Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell

Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell

by Michael Gray


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Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell by Michael Gray

By the time he died in 1959, Blind Willie McTell was almost forgotten. He had never had a hit record, and his days of playing on street corners for spare change were long gone. But this masterful guitarist and exquisite singer has since become one of the most loved musicians of the prewar period, spurring Bob Dylan to write, “Nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell.” Now this richly evocative and wide-ranging biography illuminates for the first time the world of this elusive and fascinating figure, a blind man who made light of his disability and a performer who exploded every stereotype about blues musicians.

Traveling the back roads of Georgia, interviewing relatives and acquaintances, and digging up fascinating archival material, author Michael Gray weaves together his discoveries to reveal an articulate and resourceful musician with a modest career but a mile-wide independent streak. Whether selling high-quality homemade bootleg whisky out of a suitcase, bragging about crowds of women chasing him, or suffering a stroke while eating barbecue under a tree, McTell emerges from this book a cheerful, outgoing, engaging individualist with seemingly limitless self-confidence.

This moving odyssey into a lost world of black music and white power is also an unprecedented portrait of the culture, language, and landscape of the deep South--the violence, the leisurely pace of life--and of the blues preservationists who ventured into its heart. A long, thoughtful stare into the world of Blind Willie McTell, Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes is sure to find a place among the classics of American music history.

To learn more about the book, visit www.handmemytravelinshoes.blogspot.com

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556529757
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,044,313
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.21(d)

About the Author

Michael Gray is the author of The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan, Mother: The Frank Zappa Story, and others. He has written many travel features for U.K. newspapers, as well as obituaries for major figures in rock ’n’ roll. Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes was shortlisted for the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography.  For more information, please visit www.michaelgray.net

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