This is a great biographical guide to blues musicians and their careers, but it's time for an updated edition. The book contains 600+ entries with fairly detailed bio info in each, with musicians ranging from Bessie Smith to Robert Cray, and even including crossover groups like the Yardbirds. But the book predates the CD era somewhat, with the "essential listening" section for each musician lacking in CD listings. For some, this is a major omission (I'm thinking of the 1,000 or so Document CDs that could have been accessed with so many of the pre-war musicians).
Books like this often impel people to go through them to note who was left out as well as who made it in. Some of the earlier female blues singers who recorded many important sides in the 1920s seem under represented: Viola McCoy, Josie Miles, Monette Moore, and Merlene Johnson (The Yas Yas Girl) were all left out, though each recorded dozens of sides. Of course, artists who have come on the scene since 1993, when the book was published, are not included either (Keb Mo, Jerry Ricks, and Corey Harris to name just three come to mind). No book, obviously, that is documenting an on-going subject will ever be complete, but this one is valuable enough to warrant a revised edition. Hopefully one is in the planning stages. In the meantime, this is (along with Harris's BLUES WHO'S WHO, which also needs updating) an important reference book for lovers of the blues. A must-have book.