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This House on Fire: The Story of the Blues
     

This House on Fire: The Story of the Blues

by Craig Awmiller
 

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This inspiring series covers various aspects of black history and the black experience, from ancient civilizations to today's African social and political movements.

Here's the story of the blues, from its genesis in the impoverished rural South, through its expansion to the urban North, to its resurgence and enduring influence on jazz, rock, and rap in the 1990s.

Overview

This inspiring series covers various aspects of black history and the black experience, from ancient civilizations to today's African social and political movements.

Here's the story of the blues, from its genesis in the impoverished rural South, through its expansion to the urban North, to its resurgence and enduring influence on jazz, rock, and rap in the 1990s.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Samantha Hunt
This excellent primer on the history of the blues succeeds not only in tracing the timeline of their development as a musical art form, but in providing a context in which to understand them. Originating in the South in the 1800s, the blues were shaded by the experience of an enslaved people with a great musical tradition. African rhythms fused with a new language created work songs and spirituals. African styles of playing stringed instruments were transposed onto the European guitar, producing entirely new methods of playing and notes not contained by standard Western musical scales. Social conditions-racism, poverty, personal hardship-combined with musical innovation to produce the blues. No one knows who first played and sang the blues, but Awmiller's in-depth and in-context profiles of seminal blues performers such as Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and B.B. King provide an introduction to some of the best. By the turn of the century, blues music and musicians had gained popularity not only with black audiences, but white ones as well, and would come to exert a powerful influence on the development of almost all subsequent popular music. The introduction of the electric guitar and its innovative use by blues artists inspired a whole new generation of musicians. It was Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley that The Beatles most wanted to see and hear when they first came to the United States, and it was Chuck Berry who brought Mick Jagger and Keith Richard together. Eric Clapton and John Mayhall listed, learned, and put "British blues" on the map. Jimi Hendrix perfected the guitar solo using feedback and distortion techniques that originated with Muddy Waters. Even today's rappers have blues roots, as do soul and jazz artists. While the blues are fascinating to read about, it is most important to listen to them, so the author has included a list of recordings for "Recommended Listening," as well as a list of titles for "Recommended Reading." There is also a chapter demonstrating how blues scales and chord progressions differ from the standard, as well as a look at the patterns blues lyrics usually take. The author's use of only standard musical notation, however, does make it difficult for the guitarist (and there are many) who doesn't read music to understand. Using tablature in addition to or instead of standard musical notation would make this chapter much more accessible for the budding blues musician, though fortunately, there are plenty of tab books available for those who want to learn particular songs or just pick up some blues licks. The cover art on this book (a photo of a nattily dressed man with a guitar case in front of a nightclub) is intriguing, but the photos illustrating the text are all black-and-white and utilitarian at best. Inclusion of some color artwork might have made this book more visually appealing and therefore of more immediate interest to a wider audience, but it is certainly highly recommended for readers with a specific interest in the blues or history of popular music in general. Index. Illus. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531157978
Publisher:
Scholastic Library Publishing
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Series:
African-American Experience Series
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.97(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile:
1250L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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