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Armed only with a tape recorder, Alan Lomax plunged deep into the "bad old days" of the pre-integration South to chronicle the people who lived the lusty, mournful songs they sang—the men and women who gave birth to the blues. The'roustabouts, who heard music in the lonesome steamboat whistle. The track callers, who beat time on railroad spikes. The church matrons, whose jubilations recall the passion and purity of African ritual.
Above all, Alan Lomax gives voice to the bards: the bluesmen who turned travail into art. Here we meet Muddy Waters, the father of the modern blues. Robert John-son, as legendary for his brilliant countermekidies as for his death. Fred McDowell and Son House, whotaught Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton how to play the blues. Set in an era as harsh and fertile as Delta silt, The Land Where the Blues Began reveals how the river of African-American culture overflowed its repressive banks—to give us R&B, soul, and rock 'n' roll, and the only purely American art form, the blues.
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