Tuesday, 7 April 2015

100 Books every Blues fan should own

Bringing the Deep South to Yorkshire, Stephen Town discusses the latest donation in his My Nightshelf series.

Komara, E., Johnson, G., 100 Books every Blues fan should own, in the University Library at LM 4.756 KOM

W.C Handy's Saint Louis Blues
by ├śklands Publications reproduced
under a Creative Commons licence
Time for a book on music, and a book by a Librarian, and a book about books. This donation fits all three criteria. The attraction of the blues to the white English middle class has been in question since the blues rediscoveries in the early 1960s. I was captured at about the age of five listening to my grandmother’s radiogram and hearing for the first time this extraordinary sound. I guess you either have it or you don’t.

Edward Komara is the splendidly-titled Crane Librarian of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, but was previously a blues archivist at the University of Mississippi. One can hardly imagine a more perfect role and location for a blues enthusiast.

We already have Komara’s encyclopedia in the Library, which provides a valuable reference resource for all aspects of this unique genre of American music. But the work I'm donating today conveniently brings together the most important writings on blues, with descriptions that are full enough to encapsulate the chosen works, and reveal the depth of Komara and Johnson’s knowledge of the field, as well as their technical appreciation of the genre. More a reference work than a narrative read, but I found it absorbing enough to read most of the entries straight off.

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