Book Review: 100 Books every BLUES Fan Should Own


Book Review: 100 Books every BLUES Fan Should Own


I am doing a book review of what is a most interesting and informative book.  I am not going into commenting on the choices as that is what the book does.

First, the authors are Edward Komara and Greg Johnson.  The names may be familiar as both have been around the blues for some time and both have work with the Blues Archives at the University of Mississippi.

Now, how does one go about putting the 100 books into a list?  The authors explain their decision process and to me the straight forward manner in which this was presented sets a good tone for what follows.  They also mention some of the places they took suggestions from for the book.  Picking books is like choosing music all a matter of taste and it is good to know the basis of the choices they made.  That said, they did have some criteria they followed.  Readability played a big part in their selections.

Also the books picked are in English.  As the blues started with the English speaking as a base, other authors from other countries often learned the language and then wrote in English.

As you start the book, you realize that it is an easy read.  The style moves along smoothly.  When I can move easily through the text, it keeps me reading.  The topic’s interest and authors’ style makes the book hard to put down.  If you are looking for photographs or pictures, this is not the book for you.  Although I could take some liberty in writing and say they do present a fulfilling picture of the blues literature.

But you can stop easily and not get lost.  Each book they recommend is reviewed in 3 to 4 pages.  Quick, easy reads that allow you to spend as much time as you can afford with the book and return without missing a step.  Done in this style, you can go through the Table of Contents and pick out the books that interest you the most.

For me, I went to the Index and looked up authors I knew of and artists I liked.  That was the basis of my early read.  From there the process is a learning one.  And it is done easily.

An interesting fact is that many of the books selected were written after 1959.  Much was left to oral history in the earlier days.  The same can be said of film, forget DVDs before then.

It bears repeating that the writing style makes it easy to read and hard to put down.  And it will continue to be a valuable resource.

I guess you could say this is the one-hundred and first book every blues fan should own.





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BluesBeatNews is written, produced, directed and photographed by Domenic Forcella.

About bluesbeatnews52

Blues columnist writing a weekly column dedicated to the Blues. The only column of its kind in a commercial (paid subscription) newspaper. Column appears in the Middletown Press, Bristol Press, Torrington Register-Citizen, and the New Britain Herald. Forcella has served on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation representing the Journalism constituency. Served on the Board of Directors Connecticut Blues Society as Past President and Past Editor of newsletter. Recipient: Keeping the Blues Alive award in Journalism from the Blues Foundation. Has contributed both writing and photos to nationnal blues publications.

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