So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960's, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls "negro music" on white America -- not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.
âThe essential history of this distinctly American genre.ââAtlanta Journal-ConstitutionIn this âexpertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful historyâ (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us âthe rare combination of a tome that is both deeply informative and enjoyable to readâ (Publishers Weekly, starred review). From the field hollers of nineteenth-century plantations to Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Delta Blues delves into the uneasy mix of race and money at the point where traditional music became commercial and bluesmen found new audiences of thousands. Combining extensive fieldwork, archival research, interviews with living musicians, and first-person accounts with âhis own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of Delta bluesâ (New York Times), this engrossing narrative is flavored with insightful and vivid musical descriptions that ensure âan understanding of not only the musicians, but the music itselfâ (Boston Sunday Globe). Rooted in the thick-as-tar Delta soil, Delta Blues is already âa contemporary classic in its fieldâ (Jazz Review). 38 illustrations