Journalist Hugh Merrill takes us on a sweeping road trip in search of the distinctly American music known as the blues. Tracing blues culture from its beginning in rural Mississippi up through the Delta to Chicago and beyond, Merrill visits with legendary musicians such as Son Thomas, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Valerie Wellington and Magic Slim. In fascinating interviews, Merrill uncovers wonderful stories about Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Ma Rainey. The trip dips into New Orleans as Merrill explores how the blues exploded in clubs and cribs, influencing dixieland, jazz and zydeco. A trip out west presents a lovely tour of the cocktail lounges of Oakland and Los Angeles and the guardians of the blues who live there. The Blues Route is an engrossing narrative, a book that celebrates not only the music but the continuing search for sympathy, understanding and affinity that the blues embodies.
The Blues Route (ebook) by Hugh Merrill