Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country” as Want to Read:
Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  682 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Anyone who knows R. Crumb's work as an illustrator knows of his passion for music. And all those who collect his work prize the "Heroes of the Blues, Early Jazz Greats," and "Pioneers of Country Music" trading card sets he created in the early to- mid-1980s. Now they are packaged together for the first time in book form, along with an exclusive 21-track CD of music ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (first published November 1st 1997)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  682 ratings  ·  43 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country
Michael Finocchiaro
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, musician-bio
Robert Crumb was a collector of 78s from his earliest childhood. If you haven't watched it, the biopsy treatment of Crumb in the movie of 1994 by Terry Zwigoff is an excellent place to start and learn more about this scandalous and yet ingenious comic book artist. In Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country (for which there is a CD included), he takes a page to describe many artists you may never have heard of but each of which had an incredible influence on American music in the 20th and now 21st ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Fantastic book that looks at the forgotten pioneers that paved the road of popular music.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When you consider that this book is accompanied by a great CD album of great early jazz, blues, and country greats, it's a terrific deal. The book itself consists of a series of annotated trading cards designed by cartoonist R. Crumb for Yazoo Records releases some thirty years ago. Crumb's art is, as usual, wonderful; and the short descriptions remind us about how much great old music from the 1920s and 1930s is forgotten today.
Michael Martin
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible illustrations, with great accompanying text which will introduce you to forgotten heroes of blues, jazz, and country music. Try to find a copy with the accompanying 21-track cd included...sadly, mine was missing it. I still loved the book.
Richard Dees
Aug 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
skip james "hard time killing floor blues" is on the cd that comes with the book and instantly became one of my favorite blues songs
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I always feel guilty when I shelve a book that’s half pictures as “read.” Anyway, this volume was based on three trading card sets Crumb illustrated of early blues, jazz, and country performers. There is a short essay for each illustration which is always insightful. There are some notable omissions (no Robert Johnson?) which makes the collection somewhat idiosyncratic instead of encyclopedic. Still, the illustrations are great and the whole thing makes you want to seek out these early ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three sets of cards: Heroes of the Blues, Early Jazz Greats, and Pioneers of Country Music first published in the 1980s by Yazoo Records/Shanachie Entertainment are reproduced in this compilation. The Blues and Country sets were drawn in Crumb’s distinctive style and then colored. The Jazz set was painted by him. The portraits taken from existing photographs represent the musical passions of Crumb. The accompanying notes by Calt, Jasen and Nevins give brief information about the musicians, their ...more
Jerry Oliver
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing

This was a very cool little book. This book brings together all of R. Crumb's illustrations he did for three early 1980's sets of trading cards featuring the Heroes Of The Blues, Early Jazz Greats and Pioneers Of Country Music. These excellent illustrations are accompanied by short bios of these intriguing musician and groups from first days early recorded American music. This is a fun collection for enthusiasts or a great introduction to artists like Son House, The Carter Family, Jimmie
East Bay J
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-bios
This beautifully put together book is really and truly outstanding. The combination of Robert Crumb's art with single page bios of various old time blues, jazz and country stars is a major success. If you want to learn a little about a whole lot of singers and musicians from the 20's and 30's, this is your source. Even better, the included CD contains 21 awesome songs from the catalog of Yazoo Records, recorded between 1927 and 1931. Listen while you learn! R. Crumb's Heroes Of Blues, Jazz & ...more
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: old music fans / cartoon fans
a splendid collection of Crumb's trading card sets, in easily-accessible "book" format, with a cracking CD of scratchy gems, like the Weems String Band, who all look like each other's cousins.

his craft - drawing old photos in his own cartoon style - gives these old time musicians the slightly weird depth that suits them.

if you don't like Crumb's world, you won't like this - but if you don't know him, it's a pretty good place to start
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A Christmas gift from my sister, this is an exceptional collection of single-panel renditions of unheralded musical legends by the brilliant (if eccentric) R. Crumb. The collection was originally intended to be published as a set of trading cards--which tells you something of the book's format: the artist appears on one page, and a short paragraph about his or her life appears opposite.

