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‘Astonishing, soul-baring – the must-read memoir by rock’s greatest
survivor’ DAILY MAIL
Blues history is steeped in Chicago's sidewalks; it floats out of its restaurants, airport lounges and department stores. It is a fundamental part of the city's heritage that every resident should know and every visitor should be afraid to miss. Allow Rosalind Cummings-Yeates to take you inside the Checkerboard and Gerri's Palm Tavern, where folks like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and Ma Rainey transformed Chicago into the blues mecca. Continue on to explore the contemporary blues scene and discover the best spots to hear the purest sounds of Sweet Home Chicago.
Huey "Piano" Smith's musical legacy stands alongside that of fellow New Orleans legends Dr. John, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe, and Allen Toussaint. His 1957 classic, "Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," made Billboard's top R&B singles chart, and hundreds of artists including Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys, Johnny Rivers, and Chubby Checker have recorded his songs.
The first biography of the artist responsible for hits "Don't You Just Know It," "High Blood Pressure," and "Sea Cruise," Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues follows the musician's extraordinary life from his Depression-era childhood to his teen years as a pianist for blues star Guitar Slim to his mainstream success in the 1950s and '60s. Drawing from extensive interviews and court records, author and journalist John Wirt also provides new insights on Smith's professional disappointments and financial struggles in the 1980s and '90s as he battled over royalties from his most successful and profitable work.
An enigmatic and guarded personality in a profession of extroverted performers, Smith made farreaching contributions to the New Orleans music scene as a songwriter, pianist, and producer. Wirt reveals that Smith's numerous collaborations with other artists -- including the Clowns, the Pitter Pats, the Hueys, and Shindig Smith and the Soul Shakers -- served as vehicles for his creative vision rather than simply as an anonymous backup for a leading front man.
Throughout this intimate account, Wirt details Smith's significant impact on rock and roll history and underscores both the longevity of his music -- which has entertained and inspired for over five decades -- and the musician's personal endurance in the face of hardship and opposition.
The acclaimed classic biography, fully revised, becomes the definitive. The revised edition of Ian Carr's classic biography of Miles Davis throws new light on his life and career from the early days in New York, with Charlie Parker, to his Birth of the Cool band, through his drug addiction in the early 1950s, and the years of extraordinary achievements, 1954-1960, during which he created a whole series of masterpieces on record, and drew to his band such unequalled talents as John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and Cannonball Adderly. Carr also gives a detailed description of Miles's dark reclusive period, 1975-1980, and his descent towards disintegration. He also tells how the events of one single day forced Davis to turn back to life and return slowly to music. The incessant activity of his last ten years - the music-making, his painting and art exhibitions, his extraordinary trumpet playing, his marriage to and divorce from Cicely Tyson - is recounted with fascinating insight. Miles Davis, whose work has been called `one of the greatest musical legacies of the twentieth century', remained controversial until the end, and this definitive biography examines the controversy from all sides. With access to the inner circle of Davis's friends and associates, Ian Carr includes new interviews with such jazz greats as Max Roach, George Russell, George Avakian, Ron Carter, John Carisi, John Scofield, Bill Evans and Jack and Lydia DeJohnette, and revisits those who contributed to the first edition, including Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Joe Zawinul and Paul Buckmaster. This new, revised edition is an essential source for those who want to understand Miles, his music and the `jazz life'.
David Williams grew up in Epsom, Surrey and was a childhood friend of future Led Zeppelin guitar legend, Jimmy Page. Together they discovered what was for them an intriguing and very different kind of music: the blues. As their interest grew into a passion, they befriended other teenage enthusiasts -- among them Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards -- becoming part of a movement that ultimately brought about the '60s rock revolution. Part-biography, part-history, "The First Time We Met The Blues" is packed full of great anecdotes and unique insights into the early British blues scene, Page's formative years as a musician, the beginnings of the Rolling Stones, and much more besides. It culminates with a detailed account of a momentous expedition by van from London to Manchester to see the American Folk-Blues Festival in October 1962 -- the first time ever that Williams and his friends had an opportunity to see legendary American bluesmen like T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon and John Lee Hooker in action -- and an assessment of its far-reaching aftermath.
