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Some Blues Books


uncle bud:
Picked up a couple blues books today. The first is the paperback edition of Elijah Wald's Escaping the Delta. I mention that it's paperback A) because it's out now and cheaper and B) because this edition contains a 2-song CD which includes take 1 of Robert Johnson's Traveling Riverside Blues, the one that wasn't a part of the boxed set. So for those who don't want to buy RJ all over again but are interested in the book, that's a bonus which I don't think was included with the hardcover edition. Haven't read it yet but will post thoughts when I do. I like what I've seen so far from Wald though, so am hoping it's good. Also, he's a huge Geremia fan so has good taste. ;) The other song on the CD is Leroy Carr's "Mean Mistreater Mama." Why there are only two songs on the CD is a good question, but what the hell, I didn't have the alt. take of TRB.

The other book was the companion book to Martin Scorsese's "The Blues" series. Normally I wouldn't have bought this (especially at $42.95 Canadian for the hardcover) but it's been remaindered and is selling at Indigo stores in Canada for $12.99 in hardcover. For the pictures alone it's probably worth that price. Quite a variety of material ranging from some random lyrics, essays by the filmmakers, excerpts from books like Invisible Man, Langston Hughes poems, memoirs by bluesman and hangers-on, short articles on various blues folk like Memphis Minnie, Blind Lemon, Big Joe Williams and a lot more etc. etc. And a fair amount of junky looking stuff too. But can't go wrong with the price at Indigo:
Perhaps it's remaindered elsewhere as well.

Will post thoughts about these in the future, but first I have to finish the Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell biography of Leadbelly, The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, which is tremendous. Thanks for the recommendation, Frank. Granted Wolfe and Lornell had a lot more documentation to work with than one would normally find for any country blues artists, but they did a great job of combining it all into an eminently well-written and highly readable book. Which ain't always the case with this subject matter.

Hey Unkie Bud::

I have recently purchased both of these books and highly recommend both. Actually the Wald book is just about the best book on pre-war blues I have ever read. Really de-romanticizes RJ and his contemporaries and superbly places them in their musical context.

The Scorsese is a series of short essays and articles loosely strung together. Lots of very interesting and informative material here. The summary article of the early history of the blues is particularly great. Very well written.

I recieved the latter for Christmas. As for the former, I went int a local music shop and saw the book desplayed (it was about $28 Cdn) as I was leaving with a copy (hardcover) I noticed there was a promotion on the RJ complete recordings; if you bought the set, you got the book for free. The RJ set was $25. I guess everyone gets lucky occasionally.

UB you've got some great reading ahead.


Bill Roggensack:
What is it with us Canucks? I bought the same two books as Uncle Bud (yes, at Chapters and at heavily reduced prices) about ten days ago. Now all I have to do is stay awake long enough to read them.

I'd better try and get a copy of Escaping the Delta. as that sounds good.

Father Christmas did bring  me a couple of books, don't know how he knew what to bring but he brought Dead Man Blues, another book on Morton by Phil Pastras and Black Pearls by Daphne Harrison a book on blues queens of the 20s.

But sad to say I have not yet read either of 'em :o  yet!

uncle bud:

--- Quote from: FrontPage on January 28, 2005, 05:17:40 PM ---What is it with us Canucks? I bought the same two books as Uncle Bud (yes, at Chapters and at heavily reduced prices)

--- End quote ---

We're cheap?  ;D


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