The History of the Blues : The Roots, the Music, the People, Paperback

The History of the Blues : The Roots, the Music, the People Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, 88ill.
  • Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Blues
  • ISBN: 9780306812965



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A highly-readable and up-to-date history of the blues. The author is not averse to debunking, whilst simultaneously indulging, many of the myths that have grown up around the music. For beginners this should provide an easy and enjoyable starting point. For the knowledgeable it serves as a refreshing corrective and brings to bear a contemporary sense of proportion. One missing dimension I personally would have liked to have seen included is more than a passing reference to the last wave of Mississippi musicians represented by the Fat Possum label and including artists such as RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, Cedell Davis. I think these have proved to be of far greater significance to blues discovery now in that they have introduced a new generation to the music and are of far more interest than Robert Cray, Chris Wiley, John Campbell and suchlike who are held up as continuing with the tradition. For the latter-day stuff you need to go to the late Robert Palmer's 'Deep Blues' (not the book, but the documentary available on DVD) and the 'You See Me Laughin'documentary (available on DVD).

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