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Josh White: Society Blues

Josh White: Society Blues

by Elijah Wald

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First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.


First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Author/musician Wald presents a sympathetic yet balanced biography of pop-blues-folk star Josh White (1914-69). The rise to fame of the Piedmont blues stylist is clearly charted, starting with his childhood in the segregated South, where as a preteen he landed a job leading blind bluesmen from town to town, through his work with folk archivist Alan Lomax and legendary producer John Hammond, who marketed White's smooth, socially conscious blues to a crossover audience that included Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, to his career tailspin during the Red Scare. By interviewing dozens of White's family members and friends and combing through secondary accounts, Wald uncovers a complex subject--a poor Southern bluesman who relied upon a smooth style and sex appeal for success, an ardent Civil Rights advocate who at the hint of trouble abandoned the Left to save his career, and a devoted family man who had multiple affairs. Dorothy S. Siegel's The Glory Road: The Story of Josh White (1982) is out of print, making Wald's the only available portrait of an intriguing American artist. Fortunately, it is complete, well written, and in-depth. Highly recommended.--Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Millie Rahn
Josh White's career made a major—and often overlooked or trivialized—contribution to the folk music revivals of the twentieth century. Elijah Wald's work addresses the serious lack of a full-length biography of this important figure.
—(Millie Rahn, folklorist)
Dave Van Ronk
"Wald's well-written and deeply researched bio of Josh White is the best book on American music I've read in years (and I read a lot of them). Anyone interested in the development of our popular music can't afford to miss it."
Ronald D. Cohen
This is an outstanding contribution to scholarship, presenting a fascinating, broad-based, complex understanding of a seminal musical figure. The scope and detailed information will appeal to a scholarly audience, while the style and subject matter—popular music and twentieth-century politics, society, and racial issues—will appeal to a larger public.
—(Ronald D. Cohen, Indiana University, Northwest)

Meet the Author

Elijah Wald wrote on music for the Boston Globe for 15 years. He is the author of Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas. Harper Collins/RAYO, 2001, and coauthor of Mississippi: River of Song, which accompanied a PBS series for which he served as a consultant. He maintains a website on his writing and performing, www.elijahwald.com.

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