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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 February 2014
Robert Crumb, an American artist best known for his uncompromising comics of the 1960s & '70s is also an avid collector of pre-Second World War music.
This wonderful book combines his two passions with over 100 brilliant illustrations of early blues, jazz & country artists along with brief biographies.
An accompanying 21-track CD of some of the featured artists makes this bargain book/CD an absolute must for Crumb admirers and lovers of blues, jazz or country music.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 August 2008
Knowing the prices that Robert Crumb's work commands (try getting hold of a copy of his illustrated CD "That's What I Call Sweet Music" and you'll see what I mean), when I first saw this advertised I thought that the price must have been entered incorrectly, but no! Just imagine, a 240 page hardback book, illustrated in colour on high quality paper, with an accompanying 21-track CD, for less than you'd expect to pay for either on its own. The book (and CD), falls into three distinct parts, and three different techniques have been used to produce the illustrations.

I'm familiar with the jazz figures, and my comments therefore concentrate on that aspect. The first is that some of these choices are extremely idiosyncratic. Many (Beiderbecke, Armstrong, Morton) are almost obligatory, but scattered amongst them are some quite obscure figures, such as Junie C. Cobb, Roy Palmer, and Ikey Robinson. Fair enough, these are after all Mr. Crumb's heroes, but the accompanying commentary is far too brief and could with advantage have been expanded to fill the space available. Finally, whilst many of the portraits (all of which are based on photographs) are instantly recognisable a few have the look of caricature about them. All of which is to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I would disregard all of those reservations and buy it anyway if I hadn't done so already.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 2 April 2009
If you are into old time blues, jazz, and country this book will prove to be a mine of information. With artwork by the brilliant R. Crumb taken from the trading cards he produced, an introduction by Terry Zwicoff and text by Stephen Calt (blues), David Jasen (jazz), and Richard Nevins (country) you have information about the group/musician on one page and a fantastic illustration on the facing page. Some of the musicians you will have heard of before while others are more obscure. This book is a true cornucopia of people who pioneered the blues, jazz and country music of America. Also included is a cd featuring 21 tracks:-

Blues
On the Road Again - Memphis Jug Band
Dark Night Blues - Blind Willie McTell
Minglewood Blues - Cannon's Jug Stompers
Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues - Skip James
I'm Gonna Cross the River of Jordan (Some O' These Days) - Jaybird Coleman
High Water Everywhere - Charley Batton
I Got Mine - Frank Stokes

Country
Sugar Baby - 'Dock' Boggs
Big Bend Gal - Shelor Family
The Peddlar and His Wife - Hayes Sheperd
Little Rabbit - Crockett's Kentucky Mountaineers
All Night Long Blues - Burnett & Rutherford
Mineola Rag - East Texas Serenaders
Greenback Dollar - Weems String Band

Jazz
Kater Street Rag - Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra
Sobbin' Blues - 'King' Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
Mojo Strut - Parham -Pickett Apollo Syncopators
Somebody Stole My Gal - Frankie Franko & His Louisianians
Wild Cat Blues - Clarence Williams' Blue Five
Kansas City Stomps - 'Jelly Roll' Morton's Red Hot Peppers
King Joe - Jimmy Noone

Don't expect crystal clear perfect recordings on these tracks as they were taken from original recordings between 1927 -1931, and appeared on the old 78rpm vinyls.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2008
This hard-back book collects together drawings Crumb published as three sets of 'trading cards' in the 1980's - Heroes of Blues, early Jazz and Country, together with a CD featuring some of the artists on the cards.

I was lucky enough to be given the Heroes of Blues cards at the time and I've always found them fascinating, both for the drawings and the biographical notes on the performers which appeared on the back. Crumb's love of the music is evident in the drawings, which although they are relatively simple, are none the less fully realised and perfectly capture the spirit of musicians illustrated. The Blues and Country sets are very similar in style but the Jazz set is a bit more sophisticated, possibly reflecting the greater sophistication of the music. I was particularly interested in the Country performers, many of whom I'd never heard of before, I guess this early country music was never as popular in Britain as Blues and Jazz.

As well as being given the cards, I have now also been given this book, which, although I probably wouldn't have bought myself, I'm very glad to have. You could argue that actual photographs would be more informative in conjunction with the biographical details - and it is obvious Crumb based his drawings on photographs - but I find the book works just fine as it is and the drawings are more charming than any photograph could be. I sometimes find Crumb's work to be a bit slick, but here I think his love of the subject gives the drawings a directness and a naivety that makes them totally engaging.
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on 27 November 2006
Robert Crumb is rightly regarded as the progenitor of "underground comix". His influence can be discerned in most of the so-called alternative comics on the market, and his artistic style and unique take on the absurdity of American life and life in general was and probably still is ground-breaking. Here, collected for the first time, are the widely sought-after trading cards, his heroes of blues, jazz and country music, which he illustrated and published in the 80s as a tribute, suitably idiosyncratic, of the music he has always loved. With thumbnail biographies of the featured artists and an amazing bonus CD of 21 tracks compiled by Crumb himself, this is another fine addition to his growing publishing credits, and a great gift for the music lover in your life.
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on 23 July 2009
this book is a great definative guide to early american blues,jazz and country music,if you are just beginning to listen to this kind of thing everything you need to know is here and the beautiful strange pictures by yours truly robert crumb only add to the experience ,this book and cd are an absolute joy!
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on 5 January 2011
R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country was given as a gift. The recipient was pleased with the reproduced trading cards and the music on the CD. Anyone who likes early jazz, blues and country music, especially some hard to find recordings, will be delighted with this book and CD.
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on 31 August 2012
This is fabulous. Not only is it fantastically illustrated by Robert Crumb, but it also includes a 21-track CD to boot. I have now bought about half a dozen copies of this book as birthday and Christmas presents and everyone has been delighted with it. Brilliant.
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on 5 October 2012
Got this as a present and the receiver loved it. Quite apart from R.Crumb superb style, the printing quality is excellent as is the free CD and best of all it comes at a bargain price !
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on 5 March 2008
First time I heard of Robert Crumb was through the sleeve art of the LP Cheap Thrills-which was the best part of the album as I'm no lover of Janis Joplin.
Here are over 100 illustrations which are as good as it gets for portraits of musicians.
Makes me wonder just why Picasso and Van Gogh are so rated-this is real art!
The enclosed CD has one extra track not credited and its the last one which is probably some Tin Pan Alley one of the day
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