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When a Woman Gets the Blues: Surviving the Radical 60's in Greenwich Village Paperback – 14 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (14 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456520296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456520298
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 882,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By DaveB on 23 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
If you have any interest in acoustic blues at all, buy this book. On second thought, if you have a pulse at all when you hear the blues, buy this book, and read it. Rory still looks thirty-five years old, but she has been paying her dues for over forty years. She must have been playing slide since she was eight. She remembers everything, and she has met the blues greats who have been alive during that time. She has known John Hammond since the 60's, and is now married to her engineer, who she says is responsible for the magic of her sound. Well, he has obviously contributed, but the magic comes from her. Thankfully, she has a bunch of albums available, and on the latest one she is double/triple tracked on her acoustic guitar with an electric pickup. I could swear that some of the tracks sound like Dobro. But, back to the book. She writes like an angel. She is brutally honest, but, also, subtle, generous, all that good stuff. I guess what mainly comes across is her deep love of the blues, fidelity to the history and traditions. I would bet that Eric Clapton has read this book. What can I say?
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By scourge on 29 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rory Block has, as have most of us, had a less than easy life. That is not really the point when it comes to the music. She is one of the most talented entertainers, certainly in her chosen genre, I have had the pleasure to hear. Discovered by accident a couple of years ago, I could not believe that I had not heard of such a consummate exponent of the blues. I read a review by someone stating that Rory was a fake. She is not: I finally "got" the blues when someone loaned me his Son House LP. She is up there with the pantheon of great blues artistes.Great singer, brilliant guitarist.In my opinion, there is no greater blues player. Read of her life but, more importantly, listen to her recordings: the hairs on your neck will do somersaults. If they don't, please check with your doctor as you may be clinically dead. One final point, Rory Block is a great dog/ animal lover. That does it for me!
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You don't have to be a fan of Rory Block or a fan of country blues (although I am both) in order to enjoy this book. It is an inspiring tale of one woman's triumph over adversity while remaining true to herself and the music she loves. It can be purchased through Amazon.com (why not here?)where you can also read extracts from the book. Why Rory is not better known this side of the Atlantic is a mystery to me. She is the only person currently playing and recording in the true blues style of the old masters. Check out her website at Roryblock.com and listen to short clips of her music. You won't be dissappointed.
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By Rob on 12 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thoroughly enjoyable read, skipping from subject to subject, so you can pick it up easily enough. I would have preferred a bit more on the music side of things, but that's just my preference. I learned a lot about Rory and I'm a bigger fan as a result.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Awesome Blueswoman 23 Nov. 2011
By DaveB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have any interest in acoustic blues at all, buy this book. On second thought, if you have a pulse at all when you hear the blues, buy this book, and read it. Rory still looks thirty-five years old, but she has been paying her dues for over forty years. She must have been playing slide since she was eight. She remembers everything, and she has met the blues greats who have been alive during that time. She has known John Hammond since the 60's, and is now married to her engineer, who she says is responsible for the magic of her sound. Well, he has obviously contributed, but the magic comes from her. Thankfully, she has a bunch of albums available, and on the latest one she is double/triple tracked on her acoustic guitar with an electric pickup. I could swear that some of the tracks sound like Dobro. But, back to the book. She writes like an angel. She is brutally honest, but, also, subtle, generous, all that good stuff. I guess what mainly comes across is her deep love of the blues, fidelity to the history and traditions. I would bet that Eric Clapton has read this book. What can I say?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Share the pain, but share the joy too 13 Feb. 2012
By R. Sawyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is NOT an easy book to read. Rory Block has suffered pain that's hard to understand, but along the way her joy and triumph comes through. If she did not firmly believe -- as from her wonderfully inspiring "Hold On / Change is Coming" from her album "I'm Every Woman" -- that "God will make a way, out of no way," she would never had achieved all of the wonderful things that she's brought to us. If you don't already feel that way too, read this book. And then you will. Do you love folk music or the blues? Read this book. The wonderful stories will bring a smile to your face. Have you been hurt by parents, siblings, spouses, or friends? Read this book. And know that hurt doesn't change who you really are, or were meant to be. And if you're happy as can be, and the only thing you're really interested in is playing a slide on an old guitar, read this book, and count Rory Block as a friend.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Astonishing 22 Feb. 2014
By Scott Connors - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reading Rory Block’s autobiography “When A Woman Gets The Blues” I am inspired, touched and saddened by her story. Rory has always been a hero to me, someone whose talent I am in awe of when I see her in concert or hear her on a CD. She is the Delta Blues personified and anyone who has ever seen her perform can attest to this; it’s almost like she has been possessed by an old black bluesman from the ‘30’s. When I picked up the book I expected to read about the blues, the blues she plays, not the blues she experienced in real life. I was shocked when I read about her mother and father and the dysfunctional life in which she was raised. Suddenly I had a greater understanding of where that deep guttural voice came from when she sings, and who she is hitting while she pounds that Martin guitar, and who she is stomping on when her boot slams the floor. It is a life of her blues not merely a performance.
