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This magnificent hardback book by Alex van der Tuuk, beautifully illustrated in colour, contains updated biographies for 58 of the most elusive artists on Paramount race records.
Blues fans and researchers will find much that is new, exciting and unexpected within its pages.
Fifty-eight biographies of Paramount blues artists with sensational new information based on years of research. Some of the artists covered by the New Paramount Book of Blues recorded prolifically during the 1920s and 1930s; others cut less than a handful of songs. Some of them recorded exclusively for Paramount; others also made records for other companies. Most of them have received less attention than the likes of Charlie Patton, Skip James and Tommy Johnson (all Paramount recording artists) or Bukka White, John Hurt and Robert Wilkins, who recorded elsewhere.
In the “rediscovery” days of the 1960s and later, some Paramount artists were not considered interesting enough to bother with; others, like Freddie Spruell, seemed to have vanished from the earth. Ike Rodgers and Bessie Mae Smith died too soon to encounter researchers; Joel Taggart, Will Ezell, Charlie McFadden, Elzadie Robinson and others were still around, but received no attention until long after their deaths. We still do not know for certain when and where Charlie Spand and Willard “Ramblin’” Thomas died.
New information is presented on all these artists, and on others, including Willie Brown, Piano Kid Edwards, Walter Hawkins, Bo Weavil Jackson and Blind Joe Reynolds. There are a few previously published biographies included, like those of Joel Taggart and the Graves Brothers, but most are being seen here for the first time.
Inevitably, first-hand information about Paramount blues artists and their lives has almost dried up with the passage of time, but the internet has made it possible to fill in many blanks, and sometimes to a surprising extent. Blues fans and researchers will find much that is new, exciting and unexpected in the New Paramount Book of Blues.
Format: Lavishly illustrated full color hardback
Publication Date: March 2017
Publisher: Agram Blues Books
ISBN: 9 789082 657005