332 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 30 halftones, appends., notes, bibl., index
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6037-0
Published: September 2020
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6035-6
Published: October 2020
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6036-3
Published: October 2020
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In Whose Blues?, award-winning blues scholar and performer Adam Gussow confronts these challenging questions head-on. Using blues literature and history as a cultural anchor, Gussow defines, interprets, and makes sense of the blues for the new millennium. Drawing on the blues tradition’s major writers including W. C. Handy, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Amiri Baraka, and grounded in his first-person knowledge of the blues performance scene, Gussow’s thought-provoking book kickstarts a long overdue conversation.
About the Author
Adam Gussow is professor of English and southern studies at the University of Mississippi and author of four previous books on the blues, including Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition. He is currently appearing on Netflix in Satan & Adam, an award-winning documentary about his thirty-five-year partnership with Mississippi-born bluesman Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee.
For more information about Adam Gussow, visit the Author Page.
"An insightful work that connects contemporary culture to an old-school genre."--Kirkus Reviews
"Ably details the African American core of the blues and the shifting racial dynamics that have made the music so compelling to white Americans and blues fans in other cultures. Blues scholars will find the book illuminating."--Library Journal
“As a Black musician, I have often reflected on the dichotomy between Black bluesism and blues universalism. Whose music is it? Who profits from it? How is the next generation of blues artists being mentored? In a book that is as timely as it is illuminating, Adam Gussow has given us an excellent framework for considering these questions, and along the way he offers a rich, informative, and often myth-busting history of the complex story of blues and race.”--Gene Dobbs Bradford, president and CEO, Jazz St. Louis
"In Whose Blues?, Adam Gussow tackles the provocative reality of the blues. He ties the music’s tortured history to the current racial climate and adds chapters on blues’ place in African American literature and the Black Arts Movement. This is essential reading to better understand the power of the blues."--Art Tipaldi, editor, Blues Music Magazine
"In an act of fidelity to the blues itself, Adam Gussow returns us to a fundamental question that sadly is often unspoken and repressed in today’s everyday blues consciousness. Gussow, a blues performer and a man of deep reflection, busts open the silence but also cautions against unnecessary fights as he supports and intensifies struggles for equality in the blues."--"Sugar Brown" Ken Kawashima, University of Toronto
"There really is nobody else like Adam Gussow, a blues harp virtuoso and first-rate scholar who tempers critical acuity with humor and generosity to all. In this soulful, bracingly clear-eyed book, he cuts through the heated feelings and bad faith surrounding the uncomfortable subject of music and race."--Carlo Rotella, Boston College