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Preachin' the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House


Preachin' the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House Cover


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Publisher Comments:

In June of 1964, three young, white blues fans set out from New York City in a Volkswagen, heading for the Mississippi Delta in search of a musical legend. So begins Preachin' the Blues, the biography of American blues signer and guitarist Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (1902 - 1988). House pioneered an innovative style, incorporating strong repetitive rhythms with elements of southern gospel and spiritual vocals. A seminal figure in the history of the Delta blues, he was an important, direct influence on such figures as Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

The landscape of Son House's life and the vicissitudes he endured make for an absorbing narrative, threaded through with a tension between House's religious beliefs and his spells of commitment to a lifestyle that implicitly rejected it. Drinking, womanizing, and singing the blues caused this tension that is palpable in his music, and becomes explicit in one of his finest performances, "Preachin' the Blues." Large parts of House's life are obscure, not least because his own accounts of them were inconsistent. Author Daniel Beaumont offers a chronology/topography of House's youth, taking into account evidence that conflicts sharply with the well-worn fable, and he illuminates the obscurity of House's two decades in Rochester, NY between his departure from Mississippi in the 1940s and his "rediscovery" by members of the Folk Revival Movement in 1964. Beaumont gives a detailed and perceptive account of House's primary musical legacy: his recordings for Paramount in 1930 and for the Library of Congress in 1941-42. In the course of his research Beaumont has unearthed not only connections among the many scattered facts and fictions but new information about a rumoured murder in Mississippi, and a charge of manslaughter on Long Island - incidents which bring tragic light upon House's lifelong struggles and self-imposed disappearance, and give trenchant meaning to the moving music of this early blues legend.

About the Author

Daniel Beaumont teaches courses on Arabic language and literature and the blues at the University of Rochester. He is the author of Slave of Desire: Sex, Love and Death in The 1001 Nights (Associated University Presses 2002). He produced and directed "So Much Truth" a documentary about bluesman Joe Beard. He also worked as chief observer on a rain making project in Libya and he has been on the historic "King Biscuit Time" blues radio show.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Second Coming of the Son

Chapter 2: "Ramblified"

Chapter 3: "The Blues Blowed My Spirit Away"

Chapter 4: My Black Mama

Chapter 5: Dry Spell Blues

Chapter 6: Jinx Blues

Chapter 7: Eclipse

Chapter 8: "Father of the Folk Blues"

Chapter 9: "He Was Who He Was"

Chapter 10: The Legacy of Son House

Appendix 1: Song Lyrics

Appendix 2: Southold, NY, Police Report




Product Details

Beaumont, Daniel
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Daniel
Music | Popular Music | Pop, Rock,
Popular Culture
Music | Popular Music | Pop, Rock, & Popular Culture
Music-Blues and Rhythm and Blues
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
40 photographs
6.4 x 9.2 x 0.9 in 0.95 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Blues
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Blues and Rhythm and Blues
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Preachin' the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House New Hardcover
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Product details 224 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195395570 Reviews:
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