Featuring over 200 vintage photographs and a new introduction by the author, the engaging, informative volume brings to life the African American singers and players who created this rich genre of music as well as the settings and experiences that inspired them.
The author deftly traces the evolution of the blues from the work songs of slaves, to acoustic country ballads, to urban sounds, to electric rhythm and blues bands. Oliver vividly re-creates the economic, social, and regional forces that shaped the unique blues tradition, and superbly details every facet of the music, including themes and subjects, techniques, and recording history.
Originally conceived as part of an early-1960s cultural exhibit at the U.S. Embassy in London, and copiously illustrated with over 200 photographs, THE STORY OF THE BLUES is British blues writer Paul Oliver's history of the genre's steady rise as the quintessential American musical art form. Starting with a variety of eyewitness accounts of the ancient field hollers brought over by African slaves and transmuted into sometimes poignant and often caustic commentaries on their wretched plight, Oliver goes into thoroughly researched sociological detail on plantation conditions and customs and the gradual emergence of the blues as an almost infinitely adaptable means of expression. With fascinating diversions into the worlds of minstrel shows and vaudeville, and chronicling the music's geographical spread throughout the country as well as its metamorphosis into myriad different styles, he constructs a remarkably detailed mosaic of the development of the blues and of the methods and techniques of its performers over the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An authoritative primer into the music that forms the foundations of jazz and rock & roll, THE STORY OF THE BLUES is a fundamental work in the canon of blues writing.
- Biography + Autobiography, Music
- History + Criticism, Genres + Styles / Blues, Composers + Musicians
- April 30, 1998
- April 30, 1998
- Paul Oliver