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Nighthawk Blues [Paperback]

Peter Guralnick
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: £13.95
Price: £8.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316735728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316735728
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,403,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
JERRY was in the middle of an uncharacteristic sequence of conference calls-shifting phones from ear to ear, trying to act casual, as if it were really he who was negotiating another bigtime deal instead of that improbable impostor who had taken over his true klutzy self-when his secretary, a high-school dropout in blue jeans and pigtails, sailed in oblivious and tapped him on the shoulder. Read the first page
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discover the Screamin' Nighthawk 16 May 2009
By G. E. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I've read and really enjoyed most of Guralnick's non-fiction books "Feels like going home", "Lost Highway" "Sweet Soul Music" and the Elvis and Sam Cooke biographies but there are some truly dreadful music novels and therefore I approached this book with caution. However, I needn't have worried, Peter's knowledge and love of the blues shines though on every page.

The book tells the story (often in flashback) of the Mississippi blues singer Theodore Roosevelt Jefferson, "the Screamin' Nighthawk". We learn of his early years, his blues apprenticeship to Ol' Man Mose, his first recordings and his rediscovery in the early 60's by blues enthusiast Jerry Lipschitz, who then became his manager. 'Hawk' emerges from the pages as a difficult, stubborn character and is probably a composite of the many blues singers that Guralnick has interviewed over the years. I'm also sure that many of the domestic details that form the backdrop to the singer's life are also based on real-life episodes Guralnick has witnessed and give the book an authentic flavour. An interesting, enjoyable and well-written novel for anyone, particularly blues lovers.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book if you can find it 21 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book at a used bookstore in Chicago after I had read the first part of Guralnick's Elvis biography, and after I learned he had written extensively about the blues.
This is one of Guralnick's forays into fiction, but the tale doesn't go too far from his nonfiction roots. In this book, a young white man from the Northeast (Guralnick, perhaps?) finds a stunning old bluesman in Mississippi and tries to make a national blues star out of him, kind of like when old bluesmen were "rediscovered" after the Rolling Stones and other white bands paid homage to them in the 1960s.
Of course, things do not go smoothly. The old bluesman is not in great health and does not have the mindset to bus from town to town playing one-nighters. Through the portrayal of the bluesman's home and other anecdotes -- like how his band's piano player disappears from a gig in Indianapolis, only to be found playing at a neighborhood dive -- the book seems to say that you can put someone on stage and call it the blues, but you can't really remove the blues from its environment. I get the feeling that Guralnick is channeling himself through the white promoter character, saying that the frustration with appreciating such great music is that you can't do it unless you come to it, not let it come to you.
The book is not so good that you should go to the ends of the Earth to find it, but if you liked Guralnick's nonfiction writing, Nighthawk Blues is worth picking up if you happen to see it.
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