Superbly researched and vividly written, The Devil's Music is one of the only books to trace the rise and development of the blues both in relation to other forms of black music and in the context of American social history as experienced by African Americans. From its roots in the turn-of-the-century honky-tonks of New Orleans and the barrelhouses and plantations of the Mississippi Delta to modern legends such as John Lee Hooker and B. B. King, the blues comes alive here through accounts by the blues musicians themselves and those who knew them. Throughout this wide-ranging and fascinating book, Giles Oakley describes the texture of the life that made the blues possible, and the changing attitudes toward the music. The Devil's Music is a wholehearted and loving examination of one of America's most powerful traditions.
In 1976, Giles Oakley helped produce the acclaimed five-part BBC documentary The Devil's Music, which resulted in this book. He has since coproduced numerous prime-time programs and series for BBC-TV and has contributed to many books and journals.
Part One * Slavery * Nigger Minstrels and Coon Songs * From Emancipation to Segregation * From Minstrels to Ragtime * Early New Orleans Jazz and Blues * Work and Song * W.C. Handy Part Two * Charley Patton * Henry Thomas Ragtime Texas * Lead Belly * The Barrelhouse Circuit and the Piney Woods * Migration Part Three * Crazy Blues * Showbiz Blues I: The Tent Shows * Ma Rainey * Showbiz Blues II: The Theatres * Bessie Smith * Womens Blues Part Four * The Men Start Recording * Field Recordings * Atlanta * Memphis Part Five * The Depression * City Blues * Blues in St. Louis * Blues in Chicago * The Rural South * Blues in the South Part Six * Post-war Blues * The End of an Era * Say it Loud Part Seven * Dealing with the DevilInto the Nineties * Blues as Heritage * Blues Down HomeThe New South * The Malaco Story * New SouthNew Blues * Gonna Be Some Changes Made * Chicago Blues Today * The Strong Persuaders