A Blues Life

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University of Illinois Press, 1999 - Music - 145 pages
"Touching on important social aspects of St. Louis life, from racism and police harassment to honky-tonk speakeasies, A Blues Life offers a personal and often moving commentary on music and culture in the city. Townsend recounts that in the 1920s, St. Louis's Booker Washington Theatre brought in famous acts like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Peg Leg Bates, but very few local blues artists ever appeared there. While middle-class blacks regarded jazz as on the border of respectability, the blues were far over the line, and especially the raw, "gut bucket style blues" that Townsend says set St. Louis blues apart from the styles developing in Chicago, Kansas City, and Mississippi."--BOOK JACKET.

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About the author (1999)


Greensmith, a photographer from England, has been a record producer, host of a weekly blues radio program, and coeditor of Blues Unlimited.

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