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Walking a Blues Road: A Blues Reader 1956-2004
     

Walking a Blues Road: A Blues Reader 1956-2004

by Samuel Charters
 

Samuel Charters belongs to a small group of writers about music whose work has transformed their -subject—without his discoveries, insights and interventions, the history of blues over the past 50 years would have been very different. This book is a -collection of his writings from 1954 to 2004.

Samuel Charters walks us from Houston, Texas alongside

Overview

Samuel Charters belongs to a small group of writers about music whose work has transformed their -subject—without his discoveries, insights and interventions, the history of blues over the past 50 years would have been very different. This book is a -collection of his writings from 1954 to 2004.

Samuel Charters walks us from Houston, Texas alongside “Lightnin’” Hopkins and “Thunder” Smith to Memphis and Willie B, and on to St. Louis. The book includes chapters from his writing on the poetry of the blues and on country music.

Samuel Charters has written several books on the blues, as well as novels and memoirs. Many of his original recordings of artists who never reached a recording studio are available on CD.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Charters has devoted his life to studying and writing about the blues, and this book (covering 1956 through 2004) includes thoughtful liner notes, larger essays and deeply felt excerpts from his books The Legacy of the Blues and The Roots of the Blues. After he heard Bessie Smith's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" in 1937, he says, "blues became my life." The music helped him through a friendless, poverty-plagued childhood, and when he realized he was incapable of writing scathing record reviews, he concentrated on spotlighting the virtues of those he admired. Colorful figures in this work include Blind Willie Johnson, a guitar-playing evangelist who lost his sight when his mother, in a fit of rage, threw a pan of lye water in his face; legendary Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins; and Robert Johnson, master of "superb sexual imagery." Charters analyzes styles, repertoires and chords in a lean, comprehensive manner that will appeal to musical sophisticates and laypersons alike. His most visceral portrayal of a musician's emotional commitment to music is of Memphis Willie B. When steel guitar strings had worn blisters on his fingers and the blisters had broken, he refused to quit, saying he wasn't feeling a thing. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Though some credible compilations of blues album liner notes and cover art exist, with many available in musician festschrift, the field has long been ripe for something more comprehensive. In the meantime, libraries will depend heavily on books like this by jazz and blues historian Charters (The Roots of the Blues), which annotates a collection of his writings (many o.p.), both liner notes and essays, on his extensive work recording and traveling with blues artists like Muddy Waters and Otis Spam. His reminiscences, musings, and anecdotes are fascinating; his depth of knowledge impressive. What's more, Charters isn't afraid to point out and amend the inaccuracies in some of his writings from the 1950s and 1960s. This spirit of openness permeates his work, making it a strong contender as one of the best books recently published on the blues. Charters, also known as a photographer, includes an assortment of shots taken by himself and his wife, Ann. Any library with music holdings should strongly consider purchasing this.-William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780714531076
Publisher:
Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Publication date:
01/01/2004
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Now in his seventies, Sam Charters is a jazz expert with over 11 books on jazz to his name. His 1959 book The Country Blues was the first serious examination of this seedbed of virtually all American music. He followed this book with The Legacy of the Blues and The Roots of the Blues (all Marion Boyars publications).

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