The legendary study of the blues by one of America's premier writers and critics.
This study of the blues by one of America’s premier essayists and novelists will change old attitudes about a tradition that continues to feed the very heart of popular musica blues that dances,shakes,shimmies,and exchanges bad news for stomping,rollicking,pulse-quickening good times.
"[Murray] is possessed of the poet's language,the novelist's sensibility,the essayist's clarity,the jazzman's imagination,the gospel singer's depth of feeling. " -The New Yorker
"A Flamboyant,insightful examination and evocation of the sources,styles,and mythologies of blues music. " -Newsweek
"Murray writes of the blues from the inside. His observations and conclusions show his authoritative comprehension of a blues musician’s roots,the choices and adaptations he makes of existing material to form his own style,and the off-stage personal style he creates to go with it. . . Murray’s preaching is sound. " -Amy Lee,Christian Science Monitor
"An entire chapter is devoted to correcting misconceptions about the blues and to redefining the music and its connotations for American culture. " -Jason Berry,The Nation
"The most eloquent book ever written about African-American music. " -Stanley Crouch,Village Voice
"By far the most stimulating interpretation of the meaning of jazz in African-American life. " -Martin Williams,author,The Jazz Tradition
"It is a discussion of the basic aesthetic values of blues music,how those values embody ritual responses to life,and the manner in which they originated in American black communities and were stylized by individual geniusesinto an art of universalimport. " -Gary Giddins,New York Magazine
"As striking a book about music as I have ever seen. " -Greil Marcus,Rolling Stone