Born to shell-shocked parents in shell-shocked London shortly after the end of World War II, Paul 'Sailor' Vernon came into his own during the 1960s when spotty teenage herberts with bad haircuts began discovering The Blues. For the Sailor it became a lifelong obsession that led him first to record collecting and stalking unsuspecting visiting bluesmen, and then into a whirlwind of activity as a rare record hunter, record dealer, magazine proprietor/editor, video bootlegger and record company director before a variety of personal and business setbacks eventually ushered him into seeking a more stable form of existence. The many twists and turns in the author's roller-coaster adventure of a life are all vividly charted in this hilarious illustrated autobiography. GASP as you read how he road-tripped his way through the Deep South armed only with a Rand McNally map, a Swiss army knife and an emergency jar of Marmite! MARVEL as you absorb in-depth descriptions of legendary performances by long-departed giants of the Blues! CHOKE on your coffee as one rotten gag after another blindsides you! REND YOUR GARMENTS as you realise just how many original Blues 78's went through his sweaty hands! SHOUT "BLIMEY!" within earshot of surprised elderly relatives as you follow the rags-to-riches tale of his extraordinary life! It's all here in this one-of-a-kind life history that will leave you reaching for an enamel bucket and a fresh bottle of disinfectant!
'A masterpiece, as fresh and shocking as if it were written yesterday' Craig Brown "I've been told that no one sings the word 'hunger' like I do. Or the word 'love'." Lady Sings the Blues is the inimitable autobiography of one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century. Born to a single mother in 1915 Baltimore, Billie Holiday had her first run-in with the law at aged 13. But Billie Holiday is no victim. Her memoir tells the story of her life spent in jazz, smoky Harlem clubs and packed-out concert halls, her love affairs, her wildly creative friends, her struggles with addiction and her adventures in love. Billie Holiday is a wise and aphoristic guide to the story of her unforgettable life.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, folklorist William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the authentic roots of the blues. Illustrated with Ferris's photographs of the musicians and their communities and including a CD of original music, this book features more than 20 interviews relating frank, dramatic, and engaging narratives about black life and blues music in the heart of the American South. Oversize, with 45 halftones.
Experience a cool splash of music history from the Bayou State! This intensely personal and entertaining account is a snapshot of Blues from an outsider welcomed into the inner circles of Southern Blues icons. Englishman Julian C. Piper spent a year abroad at Louisiana State University and played blues primarily at the Blues Box in Baton Rouge. There he met many of the musicians with whom he conducted interviews between 1987 and 1988. Those interviews form the basis of this book. Through his close friendship with Blues Box owner Tabby Thomas and his son Chris, Piper collected stories of blues luminaries including Silas Hogan, Robert Pete Williams, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Lonesome Sundown, Chris Thomas King, Lightening Slim, and many more.
Mamie Smith's pathbreaking 1920 recording of "Crazy Blues" set the pop music world on fire, inaugurating a new African American market for "race records". Not long after, such records also brought black blues performance to an expanding international audience. A century later, the mainstream blues world has transformed into a multicultural and transnational melting pot, taking the music far beyond the black southern world of its origins. But not everybody is happy about that. If there's "No black. No white. Just the blues", as one familiar meme suggests, why do some blues people hear such pronouncements as an aggressive attempt at cultural appropriation and an erasure of traumatic histories that lie deep in the heart of the music? Then again, if "blues is black music", as some performers and critics insist, what should we make of the vibrant global blues scene, with its all-comers mix of nationalities and ethnicities? In Whose Blues?, award-winning blues scholar and performer Adam Gussow confronts these challenging questions head-on. Using blues literature and history as a cultural anchor, Gussow defines, interprets, and makes sense of the blues for the new millennium. Drawing on the blues tradition's major writers including W. C. Handy, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Amiri Baraka, and grounded in his first-person knowledge of the blues performance scene, Gussow's thought-provoking book kickstarts a long overdue conversation.
