on 3 February 2006
An amazing reference book (over 700 pages) about the blues, including short, informative essays on the the differing categories, the personnel, the labels which promoted them, and even a beginner's guide to the history of the genre. Incisive, concise and highly interesting comment about the artists, their lives, styles, even deaths and much useful indications of their best work, with suggestions as to what material to start with for the newcomer to any particular artist's work. As a returner to blues music (I was a 60s child who dipped into the blues occasionally) I have found this book extremely useful in helping me make my decisions about what to buy of which artists. It is compulsive reading if selective.
Just as the Penguin guide is the definitive jazz guide this takes the lead in the blues corner. It is has a much broader range than the Penguin equivalent, and while it is probably more generous in most of its ratings than the former, it is much better if you have a wide taste , rather than a purist view of one or two specific styles. Obviously I have both(and many others) but this one comes off the shelf much more often, even though it is older. While its well overdue an updating it will never actually date as most of the content is by the long dead. Don't let that put you off. Although there is still great blues around you need to explore the back catalogue as much as the current one.
on 26 August 2010
I've been looking for a good guide to the original american blues for a while and this fits the bill.It lists many artists I'd not heard off. The album listings and reviews are very helpfull with so many recent re-releases. However, my edition is 2003, and it definately needs updating. The coverage is possibly too broad. Many bands start of by dabblng with the blues until they develop their own sound - I certainly would not have included Santana.At the same time DR Feelgood and Wilco Johnson are undeservedly not covered.Despite this,this is the best guide I have come across and will be of great assistance in selecting material to buy.
on 21 July 2011
Had this book for around seven years and still refer to it now. Biased towards artists from the USA and those who have had success across the pond, understandably. A little bit dated now with so much blues music being re-issued in the past decade, especially as copyright control over earlier stuff becomes null and void. However, still the best guide when looking for particular artists and genres.