Born in South Carolina, White spent his childhood as a "lead boy" for traveling blind bluesmen. In the early '30s he moved to New York and became a popular blues star, then introduced folk-blues to a mass white audience in the 1940s. He was famed both for his strong Civil Rights songs, which made him a favorite of the Roosevelts, and for his sexy stage persona. The king of Cafe Society-also home to Billie Holiday--he was the one bluesman to consistently pack the New York nightspots, and the first black singer-guitarist to act in Hollywood films and star on Broadway.
In the 1950s, White's bitter compromise with the blacklisters left him with few friends on either end of the political spectrum. He spent much of the decade in Europe, then came back strong in the 1960s folk revival. By 1963, he was voted one of America's top three male folk stars, but his health was failing and he did not survive the decade.
Written in an engaging style, "Society Blues" portrays the difficult balancing act that all black performers must face in a predominantly white culture. Through the twists and turns of White's life, it traces the evolution of the blues and folk revival, and is a must read for anyone interested in the history of American popular culture, as well as a fascinating life story.
Visit the author's website to see the Josh White photo gallery and learn more about Elijah Wald.
""Society Blues incorporates a skillful and thought-provoking critique of the ideological presuppositions that guide the promotion of authenticity. Wald achieves this goal by sticking to the details of White's career, not generalizing about its implications, yet the point comes across with clarity and conviction."-David Sanjek, "American Studies, Fall 2002 "[An] affectionate, careful biography.."-The Washington Post
|Southern Exposure (1914-1921)||p. 1|
|Homeless and Hungry Blues (1921-1930)||p. 11|
|Things About Coming My Way (1930-1936)||p. 26|
|John Henry (1936-1939)||p. 46|
|Raise a Ruckus (1940)||p. 56|
|Marching down Freedom's Road (1941)||p. 72|
|Partnerships: Leadbelly and Libby Holman (1941-1943)||p. 90|
|Cafe Society (1943-1945)||p. 101|
|The House I Live In||p. 125|
|Apples, Peaches, and Cherries (1946-1947)||p. 137|
|Travels, Whiskey, and Women||p. 154|
|Broadway, Hollywood, and Beyond (1947-1950)||p. 162|
|Un-American Activities (1950)||p. 177|
|Strange Fruit||p. 196|
|Across the Atlantic (1951)||p. 210|
|You Know Baby (1952-1953)||p. 228|
|Josh at Midnight (1954-1958)||p. 239|
|Folk Revival||p. 258|
|House of the Rising Sun (1958-1963)||p. 273|
|Goin' Down Slow (1963-1969)||p. 283|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 31st October 2002
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.5 x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.53