It's a lovely book.
Thom Beckett
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic, non-fiction
A great introduction to old blues, country and jazz records which even includes a CD to get you started. Some of the music is captivating, other more a little strange to modern ears. Crumb's illustrations are, of course, fantastic, but some of the anecdotes about the various bands are just as great. Altogether it's a great book - wonderful to flick through listening to the CD.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
I've never been very attracted to Crumb's work although I understand his importance in the history of graphic novels & comics.

This book however was the perfect combination of art, music, and history. I was unaware of these card he originally created, but found the book interesting and it introduced me both in music and text to a variety of musicians.
Jeff Song
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music-art
Crumb put together a great collection of music on the CD that accompanies this book of his portraits of his Heroes of Blues, Jazz, & Country.
I think he is one of the masters of pen and ink portraiture.
Jim Wilson
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
R. Crumb drawings of mostly forgotten early blues, jazz and country musicians with brief biographical notes. Typical R. Crumb drawings. There is a music CD included. Nice book for those interested in early music.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice informative book, with Crumb's excellent drawings from photographs, of 1920s-30s blues, early jazz & country artists.

Good musical breakdown with references to each individual or group's recordings.
Nick Bennett
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great stuff, the country section was particularly interesting.
Kim Zinkowski
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good stories...good music.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, music, art
I didn't buy the cards when they were issued, so finding this book collection of them was a nice surprise. The book consists primarily (of course) of the images, as the text that will fit on the back of a trading card is minimal--though the country set has consistently pretty long textual sections that I have a hard time imagining fit easily onto the backs of the cards. Anyway, Crumb's art is as always a pleasure to look at, though I was less enamoured of the jazz set than the blues and country ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You take a provocative artist like Robert Crumb and pair him with a controversial topic like early Blues and you get a masterpiece. This is just small bios of famous artists, which is similar to his "Little Blues Book" - key difference though is LBB offers even more depth on the Blues history and certain artists/lyrics which is really enjoyable - but unlike that book which is in B&W, this is in lovingly created color!!. Read them both together if you love the blues - the lyric component of ...more
12th printing!

It's absolutely RUDE that there is no informative introduction or glossary to explain the endlessly niche terminology of the music AND the era! Over 50% of the non-geographical information meant nothing to me.

Still being alive after 53 years was far beyond "middle-aged" in 1928!

The dominant country music half of this book
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Crumb is extrodinary artist, and although I don't personally like the style this book is drawn, I liked the theme of the book very much. It's cery interesting and gives insight in early stages of blues, jazz and rock music.
Paul Secor
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Used to have the trading cards. Actually never bothered with the book. Seemed to me like Crumb just copied old photographs and didn't put much of himself into the drawings, so they didn't interest me.
I seem to be in a minority here with my rating, but that's ok.
Lee Klein
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A pretty fine little Xmas present. Like baseball cards that come with ideas about music to download instead of stale chewing gum.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, read it while listening to the CD, learned so much from it.
Strongly recommend for blues and jazz fans
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, comics
A fun, beautifully drawn and surprisingly brilliant guide to blues, jazz and country by the always remarkable Crumb.
Tyler McGaughey
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Crumb's illustrations are great, the band and artist synopses that they accompany are surprisingly informative for their length, and the attached bonus CD is killer.
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fantastic little book. As wonderful as the trading cards are, though, the music itself is the real draw - listen to the CD, make yourself a radio station online, enjoy.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
The music compilation is excellent. So is the rendering of the Carter Family. I'm very glad this is a part of my library now.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2)
  • The Clash
  • Prelude
  • Orient Express
  • Dreams from Bunker Hill (The Saga of Arturo Bandini, #4)
  • Paingod and Other Delusions
  • Juergen Teller
  • Terror by Night: Classic Ghost & Horror Stories
  • Making Love
  • Citizen In Space
  • Need More Love
  • Art Sex Music
  • الشحاذ
  • The Passion According to G.H.
  • قلب الليل
  • شقيقة النعمان
  • حكاية رجل عجوز كلما حلم بمدينة.. مات فيها
  • السعادة
See similar books…
Robert Dennis Crumb (born August 30, 1943)— is an American artist, illustrator, and musician recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive view of the American mainstream.

Crumb was a founder of the underground comix movement and is regarded as its most prominent figure. Though one of the most celebrated of comic book artists, Crumb's entire career has