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R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country Hardcover – November 1, 2006
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About the Author
Terry Zwigoff is the award-winning director of the documentary Crumb.
Stephen Calt, the author of two acclaimed musical biographies, lives in New York City.
David Jasen is the director of the Popular Music Archive at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University.
Top Customer Reviews
All in all this is a good package for a novice or a hardcore music fan. Neither will be disappointed.
In the 1980s, Robert Crumb, whom Robert Hughes appropriately once called the "Breughel of the 20th century," created sets of trading cards featuring some of his favorite blues, jazz, and country musicians. (The plan was to include one card per LP sold by innovative record firm Yazoo.) This collection, edited by Terry Zwigoff, the same guy who directed the documentary "Crumb," pulls together the illustrations from all three sets. They're wonderful. The blues and country illustrations are drawn, and are vintage Crumb: crosshatched, brooding characters. The jazz illustrations are water-colored. They're identifiably Crumb, but have a definitely different feel to them.
Crumb is a fascinating genius. Although his art and comics tend to be avant-garde (a term he might well disdain) and iconoclastic, Crumb also has a real affinity for late 19th and early 20th century American culture. Part of this love for an earlier time, no doubt, stems from his intense dislike of the fast-paced, loud, and garish American culture he eventually fled in the 1990s (Crumb now lives in France). But part of it is that he thinks the music produced in the early 20th century represents folk art at its finest and purest, before music became an industry. Crumb began collecting old 78s when he was still a teenager, and his love for the older music has never waned.
And so to the piece de resistance of this book: the accompanying 21 cut CD. Crumb personally chose the pieces, and they're absolutely fantastic. Except for a couple of the blues and jazz musicians, all of the artists are virtually unknown except to the afficionado.Read more ›
As for the book... hard cover, heavy paper and just the right size to carry around (if so desired.)
Of course the main selling point of this book is the drawings. They are uniformly excellent. Someone with an obsessive personality may wish to collect the actual trading cards which are reproduced in this book, but this is a far more economical and practical means of collecting these drawings.
There is mention of Crumb's decision to use a different coloring technique for the jazz trading card set in the book's introduction. This means that some of Crumb's trademark cross-hatch shading is obscured by the overlay of color. Rather than being a detriment to the jazz drawings, it actually helps to give them a distinct character.
Anyway, buy this book. It's worth double the price.
Now the famous fine arts publisher Abrams Books has designed and published a superb volume that includes the Crumb artwork as never before -- in brilliant color and on a larger scale than the cards -- along with expanded bios and a bonus CD that samples some of this great American roots music. Anyone interested in high-level cartoon art and this powerful expressive music will want to own this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great work. I only wish there was a bit more verbiage on each of the groups - but was entertaining and informative.Published 1 day ago by William Dubovsky
Great little informative book full of the wonderful art work of R. Crumb.Published 6 months ago by Rick Devore
The book, with its stories and write-ups on various performers and heir color picture cards collection is a great presentation. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Al Powers, Genie
It's a beautiful book filled with R. Crumb's portraits and histories of his heroes. In a way, it's kind of a departure from his usual comic book style even though all the portraits... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joe Momma
I am disappointed by how few women in blues, jazz or country he covered in this work. Where is Ma Rainey? Bessie Smith? Ida Goodson? Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ellen