Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Getting the Blues: What B... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Markings on edge of book otherwise in VERY GOOD condition. Has minimal wear on the covers. All pages are clean, intact and unmarked. Eligible for FREE Shipping from AMAZON. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation Paperback – September 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.00
$4.13 $2.88

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$20.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation
  • +
  • Popcultured: Thinking Christianly About Style, Media and Entertainment
Total price: $34.70
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's difficult to associate the loneliness and downright mournfulness of the blues with the joyful teachings on salvation that often characterize the Christian religion. Yet in this splendid little book, theologian Nichols engagingly reminds us that the musical genre of the blues helps us to understand what theologians call redemption. Drawing on a wide range of blues singers and their lyrics, he blends the strains of the blues into the harmonies of theology and scripture in order to compose a new song about the powerful manner in which the blues prepare us for understanding the mercy and love of God. In songs such as Mississippi John Hurt's Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, for example, the blues record the loneliness and the desolation the singer feels, and Nichols compares this to the desolation that Christ felt when God forsook him on the cross. Finally, in his mournful songs, Blind Lemon Jefferson juxtaposes the despair of failure with the hope that such failures can be overcome. Nichols's elegant study offers fresh insights into the blues and their meaning for religion. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

From the Promised Land to the Mississippi Delta

David expresses his dark side in the Psalms.

The prophets cry out in anguish and condemn social injustices.

And Paul bemoans his frailty as a man.

In Getting the Blues, Stephen Nichols examines this dissonance in the Bible--what he calls "theology in a minor key"--and leads readers in a vivid exploration of how blues music offers powerful insight into the biblical narrative and the life of Jesus.

Subtly weaving Bible stories together with intriguing details of the lives of blues musicians such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, Nichols reveals what blues music teaches about sin, suffering, alienation, and worship. He delves into how the blues can intensify our understanding of bondage to sin and redemption and how the blues encourage us to strive for justice and righteousness. In the end, readers will emerge with a deeper understanding of the value of a theology that lingers on the dark side and embraces Good Friday as well as Easter, suffering as well as joy.

"In the current cultural climate, surrounded by so much sentimentality, we need blues music and its Christian resonances as perhaps never before. Nichols's book should go a long way to putting this art form back on the theological agenda."--Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

"Too often the Blues is put in opposition to Spirituals. But when the church's songs stray too far from the cries of a broken humanity, they lose their truth, depth, and power. In Getting the Blues, Stephen Nichols compellingly shows how the minor key of the Blues resonates with the minor keys in scripture and theology. By attending closely to these 'blue notes' Nichols writes truthfully and wisely about God's ways with wayward children--not only famous ones like Muddy Waters and Ma Rainey, but also the likes of you and me."--Christian Scharen, Yale Center for Faith & Culture; author of One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press; Assumed First Edition edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432125
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scandalous Sanity VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation by Stephen J. Nichols was definitely a great find. As one who knew practically nothing of the blues, this book opened my eyes to the soul behind the most soul-filled music ever created. Nichols also did an extremely well job of sticking to the thesis of this book and incorporating the very visible theological themes within this passionate genre of music.

The book doesn't stray far from the Delta River Blues and Blues musicians. As one of the oft-mentioned artist said, "Blues is the roots, the rest is the fruits." Nichols compares this area with that of Eden, a place where something more extrordinary began, but also a place where much torment and separation are always before your eyes and the back of your mind.

Nichols turns the Blues, which are generally thought of as extremely secular, into lessons on Christ, Suffering, Salvation, and Eternal Life in an extremely intricate way. You could definitely find some comfort in this book if you connect with the disheartened, and bedraggled of the world.

The only thing that really hindered my reading was the amount of lyrics inserted between Nichols own words to make his point. I can understand that attempting to make a point about a bunch of songs is difficult, especially when attempting to write for an audience that isn't familiar with these songs, but this made it seem like a college research paper. The points could have been made without so many. But, I would still recommend this book, it just may take a while to work through.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
"The blues is a congregation that sings on Saturday night in expectation of Sunday" (171). The blues forces us to deal with the realities of life. The woman who "done me wrong," the death of friends, the strong allure of drink, smoke, and other vices. Yet at the same time, while in the fray of dealing with so much trouble, the blues points us to the hope of things to come. That glorious Sunday morning when all will be made right and salvation will surely come.

In his book, Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation, Stephen J. Nichols takes us on a musical journey through the early 20th century Mississippi Delta in search of a theology in the minor key. Too many American evangelicals, he states, live life as though it is always "spring and summer without winter or fall. Or always Easter and never Good Friday" (14). This attitude, for the author, is simplistic and naïve at best, borderline blasphemous at worst. This is because it is a rejection of the experience and intent of Jesus Christ, who, though fully God, left the spring and summer of heaven to take on flesh and dwell in the winter and fall of earthly life.

Half history book, half theology book, Getting the Blues delves into how the blues can give us insight for living in this constant tension between reality and the hope to come. Comprised of six chapters, this book begins with an orientation to the world of the blues--its musical characteristics, origins, key players--as well as an introduction to the theological themes of the blues in a chapter entitled, "What Hath Mississippi to Do with Jerusalem." The second chapter, "I Be's Troubled," explores the relationship between what both the blues and the Bible have to say about the human condition.
Read more ›
1 Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was in the ministry for 32 years, then a strange inner ear disorder with sever constant vertigo put me on disability. A good Christian friend introduced me to Blues music. I had heard "of" the blues before, but until my life was shipwrecked by a disease I never really "heard" the blues. Then I came across this book written by one of my son's college professors. I felt like it was written just for me. Not only did Dr. Nichols do his homework to write this book, but the notes he provides gave me other resources to read which have really impacted my views. I told my son to tell Dr. Nichols that I think this book was written just for me. If you're going through the valley, this is a good book to get your hands one. Dr. Nichols notes that the Christian life can be lived on the minor scale. KIng David wrote some of the best blues in the Bible and there is much we can glean therefrom.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a student of music & esp the Blues, this will be of interest! good history good all the way round !! if Music or Blues is not your thing, you may still enjoy but may not get the full thrust & impact that is referenced in the book. Give it a read. I was pleased, can't recall now why I bought it! maybe it was referenced in another book or sermon ( ?) I recommend this whether you are a Christian or not, maybe like some of the men mentioned in the book, it will lead you on the path to true redemption
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Being a blues musician I have always felt the blues is a biblical music. If you read the Psalms its easy to see that David had the blues. I believe David was a blues guitar player. Nichols calls the blues "theology in a minor key" and shows how this music relates to biblical themes of salvation and suffering. If you love music or history you should read this book. The author also includes some lyrics he has written. If you read the bible thinking about the blues you will see that every major character had the blues at one time or another and you will also see how God moves in their lives to save and deliever them. As a blues guitar playing Pastor of a local Church I recomend this book to you. Visit my blog [...]
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation