Delta Blues

Delta Blues : The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

4.16 (353 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this "expertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful history" (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us "the rare combination of a tome that is both deeply informative and enjoyable to read" (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 "his own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of Delta blues" (New York Times), this engrossing narrative is flavored with insightful and vivid musical descriptions that ensure "an understanding of not only the musicians, but the music itself" (Boston Sunday Globe). Rooted in the thick-as-tar Delta soil, Delta Blues is already "a contemporary classic in its field" (Jazz Review).show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 22.86mm | 362.87g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0393337502
  • 9780393337501
  • 151,756

About Ted Gioia

An authority on jazz and blues, Ted Gioia is the founder and editor of He has recorded several CDs as a pianist and composer and is the author of five highly regarded books on jazz and roots music. He lives in Plano, more

Review quote

"...the passionate blues singing of Mississippi's steamy cotton fields ultimately gave rise to rock'n'roll. Ted Gioia expertly traces its colourful history and heroes." Books of the Year 2008, The Economist "[A] rich and illuminating study... Gioia, who has researched thoroughly and listened carefully, does a splendid job of telling the story on a broad canvas..." Mick Brown, The Daily Telegraph "Gioia's depth of research is breathtaking...The author's sheer passion for the music comes through on every page, and you can almost hear those old shellac 78s as you read his descriptions." "He uses original research, interviews with reliable sources and his own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of the Delta blues." International Herald Tribune "Gioia's intermittently brilliant and always compelling investigation of the blues is marked with a musician's ear for the form and a fan's enthusiasm for both the recordings and the artists." The Heraldshow more

Rating details

353 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 38% (133)
4 45% (159)
3 14% (50)
2 2% (7)
1 1% (4)
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