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 speakers and their communities and including a dual CD/DVD that presents his original field recordings and films, the book features more than twenty musicians who relate 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. From celebrities such as B. B. King and Willie Dixon to artists known best in their neighborhoods, they express the full range of human 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.
"Groundbreaking. . . . The summation of a life's work documenting and, in the process, lifting the music of a regional people who, from the depths of poverty, racism and centuries of struggle, have given the world one of its most enduring art forms."--"Memphis Commercial Appeal" Shelf Life Blog
Format: Book with CD or DVD
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 1st November 2009
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 20.3 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 1.09