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Blues People: Negro Music in White America Paperback – January 20, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
Recently, I found this book in the upper shelves of my library, having completely forgotten about it in spite of my infatuation with the blues for the better part of the last two decades. It was a most welcome surprise for me, as it contained a compact but comprehensive introduction to the time period from the first Africans came to America to the 1920s when their music was first recorded, and laid the groundwork to how this music evolved in a sociological context. The rural lifestyle, the reflections of the exodus from the south on the music and subsequent refined, urban sound are discussed in this framework.
Although it would not really appeal to the casual reader and listener, "Blues People" is invaluable for the serious blues and jazz fan for setting the music into the general context of social life and external effects that made this music what it is today.
As Baraka concentrates on the process, he does not put any emphasis on names and details of the musicians. The book is not in any way a list of "who's who in Blues or Jazz".
The book is critical of American mainstream culture, describing it as shallow and un-creative. Baraka observes that Blacks who have tried to belong to the mainstream (white) society have not been able to produce any music of value. He believes that their rejection of their Blues (slavery) roots made them too as shallow and un-creative as the society they wanted to join.
Baraka is most knowledgeable of Bebop and its developments up to free Jazz, as they are the closest to his generation. He is admittedly less connected to country blues, which for him expresses the first stage in the post slavery black society.
The book is magnificent in its originality and boldness. I think it is essential reading for anyone interested in African American music and/or culture.
Like i said I didn't like any blues until I read this book. I feel this book has caused me to appreciate music much more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most miraculous books ever written. However the introduction from the first edition, which was brilliant, was omitted and the new one wasn't anywhere as percipient as... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
They gave us the blues, and what did we give them, not a lot great readPublished 10 months ago by Warrenselby-jones
This is great book but if you want to read more about white people history here is the book explaning the war between white people and black people in last 5000 years
A... Read more