elegant pictoral and intellectual history. In the first of 11 essays, Samuel Charters writes on the roots of the blues; in others, David Evans digs into Texas and Deep South blues and Mark A. Humphrey examines the gospel and urban traditions of the blues. Bruce Basti, Jim O'Neal and Mary Katherine Aldin are among the writers covering such topics as white country blues, the 1960s blues revival and the blues today. Richard K. Spottswood offers an excellent essay on women and the blues. The 325 illustrations include Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet, recording contracts and rare historic photos of blues performers making their music. Cohen does full justice to this rich and vibrant chapter of American musical history. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This compilation of 11 articles, edited by Grammy Award-winning blues producer Cohn, examines the beginnings and progress of the blues. The book starts with a penetrating essay by noted blues writer Samuel Chaters, who investigates the origins of the blues. It follows with chapters that clearly, extensively, and intelligently describe early blues in the Deep South and Texas, women and the blues, urban blues, the Sixties blues revival, and such often-neglected aspects of the blues tradition as gospel, Piedmont regional blues, white country blues, and the role of music researchers like John and Alan Lomax. Only chapters about the current blues scene and rhythm and blues offer disappointingly superficial treatment. Lavishly illustrated, well researched, and written in a lively style, this book should become a standard on the topic for both the general public and scholars. Recommended for most collections. The publisher is releasing a limited edition of this work that includes a compact disc.--Ed.-- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789206077
  • Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 472,705
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.89 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Table of Contents

It is our most passionate music, rooted in ancient Africa but brought to blossom in America at the doorstep of the twentieth century. It is a living heritage of song born in poverty, persecution, and hard labor, born of love and love betrayed, of holiness and sin, the pleasures and the pains of the flesh, the experience of tragedy, comedy, drunkenness, despair, desolation, and pure joy. It is the blues.

At root, the blues is rich in its simplicity, but it has flowered across the years in a variety of rare complexity. Perhaps no form of popular art is more immediately appealing than the blues, yet so rewards a thorough knowledge of its finer points. In eleven authoritative essays commissioned especially for the book, Nothing But the Blues traces the African American origins of the music, its early development as popular entertainment, its early development as popular entertainment, its early recorded manifestations, its regional differentiation (Mid-South, Tidewater-Piedmont, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles), its many stylistic dimensions, and its contemporary manifestations. Country blues, urban blues, the evolution of rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and the blues revival are all fully covered.

But the written history is only part of the story. Blues fans have always treasured rare photographs of their heroes, and Nothing But the Blues is gloriously illustrated with posed and candid shots of the musicians as well as photographs of such one-of-a-kind artifacts and documents as Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet and classic recording contracts. Nothing But the Blues features an introduction by one of the genre's living legends, B. B. King, and a comprehensive "best of the best" discography, including current and rereleased recordings as well as the collectors' treasures to go after.

Blues is more popular than ever before. Not only are reissues of historical blues classics selling in unprecedented numbers, but a whole new crop of vital young blues artists is active in clubs and on record today. Nothing But the Blues is a lavishly illustrated comprehensive history of the music and the musicians, as well as the promoters, producers, and others who have shaped - and continue to shape - this powerful and enduringly popular American musical art form.

Read More Show Less

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