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If you:
Wanna know more about the blues or specific blues artists
AND/OR are
Overwhelmed by the sheer mass of books out there
AND/OR
Don't know just what book(s) to read or buy
AND/OR
Don't have a Billy Gates budget available
AND/OR
Want to minimize overlap on your Essential Blues Books
THEN
this page might very well end your misery!

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Essential Blues Books...
This page is an attempt to present "the-must-have" selection of up to 5 books and for some topics up to 10 books for a certain blues related topic. The central question to be answered for each topic is: "If I wanted the top-5(10) books on blues-topic, which are the books to read or to have?". A blues-topic could be for example: "The Blues", "Pre-war Country Blues" or an artist like "John Lee Hooker".

August 17 2000, current number of unique books on the shelf: 70
(suggest a book!)

Sources
My sources for this page for starters are primarily my own still very small Essential Blues Books, local libraries, blues related internet websites and - I hope - you, the visitors of this website. So if you have read or know off "the best" books on certain blues topics, please let me know!.

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Available topics so far:

General topics

The Blues

Chicago Blues

Delta Blues

.

Folk Blues

Country Blues

.

Artists

* = additions of March 2000

* Blake, Arthur "Blind"
Broonzy, Big Bill
Clapton, Eric
Dixon, Willie
Guy, Buddy
Handy, W.C.
Holiday, Billie
* Hooker, John Lee
* Hopkins, Lightnin'

James, Etta
James, Skip
Johnson, Robert
King, B.B.
Lipscomb, Mance
Ma Rainey
Mayall, John
Memphis Minnie

Muddy Waters
Patton, Charley
Smith, Bessie
Vaughan, Stevie Ray

Multiple Artists

Blues Women of the 20's

.

.

People

.

.

.

Who is Who's, Guides & Encyclopedia's

Who is Who

Guide

Encyclopedia

Blues Instruments

Blues Guitar

Blues Harp

Blues Piano

.

Misc. Instruments

.

.

Slang/language & Meaning in the Blues

African-American slang

Meaning in the Blues

.

Places

Beale Street

Maxwell Street

.

Album Reviews & Collections

Reviews

Collections

.

Lyrics Collections

.

.

.


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General Topics

The Blues

Title

Author(s)

Conversation With the Blues

Paul Oliver

Deep Blues

Robert Palmer

The Land Where the Blues Began

Alan Lomax

Nothing but the Blues: The Music and the Musicians

Lawrence Cohn (Editor), Mary Katherine Aldin, Bruce Bastin

The Story of the Blues

Paul Oliver

New! (March) Blues for Dummies

Lonnie Brooks, Cub Koda, Wayne Baker Brooks, Dan Aykroyd

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Delta Blues

Title

Author

Deep Blues, A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta

Robert Palmer

Blues from the Delta

William R. Ferris

The Land Where the Blues Began

Alan Lomax

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Chicago Blues

Title

Author

Chicago Blues: The City and the Music

Mike Rowe

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Folk Blues

Title

Author

Big Road Blues, Tradition & Creativity in the Folk Blues

David Evans

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Country Blues

Title

Author

The Country Blues

Samual B. Charters

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Artists

New! (March) Blake, Arthur "Blind"

Title

Author

Blind Blake

Aaron Stang

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Broonzy, Big Bill

Title

Author

Big Bill Blues: William Broonzy's Story

William Broonzy/Paul Oliver

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Clapton, Eric

Title

Author

Eric Clapton: A Life in the Blues

Unknown

Eric Clapton: Lost in the Blues

Harry Shapiro

Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton

Michael Schumacher

Clapton!: An Authorized Biography

Ray Coleman

Eric Clapton: In His Own Words

Eric Clapton/Marc Roberty


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Dixon, Willie

Title

Author

I Am the Blues : The Willie Dixon Story

Willie Dixon, Den, Elizabeth and Don Snowden

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Guy, Buddy

Title

Author

Damn Right I've Got the Blues: Buddy Guy and the Blues Roots of Rock-And-Roll

Donald E. Wilcock

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Handy, W.C.

Title

Author

Father of the Blues: An Autobiography

Arna Bontemps, W.C. Handy

Blues: An Anthology: Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs

W.C. Handy

.

.

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.

.

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Holiday, Billie

Title

Author

Lady Sings the Blues

William Dufty, Billie Holiday

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday

Angela Yvonne Davis

Wishing on the Moon : The Life and Times of Billie Holiday

Donald Clarke

Billie Holiday Companion : Seven Decades of Commentary (Companion Series)

Leslie Course

Billie's Blues : The Billie Holiday Story, 1933-1959

John Chilton, Buck Clayton


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New! (March) Hooker, john Lee

Title

Author

Boogie Man - The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century

Charles Shaar Murray

John Lee Hooker- A Blues Legend : With Notes & Tablature

Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation

John Lee Hooker Vintage Blues

John Lee Hooker

Mad Man Blues-John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker

.

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New! (March) Hopkins, Lightnin'

Title

Author

Lightnin' Hopkins: The Ultimate Texas Bluesman

Lightnin' Hopkins

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James, Etta

Title

Author

Rage to Survive: The Etta James Story

Etta James, David Ritz

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..

