This text provides an account of the making of America's fundamental music and the men and women who created it on riverboats, in whorehouses, at country dances, and in medicine shows. With guitars and the melancholic power of their voices these musicians developed a form of music, explaining its origins and evolution, the conflicts among blues scholars, and the hardship and danger that marked the lives of professional bluesman. Based on original interviews, it includes profiles of people like Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, Skip James, Bessie Smith, Son House, Muddy Waters and B.B. King.
Bruce Alexander Cook was an American journalist and author who also wrote under the pseudonym Bruce Alexander. He wrote historical fiction and nonfiction.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Cook's first book was a nonfiction work, The Beat Generation, published in 1971. His first novel was Chicago-based Sex Life, in 1978.
He wrote four novels featuring Los Angeles detective Antonio "Chico" Cervantes under the name Bruce Cook and also a series of novels about the blind magistrate Sir John Fielding, the real-life founder of London's first police force, under the name Bruce Alexander, the last of which was published posthumously by his widow and writer John Shannon. Young Will: The Confessions of William Shakespeare was also published posthumously.
I give the author 5 stars for effort. He didn't just sit back listen to some early records, tapes and disks of the more prominent pioneers of blues, he tracked them down and interviewed them, read reviews and biographies and asked other bluesmen and women about them. Not only that he wrote about the foundation of blues and the influences of jazz, gospel, soul, country, western, bluegrass and rock. It is at once a concise, thorough and enjoyable read with a bonus of suggestions here and there for specific albums and cuts. Plus you'll find a discussion of white vs. black blues and the well known secret of how many of those musicians were ripped off by recording companies and copywrite tricks. I'm putting this on the shelf next to my copy of All Music Guide to the Blues. Good Job.