Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 1, 2009 - Music - 320 pages
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Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, folklorist William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the authentic roots of the blues. Now, Give My Poor Heart Ease puts front and center a searing selection of the artistically and emotionally rich voices from this invaluable documentary record. Illustrated with Ferris's photographs of the musicians and their communities and including a CD of original music, the book features more than twenty interviews relating frank, dramatic, and engaging narratives about black life and blues music in the heart of the American South.

Here are the stories of artists who have long memories and speak eloquently about their lives, blues musicians who represent a wide range of musical traditions--from one-strand instruments, bottle-blowing, and banjo to spirituals, hymns, and prison work chants. Celebrities such as B. B. King and Willie Dixon, along with performers known best in their neighborhoods, express the full range of human and artistic experience--joyful and gritty, raw and painful.

In an autobiographical introduction, Ferris reflects on how he fell in love with the vibrant musical culture that was all around him but was considered off limits to a white Mississippian during a troubled era. This magnificent volume illuminates blues music, the broader African American experience, and indeed the history and culture of America itself.

 

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Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Distinguished folklorist and blues scholar Ferris (senior associate director, Ctr. for the Study of the American South, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has crafted a captivating and diverse ... Read full review

Give My Poor Heart Ease

User Review  - rosewyn - Overstock.com

Excellent buy. Purchased for a gift and person loved it! Would recommend Overstock.com to anyone. Fast shipping and very reasonable. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
BLUES ROOTS
11
BLUES TOWNS AND CITIES
103
LOOKING BACK
175
SACRED AND SECULAR WORLDS
203

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About the author (2009)

William Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris coedited the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and is the author of Blues from the Delta. Rolling Stone magazine has named him among the top ten professors in the United States. In 2010, Ferris received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

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