Robert Johnson is the subject of the most famous myth about the blues: he allegedly sold his soul at the crossroads in exchange for his incredible talent, and this deal led to his death at age 27. But the actual story of his life remains unknown save for a few inaccurate anecdotes. Up Jumped the Devil is the result of over 50 years of research. Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Robert Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson's death certificate in 1967. Bruce Conforth began his study of Johnson's life and music in 1970 and made it his mission to fill in what was still unknown about him. In this definitive biography, the two authors relied on every interview, resource and document, most of it material no one has seen before. As a result, this book not only destroys every myth that ever surrounded Johnson, but also tells a human story of a real person. It is the first book about Johnson that documents his years in Memphis, details his trip to New York, uncovers where and when his wife Virginia died and the impact this had on him, fully portrays the other women Johnson was involved with, and tells exactly how and why he died and who gave him the poison that killed him. Up Jumped the Devil will astonish blues fans who thought they knew something about Johnson.
It started with the searing sound of a slide careening up the neck of an electric guitar. In 1970, twenty-three-year-old Bruce Iglauer walked into Florence's Lounge, in the heart of Chicago's South Side, and was overwhelmed by the joyous, raw Chicago blues of Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. A year later, Iglauer produced Hound Dog's debut album in eight hours and pressed a thousand copies, the most he could afford. From that one album grew Alligator Records, the largest independent blues record label in the world. Bitten by the Blues is Iglauer's memoir of a life immersed in the blues-and the business of the blues. No one person was present at the creation of more great contemporary blues music than Iglauer: he produced albums by Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Professor Longhair, Johnny Winter, Lonnie Mack, Son Seals, Roy Buchanan, Shemekia Copeland, and many other major figures. In this book, Iglauer takes us behind the scenes, offering unforgettable stories of those charismatic musicians and classic sessions, delivering an intimate and unvarnished look at what it's like to work with the greats of the blues. It's a vivid portrait of some of the extraordinary musicians and larger-than-life personalities who brought America's music to life in the clubs of Chicago's South and West Sides. Bitten by the Blues is also an expansive history of half a century of blues in Chicago and around the world, tracing the blues recording business through massive transitions, as a genre of music originally created by and for black southerners adapted to an influx of white fans and musicians and found a worldwide audience. Most of the smoky bars and packed clubs that fostered the Chicago blues scene have long since disappeared. But their soul lives on, and so does their sound. As real and audacious as the music that shaped it, Bitten by the Blues is a raucous journey through the world of Genuine Houserockin' Music
The most comprehensive single-volume blues publication ever, with songs spanning the entire history of the genre. Every major blues artist is well-represented, including Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Alberta Hunter, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bessie Smith, Sonny Boy Williamson, and scores of others. Features very easy-to-read engravings of 400 fantastic songs, including: All Your Love (I Miss Loving) * Angel Eyes * Baby Please Don't Go * Basin Street Blues * Beale Street Blues * Bell Bottom Blues * Black Coffee * Crossroads * Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans * Everyday (I Have the Blues) * Fine and Mellow * Folsom Prison Blues * A Good Man Is Hard to Find * Hellhound on My Trail * (I) Can't Afford to Do It * I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues * Ice Cream Man * Lady Sings the Blues * Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) * Lucille * Mean Woman Blues * My First Wife Left Me * Nine Below Zero * Oh! Darling * Road Runner * Royal Garden Blues * St. Louis Blues * Steamroller Blues * Stormy Weather * Sweet Home Chicago * Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do * The Thrill Is Gone * Worried Man Blues * hundreds more!
