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Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories (Music in American Life) Paperback – May 8, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"David Whiteis' refreshingly lively Chicago Blues is an inside job, a first-hand account that treats the music not as a pile of dusty old records but as a living breathing art form."--MOJO, August 2006

Book Description

A descriptive tour through the places and personalities of the Chicago Blues scene, past and present        
 
Through revealing portraits of selected local artists and slice-of-life vignettes drawn from the city’s pubs and lounges, Chicago Blues encapsulates the sound and spirit of the blues as it is lived today. As a committed participant in the Chicago blues scene for more than a quarter century, David Whiteis draws on years of his observations and extensive interviews to paint a full picture of the Chicago blues world, both on and off the stage. 
 
In addition to portraits of blues artists he has personally known and worked with, Whiteis takes readers on a tour of venues like East of Ryan and the Starlight Lounge; home to artists such as Jumpin’ Willie Cobbs, Willie D., and Harmonica Khan. He tells the stories behind the lives of past pioneers including Junior Wells, pianist Sunnyland Slim, and harpist Big Walter Horton, whose music reflects the universal concerns with love, loss, and yearning that continue to keep the blues so vital for so many. 
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252073096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252073090
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,419,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles K. Cowdery on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This excellent book is a personal meditation on the recent and present Chicago blues scene by someone who knows it as well as anyone, and who thinks and writes about it much better than most. This is definitely not an introduction to the blues, but if you are a fan of the music, especially of the artists who are still getting it done in the Windy City, and if you have ever done any big picture musing on what the blues is all about, then this will give you a lot to muse about. I loved it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Weinstock VINE VOICE on September 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
David Whiteis' new book, "Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories," is a collection of portraits of blues performers and venues that provides a sense of the diversity of the Chicago blues scene with an emphasis on its evolution as a living tradition among the city's African-American community. There are chapters devoted to departed masters to a number of contemporary performers representing a diversity of approaches to the blues, and in the process provides an enlightening overview of a still evolving blues scene and tradition. The portraits are derived from articles that Whiteis wrote for a variety of publications including the Chicago Reader, Juke Blues and Living Blues, and it would be welcome for no other reason than making these available, but the book is more than that.

The first part of Chicago Blues is devoted to Elder Spirits, and includes chapters on Junior Wells, Sunnyland Slim and Big Walter Horton. What is surprising is how little has been written on these three and Whiteis' chapters are welcome for recounting these the lives of these pioneers and masters of the post-war Chicago blues scene. As Whiteis notes, these three mentored him as he developed an knowledge and love of the blues, and his affection for them is obvious as can be gleaned from what he states about Sunnyland Slim, "We weren't what you would call blood brothers. I don't claim to have been his intimate confidant. Nevertheless, I honestly believe that no one else ever taught me so much about life than Sunnyland Slim did.
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By Meep on October 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I swear this is my English teacher(I live in Chicago,too). That's his name and he always talks about blues and music.
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