Synopses & Reviews
Francis Davis's The History of the Blues is a groundbreaking rethinking of the blues that fearlessly examines how race relations have altered perceptions of the music. Tracing its origins from the Mississippi Delta to its amplification in Chicago right after World War II, Davis argues for an examination of the blues in its own right, not just as a precursor to jazz and rock 'n' roll. The lives of major figures such as Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Leadbelly, in addition to contemporary artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray, are examined and skillfully woven into a riveting, provocative narrative.
In honor of the Year of the Blues, the long-awaited reissue of a myth-shattering examination of a most enduring form of American music
This text is a rethinking of the blues which examines how race relations have altered perceptions of the music. Davis argues for an examination of the blues in its own right, not just as a precursor to jazz and rock 'n' roll.
Discography: p. 259-273.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-) and index.
About the Author
Francis Davis is a contributing editor of the Atlantic Monthly and writes regularly for the New York Times and the New Yorker. He is the author of the acclaimed books Outcats and History of the Blues and a biography of John Coltrane (Knopf). He lives in Philadelphia.
Table of Contents
Coon shouters and titular blues -- Blues vaudevillians, jug bands, and medicine show songsters -- Delta transcendentalists, Texas troubadours, and East Coast fingerpickers -- Robert Johnson's satanic verses -- The thirties and forties: rural, urban, and midway between -- Leadbelly's black body -- Home truths: Muddy, B.B., and the last race labels -- Chuck and Elvis, hands-on preservationists, and soul in the biblical sense -- Blues connotation/from songsters to soulsters.