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Nothing But the Blues : The Music and the Musicians Paperback – September 1, 1999


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Frequently Bought Together

Nothing But the Blues : The Music and the Musicians + The Devil's Music: A History Of The Blues + Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta
Price for all three: $54.61

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789206072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789206077
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this extensively illustrated, comprehensive volume, Grammy-winning CD producer Cohn provides an elegant pictoral and intellectual history. In the first of 11 essays, Samuel Charters writes on the roots of the blues; in others, David Evans digs into Texas and Deep South blues and Mark A. Humphrey examines the gospel and urban traditions of the blues. Bruce Basti, Jim O'Neal and Mary Katherine Aldin are among the writers covering such topics as white country blues, the 1960s blues revival and the blues today. Richard K. Spottswood offers an excellent essay on women and the blues. The 325 illustrations include Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet, recording contracts and rare historic photos of blues performers making their music. Cohen does full justice to this rich and vibrant chapter of American musical history.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This compilation of 11 articles, edited by Grammy Award-winning blues producer Cohn, examines the beginnings and progress of the blues. The book starts with a penetrating essay by noted blues writer Samuel Chaters, who investigates the origins of the blues. It follows with chapters that clearly, extensively, and intelligently describe early blues in the Deep South and Texas, women and the blues, urban blues, the Sixties blues revival, and such often-neglected aspects of the blues tradition as gospel, Piedmont regional blues, white country blues, and the role of music researchers like John and Alan Lomax. Only chapters about the current blues scene and rhythm and blues offer disappointingly superficial treatment. Lavishly illustrated, well researched, and written in a lively style, this book should become a standard on the topic for both the general public and scholars. Recommended for most collections. The publisher is releasing a limited edition of this work that includes a compact disc.--Ed.
- David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
A must own if you enjoy music.
James W. Strevels
When I ordered this book, they said it was a so-so condition and it was fairly cheap.
emily
The book includes a discography and bibliography.
New England Yankee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Every once in awhile a book comes along that can virtually answer all your questions and at the same time incorporate stories on artists both obscure and well-known...that keeps you from putting it down [very difficult for a book that can be considered a reference work].

The pictures included alone are well worth the price of the book. Many of them rare and never seen before by many of the blues fans who would be interested in this work.

If you are going to have one book in your home library on Blues....this is the one to have.

Tom
tkdp@castle.net
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By New England Yankee on February 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a very enjoyable read. While fundamentally a blues history book, the chapters are organized topically along lines that will make sense to any blues enthusiast, and there are lots of pictures that (for me, anyway) help to cement the content in memory. Shots of musicians and albums pepper almost every last page. Comments on individual albums and songs, short anecdotes, and quotes keep the text moving at a brisk pace.

Chapters cover the topics of roots, Texas and Deep South blues, women in the blues, gospel influences, urban blues, East Coast and Piedmont blues, a chapter on the various "field trips" taken by several people to record early blues, the roots of R&B, and blues today. The individual chapters were written by different authors, variously ranging from academics to blues publication writers. The material hangs together extraordinarily well, though - to the point where the differing authorship is hardly noticible, in the best intended sense. Unusual for most blues titles is also in-depth coverage of white blues, including commentary of the cross-overs between country music, particularly early country music, and the blues.

The book includes a discography and bibliography. I would have really liked to have had some commentary with both, however, as they are pretty simplistic listings. For perspective on individual recordings, you'll have to go elsewhere. I use the "All Music Guide to the Blues" - All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues.

As B.B. King says in his short introduction - this is a "loving presentation" of the blues. This is not a deep dive into controversies or academic arguments over roots and development. Rather, it focuses on sub-genres, artists themselves, labels, and recording and entertainment history. I'd recommend it anyone looking for perspective across the entire genre.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This substantial book is filled with rare, many never before seen black and white photos of decades of blues players, accompanied with an entertaining and informative text.
A great book for the blues fan, but readable enough for a newcomer to the genre. A must buy at an not unreasonable price, considering some slighter, less well researched and informative volumes.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John W. Crockett on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book touches on many of the important blues styles and describes how the music evolved into its current state from the many roots to the many styles that are still alive today. This is a serious reference, packed with all kinds of useful information and hundreds of rare pictures for any serious blues enthusiast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James W. Strevels on April 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you ever want to know if a blues musician is worth their weight, check the index of this book.Every major blues musician is mentioned in this book.A must own if you enjoy music.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short review: This is an excellent over-view of the blues. It provides some technical information and rich detail, but it is still very readable.

I have one criticism. A section on British Blues and 1960s/70s blues rock in the US, UK, and Australia should have been included. Some of the best blues songs of the era (for example, Hendrix's Red House) were a part of this development of the blues.
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