"A treasure trove of primary scholarship. The numerous photographs and extensive bibliographies and discographies alone are worth the price of admission, but the truly uplifting community of voices in the book, as well as in the images, words, and music on the discs, is fasicinating. . . . One hopes Ferris will continue publishing for years to come."
-Journal of American Folklore
"This book, CD and DVD all contain living history as it rolled out thirty or more years ago, when blues music was part of rural black family life. . . and we have the unlikely opportunity to take a meandering ramble through and closely observe the lives of the tellers."
"Ferris eloquently captures the hearts of Mississippi artists, forever preserving their voices by way of manuscript, photography, video, and sound recordings. Ferris takes the reader right into the heart of Mississippi."
-North Carolina Folklore Journal
"[Ferris] is a hero for blues lovers and folklorists the world over….There is much to love about this collection….Without a doubt, this wonderful multimedia set is necessary for any comprehensive blues collection."
"A captivating and diverse multimedia experience for fans and scholars of the blues and gospel music. . . . Highly recommended for anyone interested in the blues or Southern history."
"Personal, anecdotal, lively and full of the same spirit that helps bring blues music to life. A great mix of stories from some renowned blues greats alongside people known only in their neighborhoods."
Indie Top 20 Selection
"There is much to love about this collection. . . . Without doubt, this wonderful multimedia set is necessary for any comprehensive blues collection."
"The stories, collected during Ferris' travels in his native lands of the Mississippi Delta, are real, raw, passionate, at times ribald and rough and at others sweeter than tupelo honey."
-Carrboro Citizen"For blues lovers who love their experience pure and strong. . . . Joyous, powerful and authentic, this package is designed to both inform and entertain those willing to plunge into this audacious world."
"These voices express the blues in a deep and truthful way. They touched my heart."
-B. B. King
"Like Bill Ferris, I grew up in Mississippi. My life is continually shaped by the blues. This book captures those rich voices so well."
"Ferris . . . has given historians and music fans a gift."
"Captures the cadences of [the musicians'] spoken voices and the stories of their lives, and the DVD and CD that accompany the book allow us to hear their music. . . . If the unhealed wound of injustice is everywhere present in these stories, many of the people telling them, like Ferris himself, have refused to see their lives reduced to race and stubbornly resist despair."
"The invaluable narratives and stunning black-and-white photographs . . . would be enough to recommend this book as a must-have for anyone interested in the blues, but Ferris also includes a DVD of incredible film footage . . . and an audio CD. . . Provides a complete portrayal of blues culture. An accessible book that will appeal to anyone interested in American music and culture. . . . Highly recommended."
"The classic struggle between Saturday night revelry and Sunday morning appropriateness, the pain and joy in blues and gospel music, sermons and stories, are presented in print, and--luckily for us--on a CD and
a DVD, compilations from Ferris's faithful work. The package is raw, unadorned, very funny, haunting, daring, and spellbinding."
-Clyde Edgerton, Garden & Gun
"You feel as though you've been given the truest form of insight into a place. . . . First-person insight, presented in all its soulful glory."
"Ferris' fieldwork proves to be every bit as important and impressive as the now-famous Mississippi recordings made by John and Alan Lomax in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. . . . Ferris' audio and video recordings . . . are unpolished gems, further preserving pieces of Mississippi's musical past that may have otherwise been forgotten."
-The Vicksburg Post
"A beautiful memorial to Mississippi African Americans and their lost world [and] a tribute to the folklorist who captured their stories and songs for posterity."
-The Journal of Southern History
"Groundbreaking. . . . The summation of a life's work documenting and, in the process, lifting the music of a regional people who, from the depths of poverty, racism and centuries of struggle, have given the world one of its most enduring art forms."
-Memphis Commercial Appeal
Shelf Life Blog
"The DVD supplement. . . . Capture[s] images and actions that are seen nowhere else. . . . [They] may be Ferris's best and his most accomplished works."
"A book that will transport its readers, though it's meant to be experienced at a walking pace. . . . A multi-faceted portrayal of blues history that makes accessible a community and a genre of music with incalculable influence."
-Inside Higher Ed
"A pretty damn impressive package, and an amazing resource of material on Mississippi folk culture."
-Highway 61 Radio
"The ultimate multi-media collection of interviews, original music and film about the blues."
"Ferris reaches beyond the dry, [dispassionate] cataloguing of regional history and traditions to tell the very personal story of his own education and the lives of the remarkable teachers . . . that he met along the way."
"This multimedia package is a valuable addition to scholarship in the traditional arts . . . casual blues fans and lovers of Mississippi culture will appreciate its unpretentious presentation style."
"An incredibly powerful book. . . . The great strength of Give My Poor Heart Ease
is that [Ferris] gets himself out of the way and lets other people do the talking."
"[A] blues goldmine."
-Carolina Arts & Sciences
"This magnificent and invaluable volume illuminates blues music, the broader African American experience, and indeed the history and culture of America itself."
"[This] book takes readers, watches, and listeners as close as a book can take people into the homes, juke joints, and churches of Mississippians who made music."
-The Southern Register
"An illuminating, transporting volume."
Web Pick of the Week
"Delivers exactly what its title promises: the words and voices [Ferris] collected of Mississippians who had it rough and, in telling about it, changed American music forever."
"I reveled in these stories."