I wonder if this person even read the same book that I am reading. Some people won't like this book simply because it does not always take a traditionalist view of things. It is much broader and more open minded and tends to look at the blues from a broader region (IOW, there are blues outside of the Delta region) in order to gain a better understanding of it, it's performers, and theories as to it's origins. It challenges common accepted notions, and encourages the reader to challenge them as well. Sure the author injects his own opinions and experiences from time to time, but not only does he back them up, he does not try to pass them off as concrete fact, and you are fully aware that these are his thoughts on a particular matter.
Now as far as some of the listed "inaccuracies" in the book... Tony states:
"he stupidly tries to talk about Bluegrass existing in the 1920s or about the Carter family." Well, what Francis Davis ACTUALLY says is the following:
"the repertoire of the typical black country songster of the 1920's was more or less identical to that of the white rural performers of the same period. [snip a sentence abt Miss. John Hurt] The typical black songster was probably someone like Leslie Riddle, a singer and guitarist from North Carolina who didn't record until the blues revival of the 1960s, and who might be completely forgotten now if not for his early relationship with A.P. Carter, the patriarch of the Carter Family, the legendary white country harmony group...."
The fact is that Leslie Riddle DID meet A.P. Carter in 1928. The two went on trips throughout the south "collecting songs" with A.P. Carter writing down the words to the songs they liked, and Riddle remembering the Music. (google for it)
Tony says that a history would include when the blues began, how it related to other forms of music and discuss different types of regional music. Tony then says "such a discussion would be far beyond Davis's knowledge or concern". In fact, Francis Davis *DOES* discuss these things. Perhaps Tony needs to re-read Chapter *1*! Francis discusses popular beliefs of the origins of the blues including African music, field hollers, and even celtic-derived folk music. He discusses the call and response of African music that is common in the blues, and then talks about how it is not unique to blues, but is also in folk, and gospel music of the time, and even quotes Robert Palmer to back himself up. He talks about the fact that blues did not just begin one day. It evolved over a longer period of time, and from a myriad of influences. The blues did not begin on whatever specific date in 1895 with the first recording, or in 1920 w/ Smith's "Crazy Blues". That's just when we got the first recorded evidence. It developed over decades before. He discusses regional variations. It's one of the rare books that covers the likes of Blind Willie McTell and Barbeque Bob Hicks as well as the Delta blues musicians, and Texas blues musicians, among others.
Re: Minstrelry vs Minstrelsy - well that would typically be the fault of the editor for not catching it, and is a common misspelling, but lets use that as ammo to discredit the author, shall we?
This book does assume that you know at least a little bit about the differetn blues musicians in question. It at least assumes that you recognize their names and have a pretty good idea of the region that they came from. This book is not a bunch of mini biographies for all of the bigger names in blues. If you want that, you need to look elsewhere. If you want something different, something that challenges common notions, and provides a nice overall "survey" of the blues, how it began, and evolved, then this is definitely a book to add to your collection