Sun Nov 7 19:55:33 EST 2004
My two cents says maxdog is quite right about Robert Palmer's "Deep Blues".
Good info without being too involved. Might think of following that up down
the road with Charles Keil's "Urban Blues". The bio on BB King is pretty
good, by Charles Sawyer. And, although rather specific, Marc Ryan's
"Trumpet Records" is an easy read. Same with "Mississippi The Blues Today"
by Robert Nicholson. Could suggest the first half of "Woman with Guitar:
Memphis Minnie's Blues" and "King of the Delta Blues" and that thing about
Skip James. Can't recall...well, those are rather involved, just like Big
Road Blues by David Evans. I still like Guralnick's work. Might consider
"The Big Book of Blues" as a beginner's reference; it's much easier to cast
around for who's who (with some major disappointments) than the All Music
Guide (rather completist and you can get the same info on-line) or that
huge "Blues Who's Who" (dry dry dry).
>I think Robert Palmer's "Deep Blues" is a fine place to start. I didn't
>find it too academic at all. It was the first book solely devoted to the
>blues that I read. I found "The Land Where the Blues Began" boring and a
>bit too self-absorbed. For more narrow views of the blues, "The Search for
>Robert Johnson" is a nice quick read, Honeyboy Edwards' "The World Don't
>Owe Me Nothin'" is great and both the Muddy Waters' biography "I can't be
>satisfied" and the new Howling Wolf biography, "Moanin' at Midnight" are
>interesting but maybe a bit too detailed for a newbie. I seem to remember
>that there is a book titled "Country Blues" which might more closely suit
>his current interests but I don't remember who wrote it and don't know how
>good it is. A trip to Amazon.com might help.
>> I have a 19-year-old nephew who's become fascinated with the blues. He
>> discovered 60s-era folk singers at art school - Phil Ochs, early Dylan,
>> Tom Rush, etc. and worked his way back to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. I
>> introduced him to the blues by sneaking him into local clubs, and he
>> decided to go back to the beginning in that genre too and has been
>> listening to Son House, John Hurt and Fred McDowell. I'd like to get him
>> a book for Christmas and am wondering what would be the best one in
>> terms of history. Deep Blues? The Land Where Blues Began? Lost Highway?
>> Any input would be appreciated.
>> Mary Lou Sullivan
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