The History Of The Blues: The Roots, The Music, The People

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Francis Davis's The History of the Blues is a groundbreaking rethinking of the blues that fearlessly examines how race relations have altered perceptions of the music. Tracing its origins from the Mississippi Delta to its amplification in Chicago right after World War II, Davis argues for an examination of the blues in its own right, not just as a precursor to jazz and rock 'n' roll. The lives of major figures such as Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Leadbelly, in addition to contemporary artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray, are examined and skillfully woven into a riveting, provocative narrative.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306812967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306812965
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

I adopted this book as text for our History of …

One person found this helpful.
 on January 1, 2015
By C. Adams
I adopted this book as text for our History of the Blues class. It has a critic’s perspective and insights that spice things up a bit and make the topic come to life.

Great reading

 on March 1, 2017
By JacMar
Very Interesting. Was taking a class. The book came in handy

A challenge to conventional thinking

4 people found this helpful.
 on April 2, 2007
By Andrew
Davis challenges you virtually from page 1. That’s one thing a good book should do. A less thick skinned reader might have been a little upset with his characterisation of one of the main groups who love blues music: overweight 50-something white males. I am one. There was more than a faint suggestion that o50swm’s have a faintly condescending attitude to those nice lil’ darkies plunking away at their guitars. Rather than slamming the book shut, I re-examined my views. He had a point: it was at university when I discovered this music. At the time, I was in one of my more pretentious periods: faux angry young socialist. But all I can do is thank Mr Davis. I have looked at myself. NOw I am sure. I love this music. I just love it. There is much to learn from this book. I don’t agree with Davis’ contention that white folks can’t play the blues. They can. They do and and they do it very well.

Black, White and Blue

 on November 2, 2016
By Anthony C Murphy
Lovely book, well researched and well written. It’s got a matt cover. I was wondering why the content was seen as contentious. It turns out it’s a race thing. I would recommend reading Blues People by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) also.

Loved it. Very informative and turned me on to …

 on August 22, 2017
By Geremy Cope
Loved it. Very informative and turned me on to some blues I was not aware of. I have a much deeper appreciation for this American music form and the people who created it.

The research in this book was incredible, sometimes I …

 on October 7, 2016
By martin ranger
The research in this book was incredible, sometimes I found the author seemed to put in more words and thoughts, in a statement and you had to review the sentance from the beginning.

A different approach.

 on August 21, 2014
By Don Arata
As a blues fan, this book takes a different approach the understanding the Blues genre of music, which I found quite informative. The author wanders around a bit, but it the end. it all comes together. A good read!.

good book

 on February 26, 2013
By Firmin Michiels
nice book, easy to read, a bit academic, thou not to much.

A very good read that can open one’s mind to the fact …

 on September 18, 2014
By Mr. Kingfish
Not a typical view of the blues. A very good read that can open one’s mind to the fact that what we think we know is not what actually happened. Only other book on the blues I found as interesting is Deep Blues…

Blues lessons

 on August 6, 2013
By Paul
If you want to know what blues music is all about, this book is a must. It has helped me to lengthen my wish list of artists to pick up more music from.

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