9780195398939

The Blues: A Very Short Introduction

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780195398939

  • ISBN10:

    0195398939

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/5/2010
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Summary

Praised as "suave, soulful, ebullient" (Tom Waits) and "a meticulous researcher, a graceful writer, and a committed contrarian" (New York Times Book Review), Elijah Wald is one of the leading popular music critics of his generation. In The Blues, Wald surveys a genre at the heart of Americanculture. It is not an easy thing to pin down. As Howlin' Wolf once described it, "When you ain't got no money and can't pay your house rent and can't buy you no food, you've damn sure got the blues." It has been defined by lyrical structure, or as a progression of chords, or as a set of practices reflectingWest African "tonal and rhythmic approaches," using a five-note "blues scale." Wald sees blues less as a style than as a broad musical tradition within a constantly evolving pop culture. He traces its roots in work and praise songs, and shows how it was transformed by such professional performers asW. C. Handy, who first popularized the blues a century ago. He follows its evolution from Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith through Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix; identifies the impact of rural field recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton and others; explores the role of blues in the developmentof both country music and jazz; and looks at the popular rhythm and blues trends of the 1940s and 1950s, from the uptown West Coast style of T-Bone Walker to the "down home" Chicago sound of Muddy Waters. Wald brings the story up to the present, touching on the effects of blues on American poetry,and its connection to modern styles such as rap.As with all of Oxford's Very Short Introductions, The Blues tells you - with insight, clarity, and wit - everything you need to know to understand this quintessentially American musical genre.

Author Biography


Elijah Wald is a musician who teaches blues history at UCLA. His books include How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll, Global Minstrels, and Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. xi
Introduction: What is blues?p. 1
A short history of blues
Roots of the bluesp. 11
Prewar bluesp. 21
Modern bluesp. 47
Blues in American culture
Blues and jazzp. 81
Blues and country musicp. 95
The language and poetry of the bluesp. 111
Referencesp. 125
Further readingp. 128
Indexp. 131
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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