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Big Road Blues: Tradition And Creativity In The Folk Blues (A Da Capo paperback) Paperback – August 22, 1987


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Product Details

  • Series: A Da Capo paperback
  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 22, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306803003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306803000
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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The text is well-noted and has a great bibliography.
Tony Thomas
In this respect, Evans' analysis provides a good way to understand and appreciate both historical and contemporary blues music.
grasshopper4
This is a book I believe any blues lover would enjoy reading.
Monty Rainey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything I have seen by or edited by David Evans has impressed me with his thoroughness, his seriousness, and his respect for tradition. This is no exception. Books about the blues are often written by people who know little or nothing about the Blues, or worse, by people who have just enough misinformation, stereotypes, and wrong attitudes to make their book a threat to knowledge about the Blues.

David Evans is a serious student of the Blues. He has spent decades in Mississippi and other parts of the South interviewing, getting to know, studying, and playing with real Bluesmen, living in the blues environment, and learning the entire gamut of musical culture that Africans brought to this country. His study is from the standpoint of a trained folklorist and musicologist, not a mere enthusiast.

This book centers on a study of the Blues traditions of the Drew, Mississippi area and takes the song "Big Road Blues" identified with Drew musician Tommy Johnson and recorded in 1930 by the Mississippi Sheiks as "Stop and Listen" as the center of that study. Along the way, Evans provides a history of the development of the blues and a history of the development of analysis and study of the blues up to the point of publication of his book as well as a final chapter with suggestions and questions that his study poses to the general methodology of Folklore.

Evans gives a very good picture of how the Blues tradition was passed won in the Drew Area. This is important because the Drew area included significant Delta Blusicians like Charlie Patton, Son House, and tangentially Robert Johnson and Howling Wolf.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By grasshopper4 on December 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although first published in 1982, this book may be more important to today's readers as the passage of time has resulted in a shifting importance to this book's content. Along with serving as an insightful contribution to folkloristic analysis, the book has now become a major resource for understanding the social history of the blues. In this respect, Evans' analysis provides a good way to understand and appreciate both historical and contemporary blues music. Evans' interviews with blues musicians from the 1960s and 70s, in particular, provide irreplaceable resources for learning about well-recognized blues players like Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Tommy Johnson as well as lesser-known, but still important, figures such as Mager Johnson, Willis Taylor, and Mott Willis, and Fiddlin' Joe Martin. The focus on Drew, MS gives this study a good example of a community with a thriving local tradition, where many of the previously-mentioned musicians played, and it provides an especially strong way to understand the development of the blues tradition in the Delta. Evans' careful transcriptions of a variety of blues songs and sharp analysis of tunes and lyrics further contribute to an understanding of the music within the context of a once-vibrant local blues tradition. The book culminates in a extensive analysis of the development and diffusion of the tune "Big Road Blues." This chapter includes thorough transcriptions that show how the song has been played by a number of musicians. It is especially interesting and worthwhile to listen to some of the recordings that Evans mentions (and that he, himself, even produced) while reading about the players who created the various performances of the tunes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Monty Rainey VINE VOICE on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the interest of fairness, I'm giving this book five stars, though I admit that I am not totally qualified to rate this book in its' totality. I say that because, I have no knowledge of reading music and much of BIG ROAD BLUES by David Evans is designed to teach blues music as well as entertain readers.

The book was certainly entertaining giving rich and colorful history of blues pioneers and the Mississippi delta small towns where blues found its roots. As for the music part of it, it was way over my non-music playing head, but I am certain guitar artists and aspiring blues musicians would benefit greatly from its lessons.

Even without a music background, simply as a lover of blues music, I found this book very readable and informative. The book is laden with brief biographies of obscure blues musicians largely forgotten by all by the most devout blues fans, as well as pictures that lend character to the book. This is a book I believe any blues lover would enjoy reading.
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Format: Paperback
This is an incredibly well done piece of field work based blues scholarship. Evans isn't just a highly accomplished academic and folklorist, he immersed himself in living blues, which resulted in insightful evaluations of traditions, context, songs and singers from the early 20th century and living singers in the 60's and 70's. If you appreciate good blues literature, this book has to be in your collection.
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Big Road Blues: Tradition And Creativity In The Folk Blues (A Da Capo paperback)
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