Why America’s Gift?

 A ripping tale, helpful reference book and, at five cents a page, blue chip investment.

America's Gift Book Cover-4All you ever wanted to know about American music’s unique history is now available in ONE big illustrated book – the 390 pages and 46 chapters you’ll find reading AMERICA’S Gift. At five cents for each BIG 11′ x 8.5′ page, that’s not a bad bang for your bucks, quid, euros, etc

So, why AMERICA’S Gift? The simple answer is that blues was America’s gift to the world. As living legend and leading blues connoisseur Keith Richards says,

“Twentieth-century music is based on the blues. You wouldn’t have jazz or any other modern music without the blues. And therefore every pop song, no matter how trite or crass, has got a bit of the blues in it – even without them knowing, even though they’ve washed most of it out.”

Most blues histories tell you the genre started around 1895, but as AMERICA’S Gift explains, the seeds of the blues go back centuries. Other myths the book debunks include the first black blues vocal recording, usually given as 1920, when Mamie Smith cut Crazy Blues. In AMERICA’S Gift, read how the historic first black blues vocal was actually cut in London in 1916.

Find out hundreds of other remarkable blues and rock ‘n’ roll facts, plus many other American music firsts in AMERICA’S Gift, the book with Mississippi John Hurt on the cover. Check him out, below.

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The image used on the cover of America’s Gift. He’s Mississippi John Hurt playing around 1965. Pic courtesy: Bernard Gotfryd – Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

AMERICA’S Gift evolved from two How Blues Evolved eBooks.

AMERICA’S Gift is a combination of two illustrated eBooks: How Blues Evolved, Volumes One and Two, plus substantial additional copy. Two eBooks were needed to digitally accommodate over 100 rare photographs and illustrations. Virtually one pic per page makes How Blues Evolved pretty rare amongst electronic books, let alone eBooks on blues history.

The blue How Blues Evolved, below left, traces blues’ evolution through history, up to the 1890s and 1900.

How Blues Evolved Kindle Cover 6

The red How Blues Evolved takes up the story from the 1890s to the 1950s, when Muddy Waters and peers started recording in Chicago, an era more than adequately covered. How Blues Evolved Kindle Cover 9

Why the ‘untold’ story of the blues?

Most blues histories, outstanding as they are, take us back to the late 1890s but rarely further. As South Carolina’s Cradle of Jazz Project wrote:

“From the end of the dances at Congo Square (c. 1820) to the beginning of jazz, there is a black hole … when the old West African music slowly turned into the new music of America.”

These books were written expressly to shine light into that ‘black hole’, to discover exactly what happened to America’s slave music in the 18th and 19th centuries, and how such music evolved during the centuries before.

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North African Berbers on an African slave hunting exhibition, from an 1895 illustration. These Taureg warriors, or ‘Blue Men of the Desert’, supplied Africa’s slave markets with human merchandise for centuries. It’s all the books.

First we examine the origins of Africa’s ancient slave trade, the West’s involvement with slavery from the 1400s, and how America’s first Africans were pirated from Portuguese slavers. We tell how the musical rhythms of old Africa absorbed the melodies of white America, in the 17th and 18th centuries. And explain how various musical strands intertwined over those centuries to finally create a music only officially named blues in 1912.

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A 1924 OKeh ad. for Ed Andrews. Ed was probably the first African American to be recorded singing the blues while accompanying himself on blues guitar. The full story’s in America’s Gift.

Such historical information, you’ll find, is usually only available in isolation. AMERICA’S Gift and How Blues Evolved put the facts together like a jigsaw puzzle, yet avoid the blues minutia and academic intensity often found in blues histories. Included are the 19th century’s distasteful minstrel and coon song periods, often cut from blues histories these days. These genres were so essential to blues’ evolution, we can’t allow their true histories to be distorted by political correctness.

Why untold? Discover how and where the term ‘blues’ evolved and how it reached America. Find out how only white singers recorded blues in America, from 1914 to 1920, and why black singers didn’t want to sing blues. America’s Gift tells you who-did-what-first in the years leading up to and into the blues era, and the genres they did it in. It is the first book, to our knowledge, to link American sea shanties to the evolution of the blues.

AMERICA’S Gift and How Blues Evolved discover blues recorded in London by Jamaicans and African Americans three years BEFORE the generally-accepted date of 1920. The books track down the earliest known African-Americans playing the folk music later called blues. Find out who published and recorded what blues song first, who recorded the first blues guitar, first guitar solo, first slide guitar, first harmonica, first country blues and first electric guitar blues, even earlier sometimes than previously thought.

In AMERICA’S Gift, read about the great blues dispute of 1938, where two blues pioneers argued over the genre’s past. AMERICA’S Gift gives you the full blues story up to the 1950s. On the way it selects 20 rocking blues tracks pre-empting rock ‘n’ roll. These date from 1936 to 1949, years before the oft-cited Rocket 88 in 1952.

America’s Gift is illustrated, nearly a foot tall and an inch thick, with 367 pages of easy-to-read type and a 21-page index. It’s been described as a “lightening read”, just in case you’re thinking it might be a bit stodgy.

But don’t just take our word for it. Take a free preview of all three books on Amazon now.