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James, Skip

Title

Author

I’d Rather Be The Devil: Skip James and the Blues

Stephen Calt

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Johnson, Robert

Title

Author

Love in Vain : A Vision of Robert Johnson

Alan Greenberg

Searching for Robert Johnson

Peter Guralnick

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King, B.B.

Title

Author

Blues All Around Me : The Autobiography of B.B. King

B. B. King/David Ritz

The B.B. King Companion: Five Decades of Commentary

Richard Kostelanetz

The Arival of B.B. King

Charles Sawyer

B.B. King: King of the Blues

Columbia Pictures Pubs.

Blues Boy: The Life and Music of B.B. King

Sebastian Danchin

Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B.B. King

David Shirley


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Lipscomb, Mance

Title

Author

I Say Me for a Parable : The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, Texas Bluesman

Glen Alyn (Compiler), Taj Mahal, Mance Lipscomb

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Ma Rainey

Title

Author

Mother of the Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey

Sandra R. Lieb

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday

Angela Yvonne Davis

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Mayall, John

Title

Author

John Mayall: Blues Breaker

Richard Newman

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Memphis Minnie

Title

Author

Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues

Paul Garon, Beth Garon

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Muddy Waters

Title

Author

Muddy Waters: The Mojo Man

Sandra B. Tooze

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Patton, Charley

Title

Author

King of the Delta Blues, The Life and Music of Charlie Patton

Stephen Calt and Gayle Wardlow

Charley Patton

Fahey

The Voice of the Delta: Charley Patton and the Mississippi blues traditions, influences, and comparisons : an international symposium

Unknown

.

.

.

.


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Smith, Bessie

Title

Author

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday

Angela Yvonne Davis

Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues

Chris Albertson/Gunther Schuller

Somebody's Angel Child : The Story of Bessie Smith

Carman Moore

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T-Bone Walker

Title

Author

Stormy Monday: the T-Bone Walker Story

Helen & Stanley Dance

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Vaughan, Stevie Ray

Title

Author

Stevie Ray: Soul to Soul

Keri Leigh

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire

Joe Nick Patoski, Crawford Bill, Bill

Guitar World Presents Stevie Ray Vaughan: Stevie Ray - In His Own Words

Jeff Kitts, Brad Tolinski, Garold Steinblatt

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Multiple Artists

Blues Women Of The 20's

Title

Author

Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920's

Daphne Duval Harrison

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday

Angela Yvonne Davis

New! (March) Blueswomen : Profiles of 37 Early Performers, with an Anthology of Lyrics, 1920-1945

Anna Stong Bourgeois

.

.

.

.


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People

People

Title

Author

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Who's is Who's, Guides & Encyclopedia's

Who's is Who

Title

Author

Blues Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary of Blues Singers

Sheldon Harris

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Guides

Title

Author

The New Blackwell Guide to Recorded Blues

Paul Oliver

All Music Guide to the Blues: The Experts' Guide to the Best Blues Recordings

Michael Erlewine (Editor), Vladimir Bogdanov (Editor), Chris Woodstar

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Encyclopedia

Title

Author

Encyclopedia of the Blues

Gerard Herzhaft, Paul Harris, Jerry Haussler, Anton J. Mikofsky

The Big Book of Blues: A Biographical Encyclopedia

Robert Santelli

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Blues Instruments

Blues Guitar

Title

Author

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Blues Harp

Title

Author

Beginning Blues Harp (with CD-ROM)

Don Baker

Blues Harp Songbook

Tony Grover

Bending the Blues

David Harp

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Blues Piano

Title

Author

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Miscellaneous Instruments

Title

Author

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Slang/Language & Meaning In The Blues


Slang/Language

Title

Author

Juba To Jive: A Dictionary Of African-American Slang

Clarence Major

Jazz Talk

Robert Gold

.

.

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.

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Meaning In The Blues

Title

Author

Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues

Paul Oliver

Conversation With the Blues

Paul Oliver

.

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Places

Beale Street

Title

Author

Beale Street: Crossroads of America's Music

William S. Worley, Ernest Withers

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Maxwell Street

Title

Author

New! Maxwell Street, Survival in a Bazaar

Ira Berkow

New! The Maxwell Street Blues

Michael Raleigh

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Album Reviews & Collections

Album Reviews

Title

Author

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Album Collections

Title

Author

The Best of the Blues: The 101 Essential Blues Albums

Robert Santinelli

The Blues CD Listener's Guide: The Best on CD

Howard Blumenthal

Musichound Blues: The Essential Album Guide

Gary Graff, Leland Rucker

.

.

.

.


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Lyrics Collections

Lyrics Collections

Title

Author

Blues: An Anthology: CompleteWords And Music of 53 Great Songs

W.C. Handy

New! (March) The Blues Line: A Collection of Blues Lyrics

Eric Sackheim

New! (March) Downhome Blues Lyrics: An Anthology from the Post-World War II Era

Jeff Todd Titon

New! (March) The Country Blues

Samual B. Charters

New! (March) Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues

Paul Oliver

New! (March) Blueswomen : Profiles of 37 Early Performers, with an Anthology of Lyrics, 1920-1945

Anna Stong Bourgeois



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Site created by:
Bluesman Harry
Page last updated on:
August 18 2000


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