I delayed buying this as it sounded like one of those spin off publications released to screw a few more quid out of those who'd bought the movies. It isn't. Instead its a collection of extracts and articles about a a wide variety of blues artists and blues history. Many of the former are taken from previous books and magazines but there is also
much new material. Usefully, for those of us with more blues books than we can remember, old and new are clearly identified in the text. The former entries, marked from the archives, feature many of the classic authors, Guralnick,
Oliver, Booth, Gordon etc. and should encourage newcomers to seek them out, and the rest of us to take them off the shelf. There is plenty to enjoy in the new contributions too.
While the book takes its structure from the movies the only references to them comes at the start of each chapter with a short, and usually informative, contribution from the director. Wenders is disarmingly honest and made me a bit more sympathetic to his film, Charles Burnett confirms my poor impression of his. (Since I read the book in parallel with re-watching the movies I've reviewed these separately under their own titles for those interested.)
Each subsequent chapter then groups relevant items around the subject matter, e.g. Delta, Chicago, piano players etc.
This is both entertaining and consistently informative, I wish the movies were all as good. There is a brief half hearted attempt at recommending cds at the end of each chapter which is idiosyncratic and at times downright misleading, however as an intelligent introduction to blues literature the book comes highly recommended.