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Those who bite, shall be bitten - Kid Prince Moore, Bite Back Blues

Author Topic: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition  (Read 528 times)

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Offline jharris

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    • Big Road Blues
Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« on: September 19, 2017, 04:06:08 PM »
I was just putting a show together on this topic when I stumbled on the book. I reached out to the author and will be doing an interview which will air during the show sometime in October.

The book is by by Adam Gussow. Here's the blurb:

The devil is the most charismatic and important figure in the blues tradition. He's not just the music's namesake ("the devil's music"), but a shadowy presence who haunts an imagined Mississippi crossroads where, it is claimed, Delta bluesman Robert Johnson traded away his soul in exchange for extraordinary prowess on the guitar. Yet, as scholar and musician Adam Gussow argues, there is much more to the story of the devil and the blues than these cliched understandings.

In this groundbreaking study, Gussow takes the full measure of the devil's presence. Working from original transcriptions of more than 125 recordings released during the past ninety years, Gussow explores the varied uses to which black southern blues people have put this trouble-sowing, love-wrecking, but also empowering figure. The book culminates with a bold reinterpretation of Johnson's music and a provocative investigation of the way in which the citizens of Clarksdale, Mississippi, managed to rebrand a commercial hub as "the crossroads" in 1999, claiming Johnson and the devil as their own.


Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2017, 01:39:22 AM »
Well he should know, as I seem to remember he was one half of the duo called "Satan & Adam"! And very good they were (are) too.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline waxwing

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Re: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 06:53:01 PM »
"The book culminates with a bold reinterpretation of Johnson's music..."

As every book about the blues must!

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline jharris

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Re: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 05:18:39 AM »
"The book culminates with a bold reinterpretation of Johnson's music..."

As every book about the blues must!

Wax

True! I was talking to Adam yesterday and he has a 4,000 word article about RJ coming out in the new Living Blues. Some of the information is based on Bruce Conforth's research, who's currently looking for a publisher for his and Gayle Wardlow's RJ bio.

Offline jharris

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Re: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 07:33:47 AM »
For those interested, you can find the show I did with Adam on my website at http://sundayblues.org/ and at https://www.mixcloud.com/Bigroadblues/.

Part II will air next week with just a bit more of the interview (mainly the RJ stuff) but mostly music.

Offline blueshome

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Re: Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 10:07:43 AM »
There has  been much discussion of this work (mostly not positive) over on the Real blues Forum. This may help if you are thinking of buying it.

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