Joshlynn's Reviews > Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country

Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country by Robert Crumb
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's review
Dec 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: comics-and-comix, favorites
Read from May 28 to 29, 2012

I fell in love with R. Crumb around the same time I got interested in blues music, and I found out about his love for blues when I stumbled upon a Son House greatest hits with Crumb's portrait of House on the cover. It's a perfect drawing; the tilt of the head, the gauche coloration vs. the black and white of the original photo, and the wrinkles - oh, the wrinkles! R. Crumb made the music make sense. Were it not for that particular rendering of Son House, blues may have remained a historical oddity to me rather than a vital, blood-and-bones experience. In this collection, I think Son House is the only musician who was actually caught performing in the shot, while the rest of them are posing for the camera. The fact that Crumb can capture the humanity in an artificially-smiling face is mind-blowing. Crumb looks at an old faded photo of the Weems String Band and gives it life. Suddenly these aren't just bodies that recorded some music and then vanished. Crumb has found the people hidden in the tape hiss, and he draws (or in the case of the jazz set, paints) each face, each body, as if he knew them personally.
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