FILMOGRAPHY, AND WEBSITES
When I began to study the blues in the late sixties, I found few books on the subject. With the exception of Howard Odum and Guy Johnson’s The Negro and His Songs (1925) and Negro Workaday Songs (1926) and W. C. Handy’s A Treasury of the Blues (1949) and Father of the Blues (1941), the pioneering studies of the blues were published in the sixties in England by Paul Oliver, Mike Leadbitter, and Neil Slaven and in the United States by William “Big Bill” Broonzy, Samuel Charters, Charles Keil, Harry Oster, and Frederick Ramsey Jr. In 1970 my book Blues from the Delta appeared in a series of blues studies edited by Paul Oliver and Tony Russell and published in England by Studio Vista.
Since that time, the number of books published on the blues in the United States has grown dramatically. Blues scholar David Evans has edited over seventy-three volumes—many of which deal with the blues—in his American Made Music Series at the University Press of Mississippi. Today the rich array of books listed below treat topics as varied as fife and drum music, work songs, the blues and jazz, regional blues styles, blues artists, black radio, the blues as literature, and the blues, rock and roll, and soul.
The number of sound recordings has undergone a similar explosion since the sixties. At that time, the Library of Congress and labels like Arhoolie, Atlantic, Belzona, Delmark, Folkways, Origin Jazz Label, Takoma, Testament, and Yazoo provided the only access to traditional blues recordings. Today major anthologies of field recordings done in Mississippi by David Evans, Alan and John Lomax, and George Mitchell are available. There are also many fine commercial recordings by blues artists like Willie Dixon and B. B. King.
In the sixties, virtually no films were available on blues. Since that time, numerous films on the subject have been produced. These range from documentaries by Les Blank and Alan Lomax to commercial productions like Walter Hill’s Crossroads (1986) and Martin Scorsese’s blues series, The Blues: A Musical Journey (2003). Many of these films are available for viewing on the Folkstreams website.
Websites that feature the blues are a dramatic new resource for the music. With over 219 million hits on the internet for the word “blues,” there is virtually no limit to the information, musical recordings, and films that are now accessible. The websites listed below are important resources for the study of the blues and its artists, and they include the sites of archival collections at the Columbia College Center for Black Music Research, the Center for Southern Folklore, the Delta Blues Museum, the Library of Congress, Living Blues magazine, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Mississippi Blues Archive, and the University of North Carolina Documenting the American South project.
Suffice it to say, when the recordings, photographs, and films in this book were made, neither the speakers nor I could have imagined that so much attention would one day focus on their music and culture. What follows is a selection of the print sources, sound recordings, films, and internet resources that help frame this work.
Aaron Smithers provided invaluable assistance in compiling these resources.
Abbott, Lynn, and Doug Seroff. Out of Sight: The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889–1895. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002.
Buerkle, Jack V., and Danny Barker. Bourbon Street Black. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Hentoff, Nat. Jazz Country. New York: Dell, 1967.
Hodier, Andre. Jazz: Its Evolution and Its Essence. New York: Grove Press, 1956.
Jones, Le Roi. Black Music. New York: William Morrow, 1968.
———. Blues People. New York: William Morrow, 1963.
Lomax, Alan. Mister Jelly Roll. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1950.
Mezzrow, Mezz, and Bernard Wolfe. Really the Blues. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972.
Sargeant, Winthrop. Jazz, Hot and Hybrid. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975.
Schuller, Gunther. Early Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.