Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes

Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes

3.9 (80 ratings by Goodreads)
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Blind Willie McTell, 1903-1959, was one of the most gifted musical artists of his generation, with an exquisite voice and a sublime talent for the twelve-string guitar. As Bob Dylan wrote, 'nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell' - yet his repertoire was infinitely wider than that. Why, then, did he drift in and out of the public eye, being 'rediscovered' time and again through chance meetings; and why, until now, has so little been written about the life of this extraordinary man? Blind from birth, McTell never behaved as if he were handicapped by his lack of sight and he explodes every stereotype about blues musicians. Michael Gray has travelled the American South and beyond to unearth the fascinating story of McTell's life - uncovering the secrets of his ancestry, the hardships he suffered and the successes he enjoyed at a time when recording contracts didn't lift you out of singing on the street. In this personal and moving odyssey into a lost world of early blues music, a vulnerable black population and more, Gray peels back the many layers of a tragic, occasionally shocking but ultimately uplifting story.
He gives us an intimate portrait of a remarkable man, showing how his life connects to the tumultuous sweep of history. Getting the story is part of the story itself, and Gray's quest for facts and details reveals that little may have changed in the Deep South even today. Part biography, part travelogue, part social history, this is an atmospheric, unforgettable tale.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 154 x 236 x 44mm | 680.39g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0747565600
  • 9780747565604
  • 808,334

About Michael Gray

Michael Gray is a writer on music and travel. An expert on rock 'n' roll history, he is author of the critically acclaimed Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan and The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia.
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Review quote

'A superb meditation on a rare American figure, one who grows more mysterious and iconic the more Gray reveals of his facts and context; a brilliant exhibition of how musical study becomes cultural study; and an elegant and passionate book that expands until its subjects seems to be time and memory themselves.' Jonathan Lethem
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Rating details

80 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 31% (25)
4 41% (33)
3 19% (15)
2 4% (3)
1 5% (4)
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