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The Blues Route

From the Delta to California, a Writer Searches for America's Purest Music

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Journalist Hugh Merrill takes us on a sweeping road trip in search of the distinctly American music known as the blues. Tracing blues culture from its beginning in rural Mississippi up through the Delta to Chicago and beyond, Merrill visits with legendary musicians such as Son Thomas, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Valerie Wellington and Magic Slim. In fascinating interviews, Merrill uncovers wonderful stories about Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Ma Rainey. The trip dips into New Orleans as Merrill explores how the blues exploded in clubs and cribs, influencing dixieland, jazz and zydeco. A trip out west presents a lovely tour of the cocktail lounges of Oakland and Los Angeles and the guardians of the blues who live there. The Blues Route is an engrossing narrative, a book that celebrates not only the music but the continuing search for sympathy, understanding and affinity that the blues embodies.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 01, 1990 – In his search for the roots of the blues, a nationally syndicated columnist from Georgia visits cocktail lounges, juke joints and no-name dives in Mississippi, Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. Among the bluespeople whose racy stories he quotes are 70-ish Rufus Thomas (``the world's oldest teenager'') of Sun and Stax records; Alligator's Bruce Iglauer, who, in the author's estimation, records the best contemporary blues; Koko Taylor (``the queen of the blues''), who recorded for Willie Dixon on Chess; Watts's Eddie ``Cleanhead'' Vinson; trumpeter Gregory Davis of the Dirty Dozen; signer Valerie Wellington, who forsook Verdi and Wagner for Elmore James and Ma Rainey; and German-born Chris Strachwitz, the first person to record Louisiana zydeco music and the man who made Clifton Chenier famous. Merrill's route is leisurely and each step a festival for blues devotees. Photos not seen by PW.
The Blues Route
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Music
  • Published: Jan 01, 2012
  • Publisher: Garrett County Press
  • Seller: National Book Network
  • Print Length: 236 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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