Monday, November 30, 2015
Jas Obrecht - Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar
Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar
The University of Minnesota Press
Former editor for "Guitar Player" magazine, Jas Obrecht has written for years on blues guitarists. "Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar" is his most recent volume surveying some important blues guitarists who first recorded the 1920s. Included are portraits of artists including Sylvester Weaver, Papa Charlie Jackson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt and Tampa Red. While the chapters vary in length (with the Lonnie Johnson chapter being the lengthiest), Obrecht write clearly and concisely to note each person's significance and if these portraits of the performers may originally have appeared in "Guitar Player"decades ago, Obrecht has rewritten and updated them to incorporate the latest information about such artists. For example the chapter on Blind Blake includes discussion of a recently discovered 78 of his as well as the fact he died in Milwaukee. Also, the chapters on McTell, Johnson and Hurt incorporate information from recently published biographies of these pioneering and influential artists. "Early Blues: The First Stars of Blues Guitar" is highly readable and recommended.
I purchased this book. This is one of a number of short reviews I have written for the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide edition of Jazz & Blues Report.