FEEL LIKE GOING HOME: Portraits in Blues & Rock n' Roll by Peter Guralnick

FEEL LIKE GOING HOME: Portraits in Blues & Rock n' Roll

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The rock n' roll gets very short shirft here and Guralnick's blues world chiefly centers around the legendary musicians of the Mississippi Delta: Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, Sleepy John Estes and the doomed ""tormented genius"" Robert Johnson. The author spends a great deal of time 'influence'-hunting -- a tedious pastime since in the world of Southern jook joints and barrel houses (there is no mention of the cross-fertilization from gospel music) everyone influenced everyone else. Although Guralnick does make it to the Chicago taverns with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Chess records he fades out there and the diffusion and transmigration of the blues to white musicians stops -- rather than begins -- with Elvis even though the rediscovery of the old bluesmen in the '60's came through the musical mediation of such white urban interpreters as Dave Van Ronk and Eric Von Schmidt. For real devotees and collectors, Guralnick's meandering dialogues about life and hard times, poverty, obscurity and the traumas of sudden success amid young white audiences may evoke the ""flat unadorned sense of reality which is at the heart of the blues""; for others this will be no more than an anthropologist's pilgrimage to living monuments.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1971
ISBN: 0316332720
Publisher: Outerbridge & Dienstfrey