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Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday Paperback – January 26, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
To begin with, Davis convincingly argues that Blues women were on the vanguard in breaking down taboos concerning domestic violence and male subjugation, as many Blues songs concerned these matters. Davis uses powerful works such as "Rough and Tumble Blues," "See See Rider Blues," and "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair," to demonstrate that Blues women were willing to engage in oppositional, if allegorical, violence in the service of personal autonomy. Even man songs that seem to demonstrate acquiescence, even masochism, in the face of male abuse can be seen to have an ironic, subversive, or didactic quality that belies a simplistic surface reading.
Davis also takes on the common notion that Blues music doesn't include social protest, an interpretation that has been pushed by white commentators, such as Samuel Charters, and black commentators, such as Albert Murray. Davis argues that Blues music inherits from Slave musical culture a coded approach to naming and resistance that demands more than a surface analysis of the lyrics, and takes into account the role of music as a lyrical interlocuter.Read more ›
The fact that all the lyrics are included is all the more reason to recommend this book. Being a white man from Norway, I may not be the best judge of language and style in the transcriptions of these lyrics, but they remain a powerful read, and they become an even stronger listening experience.
Whereas white feminists find white women's literature a valuable place to search for roots of feminism, Davis and other scholars of black American culture (in which the struggle for literacy has still not ben won) have found music to be a rich source of personal and communal histories and social commentary. So music is where she searches to find articulations of women who already lived identities in conflict with the prevailing notions of femininity. No one need fear Davis's use of the term feminist or her use of race and class to analyze these women's music. Race, class, and gender undoubtedly determined the possibilities for these women's lives.
Davis draws upon existing definitions of the blues and also expands the definition to include the "proto-feminist consciousness" of black women. Davis's discussion of the blues idiom is comprehensive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very interesting read. This book focused on the lyrics to 3 blues legends. The review of the songs makes you want to listen to their music as you read. Read morePublished 15 months ago by MAYA'S BOOKS N THINGS
this is such a cool book. I loved learning about African American feminism in the context of American History, and more importantly: music. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ashley O'Brien
i was writing a paper for a grad class on blues women using Ann Petry's The Street as a main source, and this book came in handy. Read morePublished on October 17, 2013 by Reader
Great condition to be a used textbook. However, I thought I would receive it in paperback form, not hardcover. Maybe I misread the description. No complains here though :)Published on September 16, 2013 by Valencia
Davis explains that the Blues genre belongs to women just as much as it does men. Davis stated that the Blues provided a space where women could express themselves in new ways. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by The Prissy Snob
Angela Y. Davis tells the story of women's blues during the 1920s and 1930s. She closely analyses lyrical content and sets the songs of the 'Classic' blues singers within a... Read morePublished on November 19, 2012 by Michele Johnson