Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 12, 1990 - Music - 348 pages
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This is a new, thoroughly revised edition of Paul Oliver's classic study of the blues. First published in 1960, this remarkable book has not been superseded and its reappearance will be welcomed by all who wish to understand the complexity of meaning in the blues and the experiences which they expressed. The book examines the functions of the blues as black American folk music recorded during the 78 rpm era, from the 1920s to the 1950s. The lyrics are quoted extensively throughout the book, revealing their significance as a means of communication within black society. The author shows how the themes of labour and unemployment, migration and the Depression years, love, sex, and marriage, crime, violence and imprisonment, disasters, sickness, war and death are expressed in black idioms and he discusses their meaning on many levels.

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Got to work or leave
Railroad for my pillow
Pains in my heart
Im a rooster baby
The jinx is on me
Let the deal go down
Evil and mean and funny
World black as midnight
Going down slow
Blues like showers of rain
Bibliographical references
Discography of quoted blues
Acknowledgments to Discography
Index of quoted blues singers
General Index

Coin to take a rap

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About the author (1990)

Paul Hereford Oliver was born in Nottingham, England on May 25, 1927. He trained as a painter and sculptor at the Harrow School of Art, but switched to graphic design because most art materials aggravated his asthma and various allergies. After receiving a diploma from Goldsmith's College in London in 1948, he returned to the Harrow County School to teach art. In 1955, he received an art-history degree from the University of London. He wrote numerous books on blues music including Bessie Smith, Blues Fell This Morning, The Story of the Blues, Screening the Blues: Aspects of the Blues Tradition, Savannah Syncopators: African Retentions in the Blues, Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records, Broadcasting the Blues: Black Blues in the Segregation Era, and Barrelhouse Blues: Location Recordings and the Early Traditions of the Blues. He was also as an architectural historian. His books on architecture included Shelter and Society, English Cottages and Small Farmhouses: A Study of Vernacular Shelter, Dwellings: The House Across the World, and Built to Meet Needs: Cultural Issues in Vernacular Architecture. He died on August 15, 2017 at the age of 90.

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