Acoustic Blues Guitar Styles is an introduction to fingerstyle acoustic blues guitar, the style made popular by Robert Johnson, Bill Broonzy, and Mance Lipscomb. Following the success of the popular Acoustic Guitar Styles, Larry Sandberg's Acoustic Blues Guitar Styles is an instructional book geared towards the intermediate guitar player, not only to teach fingerstyle blues technique, but also to approach the music creatively and with feeling and rhythm. Part One teaches you the preliminaries, such as reading a chord chart and working out a 12-bar blues in different keys. Part Two teaches you touch, timing, and basic fingerpicking technique. Part Three teaches you how to play stylistically, with lessons on how to incorporate bends, vibrato, alternating bassnotes, and rhythmic variations into your playing. All musical exercises are presented in both standard notation and tablature, and are supported by audio tracks. Customers purchasing the eBook version of this title will be able to download the supporting audio tracks. Instructions on downloading the files can be found on the contents page.
This groundbreaking book, written by one of the foremost blues historians in the UK, is based on over 30 years' research, exploration and absolute passion for early blues music. It is the first ever comprehensive study of the enormous impact of the railroads on 19th and early 20th Century African American society and the many and varied references to this new phenomenon in early blues lyrics. The book is comprehensively annotated, and also includes a Discography at the end of each chapter.
John Mayall is an icon in the world of blues music and the Godfather of British blues. A pioneering musician, blues promoter and talent scout for over 50 years, his uncanny knack of picking young, talented musicians and then nurturing them in his bands is the stuff of legend. Under his guidance as leader and sometimes father figure, his groups developed into a blues school of learning par excellence. Many young members became huge stars later on, among them brilliant musicians such as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Mick Taylor and drummer Jon Hiseman. In Mayalls bands, an incredible 130 musicians have done their apprenticeship and earned their spurs. Top bands like Cream, Fleetwood Mac or Colosseum would never have existed without his inspiration and guidance. Now 80 and showing no signs of slowing down, John Mayall has an amazing back catalogue totalling some 86 albums, and has played over 5000 live concerts all over the world. He is still rated as one of the most influential and respected figures in the international blues and rock scene. This is the first detailed biography of Mayall, illuminating not only his life and career, but also providing deeper, more detailed insights into the development of his many fellow musicians. It follows the young Mayall from the early days of jamming in his tree house as a teenager to the vast tours he undertakes today. Even die-hard blues fans will find a lot of undiscovered anecdotes and stories here, as the book covers all phases of the Mayalls career and not just the 60s.
When Mississippi John Hurt (1892-1966) was "rediscovered" by blues revivalists in 1963, his musicianship and recordings transformed popular notions of prewar country blues. At seventy-one he moved to Washington, D.C., from Avalon, Mississippi, and became a live-wire connection to a powerful, authentic past. His intricate and lively style made him the most sought after musician among the many talents the revival brought to light.
"Mississippi John Hurt" provides this legendary creator's life story for the first time. Biographer Philip Ratcliffe traces Hurt's roots to the moment his mother Mary Jane McCain and his father Isom Hurt were freed from slavery. Anecdotes from Hurt's childhood and teenage years include the destiny-making moment when his mother purchased his first guitar for $1.50 when he was only nine years old. Stories from his neighbors and friends, from both of his wives, and from his extended family round out the community picture of Avalon. U.S. census records, Hurt's first marriage record in 1916, images of his first autographed LP record, and excerpts from personal letters written in his own hand provide treasures for fans. Ratcliffe details Hurt's musical influences and the origins of his style and repertoire. The author also relates numerous stories from the time of his success, drawing on published sources and many hours of interviews with people who knew Hurt well, including the late Jerry Ricks, Pat Sky, Stefan Grossman and Max Ochs, Dick Spottswood, and the late Mike Stewart. In addition, some of the last photographs taken of the legendary musician are featured for the first time in "Mississippi John Hurt."
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