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Adam Gussow is a writer and blues harmonica player. He is associate professor of English and southern studies at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
Deep Blues explores the archetypal journey of the human psyche through an examination of the blues as a musical genre. The genesis, history, and thematic patterns of the blues are examined from an archetypal perspective and various analytic theories. Mythological and shamanistic parallels are used to provide a deeper understanding of the role of the bluesman, the blues performance, and the innate healing potential of the blues. Universal aspects of human experience and transcendence are revealed through the creative medium of the blues. The atmosphere of Deep Blues is enhanced by the black and white photographs of Tom Smith which capture striking blues performances in the Maxwell Street section of Chicago. Jungian analysts, therapists and psychoanalytic practitioners with an interest in the interaction between creative expression and human experience should find Deep Blues satisfying. Deep Blues should also appeal to enthusiasts of music, ethnomusicology, and the blues.
A Blues Bibliography, Second Edition is a revised and enlarged version of the definitive blues bibliography first published in 1999. Material previously omitted from the first edition has now been included, and the bibliography has been expanded to include works published since then. In addition to biographical references, this work includes entries on the history and background of the blues, instruments, record labels, reference sources, regional variations and lyric transcriptions and musical analysis. The Blues Bibliography is an invaluable guide to the enthusiastic market among libraries specializing in music and African-American culture and among individual blues scholars.
Offering a comprehensive view of the South's literary landscape, past and present, this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture celebrates the region's ever-flourishing literary culture and recognizes the ongoing evolution of the southern literary canon. As new writers draw upon and reshape previous traditions, southern literature has broadened and deepened its connections not just to the American literary mainstream but also to world literatures--a development thoughtfully explored in the essays here. Greatly expanding the content of the literature section in the original Encyclopedia, this volume includes 31 thematic essays addressing major genres of literature; theoretical categories, such as regionalism, the southern gothic, and agrarianism; and themes in southern writing, such as food, religion, and sexuality. Most striking is the fivefold increase in the number of biographical entries, which introduce southern novelists, playwrights, poets, and critics. Special attention is given to contemporary writers and other individuals who have not been widely covered in previous scholarship.
"Undercutting familiar myths about the downhome sources of blues authenticity, Gussow celebrates New York's mongrel blues scene: the artists, the jam sessions, the venues, the street performers, and the eccentrics. Journeyman's Road offers a portrait of the New York subculture struggling with the legacy of 9/11 and healing itself with the blues."--BOOK JACKET.
Spontaneity, immediacy and feeling characterize the blues as a genre. Whether it's the movement of call and response, the expressive bends and wails of voice and instruments or the synergistic relationship between audience and performers, the blues embody a kind of "living in the moment" aesthetic. At the same time, the blues genre has always responded in a unique way to its historical moment, its formal characteristics, figures, and devices constantly emerging from--and speaking to--the social relations emanating from Jim Crow segregation, sharecropping, racist violence, and migration. Time in the Blues presents an interdisciplinary analysis of the specific forms of temporality produced by and reflected in the blues. Examining time as it is represented, enacted, and experienced through the blues, interdisciplinary scholar Julia Simon addresses how the material conditions in the early twentieth century shaped a musical genre. The technical aspects of the blues--ostinato patterns, cyclical changes, improvisation, call and response--emerge from and speak to the Jim Crow era's economic, social, and political relations. Through this temporal analysis, Simon addresses how the moment-to-moment aspect of time in blues performance relates to the genre's location within historical time, with careful examinations of the historical performance and reception of blues music from the 1920s to the present day. Simon examines the structuring of time, and analyzes temporality to open the broader questions of desire, agency, self-definition, faith, and forms of resistance as they are articulated in this music. Ultimately, Time in the Blues, argues for the relevance, significance, and importance of time in the blues for shared values of community and a vision of social justice.
Winner of the 2004 C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. Seems Like Murder Here offers a revealing new account of the blues tradition. Far from mere laments about lost loves and hard times, the blues emerge in this provocative study as vital responses to spectacle lynchings and the violent realities of African American life in the Jim Crow South. With brilliant interpretations of both classic songs and literary works, from the autobiographies of W. C. Handy, David Honeyboy Edwards, and B. B. King to the poetry of Langston Hughes and the novels of Zora Neale Hurston, Seems Like Murder Here will transform our understanding of the blues and its enduring power.
The devil is the most charismatic and important figure in the blues tradition. He's not just the music's namesake ("the devil's music"), but a shadowy presence who haunts an imagined Mississippi crossroads where, it is claimed, Delta bluesman Robert Johnson traded away his soul in exchange for extraordinary prowess on the guitar. Yet, as scholar and musician Adam Gussow argues, there is much more to the story of the devil and the blues than these cliched understandings. In this groundbreaking study, Gussow takes the full measure of the devil's presence. Working from original transcriptions of more than 125 recordings released during the past ninety years, Gussow explores the varied uses to which black southern blues people have put this trouble-sowing, love-wrecking, but also empowering figure. The book culminates with a bold reinterpretation of Johnson's music and a provocative investigation of the way in which the citizens of Clarksdale, Mississippi, managed to rebrand a commercial hub as "the crossroads" in 1999, claiming Johnson and the devil as their own.
From award-winning blues scholar and musician Adam Gussow, a taut, sexy first novel about the summer busking scene in Europe and a pair of wild-hearted young men who make a pitch for fame and glory, finding a girl or two along the way. Busker's Holiday is the story of McKay Chernoff, a Columbia University grad student with a harmonica in his pocket and a blues band in his background. Desolate and despairing after a disastrous romantic breakup, McKay decides to fly off to Paris and reinvent himself as a street performer. What follows is an epic summer voyage into the busking life, propelled by the mad exploits of Billy Lee Grant, a fearless young guitar shredder whose Memphis-to-Mississippi pedigree and Dylanesque surrealism make him, when he explodes into view, precisely the partner McKay has been yearning for. Burning like a latter-day Dean Moriarty, Bill goads McKay into a sun-drenched, all-night bender, stoked by wine, women, mushrooms, and trains, that careens down out of Avignon and across the French Riviera. What happens next--in Florence, Solingen, Amsterdam, Paris--is a story of purgatory, redemption, and love regained. Hope, in a word, as a modern troubadour returns from his wanderings, reborn.

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