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The Story Of The Blues Paperback – April 30, 1998


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Paperback, April 30, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern (April 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155553354X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555533540
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Encyclopedic in scope, The Story of the Blues is a bright work of scholarship. . . A profusion of well-chosen illustrations and informative captions makes it a vivid photographic essay as well as an invaluable compendium."--Arnold Shaw, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Paul Oliver is a highly-acclaimed authority on the blues. His previous books include Blues Fell This Morning, Conversation with the Blues, Savannah Syncopators, Songsters and Saints, and The New Blackwell Guide to Recorded Blues. He lives in Oxford, England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a book with mini-sized, hackneyed biographies of a few acclaimed blues artists, this isn't it. After all, it's not called, "Ten Blues Artists You Ought to Know About" (I wonder, how many could one refer to, providing substantial information and interesting details, in just 300 pages?). As the title clearly claims, this book tells "The Story of the Blues," the history of the beginnings of Black American music. Paul Oliver's intention is to present the magnitude of the blues, primarily as an important part of Black American life, but also as a form of entertainment that was, in no time, packing music halls both across America and Europe. The author refers to an extremely large number of artists not with the intention of name-checking them, but with a purpose of mapping the evolution of the blues and its transformation through the years as more and more people were exposed to it. So, if you're interested in reading about the history of the blues, and the development of American music as entertainment, up to and including rock'n'roll, I recommend you check this out. Yes, reading it can become a bit dizzying, but only because it's such an engaging read.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a really informative book with some depth to it as an introduction to the blues, this isn't it. Reading the Story of the Blues can become a bit dizzying. Such an extremely large number of artists are introduced at such a mind-numbing rapidity that you find you can't remember a thing about any of them and you doubt whether you would be able to find any of their work at the record store anyway. When you finally to get something about Robert Johnson at page 133, he is dispatched after a couple of pages, which I found pretty disappointing. The portraits of the blues artists are so superficially done and so numerous, that I found the book unsatisfying. If you are looking for a good informative book on the blues with some depth to it, I would suggest either Deep Blues by Robert Palmer or I Feel Like Going Home by Peter Guralnick. I would think this book would be of more interest to experts who are looking for references to relatively obscure Blues figures.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JDM von Weinberg on January 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This British scholar brought a new level of attention to the Blues and was there before a lot of the old timers were gone.

I don't think anybody who is interested in the Blues can do without this book.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not faulting the research, which is comprehensive; it is the format that the author chooses to present this information that is so difficult to digest. On any given page there are as many as 15 different names with barely enough information about each artist to differentiate them from one another. The book is so short and so densely packed that it is difficult to absorb the information. The author uses the regionalization of the Blues as it traveled from the South to the North as his basis for examination; occasionally throwing in lyrics or musical notes to support a point, but their inclusion seems to be haphazard at best. If you are looking for a tremendous amount of information about the Blues this is fine, but if you are looking for an enjoyable read, look elswhere.
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