When one thinks of contemporary Delta Blues artists names like John Hammond, Keb’ Mo’, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton come to mind, all men all great guitar players. And then you hear Rory Block and she immediately moves to the front of the line. She has the raw emotion of Hammond, the technical flair of Mo’, the soul of Mahal, and the dedication of Clapton. She can sound like Robert Johnson or Son House. She has recorded an album of each of their material and sounds spot on. Even other female blues artists like Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi may come close but neither hit the raw intensity of Rory Block. Several years ago I saw her at the Iron Horse in Northampton Mass and she announced that her doctor had advised her to not stomp as much when she played as she was having problems with her knee. So she said she would be refraining from her normal foot stomping that night, however about three songs in she was in a different place and it was as if the whole room had been transported to a juke joint or house party somewhere deep in the Delta in the 30’s and her foot beat the stage like a giant bass drum.
We never want to envision our heroes as anything less than perfect. Of course reality is always harsher than our perception. Great artists are for the most part tortured souls. The chinks in their armor are battle scars that allow us a little glimpse of their history and what brought them to be the great artist they are. We don’t like to picture Clapton in the late 60’s in the throes of heroin addiction so bad he looked like a skeleton and wouldn’t leave his house until coaxed out by George Harrison for the Rainbow Concert. Block recounts with chilling honesty the horrors of her youth and growing up in a dysfunctional family offering neither excuses nor explanations for her parents’ behavior but merely accepting them for who they were. The book gives an insight into this incredible woman.
She is beautiful, soulful, talented, artistic, tortured and this book is very well written. In the end she is one woman with one voice and one guitar who embodies the blues.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not so good. 13 Jan. 2014
By Dr. Dean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was reluctant to write a review because I liked Ms. Block's music. Which is why I bought the book. I wanted to hear about how she learned guitar, met Son House, developed her blues style. Instead the book is an account of her life, with very little discussion of the music. Not that that's bad, of course. The bad part was that she came across (to me) as a pretty selfish person. She seems to move from situation to situation feeling left out and hurt. But the sad part is the situations aren't really so bad. She makes them bad, but she doesn't see that. Her parents sound like everybody else's parents. Caught up in work and life they may not love the children as much as the child feels she should be loved. But we don't all carry that around for the rest of our lives. When we become parents we see are own parents less critically. We understand the dilemma of working, parenting and still growing as a person. Well, most of us. Then, after telling us about not be loved nearly enough she is "suddenly" pregnant and puts the child up for adoption. Again, it's not her fault. She was only looking out for herself (hey, isn't that what selfish means?).

And so it goes on and on. When it's done to her then the other party was wrong. When she does it, well...that's different. As the book went along I actually felt mad at her. Her victim stance, her lack of responsibility for herself and her life. Sad.

I admit I now find her music less appealing, but maybe I'll work through that over time.
Excellent 13 May 2015
By Gerard Gessler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rory is the best at emulating Robert Johnson that I have heard...from her singing to her Super guitar playing...she's really good...thanks Rory
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