I certainly didn’t – until I researched AMERICA’s Gift. What I found amazed me so much, I had to share it
If I had a buck for everyone who told me they’d like my two blues eBooks turned into a ‘proper printed book’, I’d have … well, about 70 bucks.
This wouldn’t make me rich, of course, but it did encourage me to combine, revise and extend my two eBooks into one big hard copy, and publish the result under a new title:
It’s called AMERICA’s Gift because that’s exactly what I feel blues is (together with rock & roll) – America’s gift to the world. And what a gift! I’m talking about the music, not the book.
390 pages, 11 inches deep, 8.5 inches wide, 1 inch thick with a 30 page index
AMERICA’s Gift turned out much BIGGER than expected – a sizeable 11 inches deep, 8.5 inches wide, and almost an inch thick. Because it’s so big, and features photographs, old ads and period illustrations, it turned out costing much more than I hoped or expected: US$19.99, £12.95 in the UK and 17.68 Euros in Europe. But what can you do? I wasn’t going to reduce the book’s content and waste all that research.
However, you do get to find out exactly how the blues evolved, especially before the 1890s – in language you can understand, rather than having to plough through hundreds of books and academic papers, excellent and fascinating in content as they were.
And I won’t mention the blues minutiae you would have to have navigated. (Oops, I just have.) And you do get one walloping BIG book that will keep you entertained for hours in bed or on the couch. Why not take a preview to see the sort of thing you’re getting.
Contrary to popular belief, Mamie Smith was NOT the first black singer to record blues
Dare I say that the book corrects some misconceptions about the blues that have been repeated, and re-repeated, so many times down the years, they’ve mistakenly become regarded as facts.
An example is the general assumption Mamie Smith was the first black singer to record a blues … in 1920. Mamie may have been the first African-American singer to record in the USA but Walter Kildare’s band, who recorded in London in 1917, beat Mamie to it by three years.
Thanks go to the Nashville blues rock band The Bloody Nerve’s Stacey Blood for encouraging me to publish the book in print form and for his great review which I’ve included on the back cover.
Stacey is also responsible for creating this website, which I also thank him for, such was his determination to get America’s blues history to more Americans (and everyone else of course).
Others posts on this site feature parts of the index for AMERICA’S Gift. This lets you to see who, and what, is in the book and to check out my invaluable sources. It also allows these sources to see how I’ve quoted them. Should you actually know any of these writers who have helped keep the blues alive down the years, please tell them they’re in my book. You never know, they might even buy a copy for themselves.
Should you fancy reading about how the blues evolved in handy electronic form, for your phone, ipad or kindle, here are the eBook links to How Blues Evolved Volumes One and Two.
Don’t forget your free previews while you’re there.
“Thank you. You’re the one good taste in music history”
Shelton James, @sheltonjames360 USA. 10 Dec 2015.
“Knew I had a lot to learn about blues history but didn’t realise how much until I picked up this book. Recommended.
Jim McSporran @JimBluesman25 Berkshire, England. 23 January 2016.