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Escaping the delta : Robert Johnson and the invention of the blues

Author: Elijah Wald
Publisher: New York : Amistad, ©2004.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Robert Johnson's story presents a fascinating paradox: Why did this genius of the Delta blues excite so little interest when his records were first released in the 1930s? And how did this brilliant but obscure musician come to be hailed long after his death as the most important artist in early blues and a founding father of rock 'n' roll? Elijah Wald provides the first thorough examination of Johnson's work and  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Biographies
Named Person: Robert Johnson; Robert Johnson; Robert (Musiker) Johnson; Robert Johnson
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Elijah Wald
ISBN: 0060524235 9780060524234
OCLC Number: 52334844
Description: xxvi, 342 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Acknowledgments --
Introduction --
World that Johnson knew: What is blues? --
Race records: Blues queens, crooners, street singers, and hokum --
What the records missed --
Hollers, moans, and "deep blues" --
Mississippi Delta: Life and listening --
Robert Johnson: Life remembered --
Music --
First sessions, part one: Going for some hits --
First sessions, part two: Reaching back --
Second sessions: Professional --
Legacy --
Blues roll on: Jump shouters, smooth trios, and down-home soul --
blues cult: Primitive folk art and the roots of rock --
Farther on up the road: Wherefore and whither the blues --
Afterthought: So what about the devil? --
Appendix --
Notes --
Bibliography --
Index.
Responsibility: Elijah Wald.
More information:

Abstract:

Robert Johnson's story presents a fascinating paradox: Why did this genius of the Delta blues excite so little interest when his records were first released in the 1930s? And how did this brilliant but obscure musician come to be hailed long after his death as the most important artist in early blues and a founding father of rock 'n' roll? Elijah Wald provides the first thorough examination of Johnson's work and makes it the centerpiece for a fresh look at the entire history of the blues. He traces the music's rural folk roots but focuses on its evolution as a hot, hip African-American pop style, placing the great blues stars in their proper place as innovative popular artists during one of the most exciting periods in American music. He then goes on to explore how the image of the blues was reshaped by a world of generally white fans, with very different standards and dreams. The result is a view of the blues from the inside, based not only on recordings but also on the recollections of the musicians themselves, the African-American press, and original research. Wald presents previously unpublished studies of what people on Delta plantations were actually listening to during the blues era, showing the larger world in which Johnson's music was conceived. What emerges is a new respect and appreciation for the creators of what many consider to be America's deepest and most influential music.Wald also discusses how later fans formed a new view of the blues as haunting Delta folklore. While trying to separate fantasy from reality, he accepts that neither the simple history nor the romantic legend is the whole story. Each has its own fascinating history, and it is these twin histories that inform this book.

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