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Reuters calls it "one of the wittiest, bawdiest, most fascinating dictionaries ever." Bonnie Raitt adds: "What a great resource--as fascinating as it is informative. Debra's passion for the blues shines through." Wall Street Journal critic Nat Hentoff says it's "invaluable," and producer Hal Willner agrees: "It's an invaluable reference book. And it's also great fun to read." (More blurbs below!)
The Language of the Blues explores over 150 terms like buffet flat, killing floor, and mojo with fresh insights from Huffington Post blogger Debra Devi's interviews with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Henry Gray, Bob Margolin, Robben Ford, Jimmie Vaughan and more. "As a musician myself, not a scholar," Devi explains, "I thought I could best make a contribution by talking directly to blues artists about what the words in blues songs mean to them."
The result is a lively read Blues Revue deems "an essential purchase for scholars and fans." New York Times columnist Shelton Ivany adds, "If you have any questions about songs, lyrics, musicians or events, chances are you will find your answers in this unparalleled publication."
The Language of the Blues opens with a remarkable foreword by Dr. John, who helped Devi uncover the illegal gambling origins of terms like "gig" and "axe." The new eBook includes 40 stunning photos, and a download of Devi's powerful rock album, Get Free. First published by Billboard Books, The Language of the Blues won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award in 2008.
A gifted rock guitarist inspired by the blues, she's a Fender Girl Rock Nation artist who leads the band DEVI. Her debut album, Get Free, earns her comparisons to Hendrix, and singers Sheryl Crow and PJ Harvey. A former associate editor of Blues Revue, Devi has also written for The Village Voice, Rolling Stone.com, Vintage Guitar and Guitar.
"What a great resource...as fascinating as it is informative. Debra's passion for the blues shines through." Bonnie Raitt
"Every blues guitarist needs to know their blues history and where the blues are coming from. Debra's book will teach you what you really need to know." Joe Bonamassa
"This book is fascinating! Take it to the bathroom and don't come out until you're done reading it." Jimmy Vivino (Conan bandleader)
"This is a beautiful book. After hearing 'Hellhound on My Trail' in high school I bought every vintage blues record available at the time. Upon receiving The Language of the Blues I discovered my knowledge only scratched the surface. Debra Devi has written an invaluable reference book. And it's also great fun to read." Hal Willner (producer)
"Don't think that The Language of the Blues might read like a dictionary or reference book. There's no plot, but you can open it up at random and fall into the world of your favorite Blues songs, and find out more about the lyrics than you would be guessing from context. I learned a lot more about the Blues music I already loved." Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters Band)
"Congratulations to Debra Devi for The Language of the Blues. Its candor and witty honesty bring us into the world she describes so well with beautiful strength. This is a book that lovers of music and just plain old lovers will love to have in their collections." Ed Sanders (The Fugs, author of The Family)
"Finally one can understand the mechanics behind the overwhelming viscera of the Blues. Debra Devi's work is a true guide book to the soul." Al Jourgensen (Ministry)