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The Blues
The Blues

The Blues

The Authentic Narrative of My Music and Culture


384 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

Cloth, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $40.00)

Publication Date: June 2021

ISBN 9781641604444

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jun 2021)


eBook Editions Available

Will it work on my eReader?
Not Yet Published. Estimated release date: June 2021


An untold authentic counter-narrative blues history and the first written by an African American blues artist

All prior histories on the blues have alleged it originated on plantations in the Mississippi Delta. Not true, says author Chris Thomas King. In The Blues, King present facts to disprove such myths. For example, that as early as 1900, the sound of the blues was ubiquitous in New Orleans. The Mississippi Delta, meanwhile, was an unpopulated sportsman's paradise—the frontier was still in the process of being cleared and drained for cultivation. Moreover, this book is the first to argue the blues began as a cosmopolitan art form, not a rural one. Protestant states such as Mississippi and Alabama could not have incubated the blues. New Orleans was the only place in the Deep South where the sacred and profane could party together without fear of persecution. Expecting these findings to be controversial in some circles, King has buttressed his conclusions with primary sources and years of extensive research, including a sojourn to West Africa and interviews with surviving folklorists and blues researchers from the 1960s folk-rediscovery epoch. They say the blues is blasphemous; the devil's music—King says they're unenlightened. Blues music is about personal freedom.


"Chris Thomas King has crafted a timely and insightful work expounding upon history, music, social issues, and his own life's experiences. Most important, his revision of blues history and revolutionary new theory concerning the origins, meaning, and nature of blues is a fresh new perspective that will be a true revolution to readers and will open new lines of discussion on American culture and the importance of the city of New Orleans for generations to come." —Dr. Michael White, jazz clarinetist, composer, and Keller Endowed Chair at Xavier University of LA

Author Biography

Chris Thomas King, born into the blues in 1962, was discovered in Louisiana in 1979 by a folklorist from the Smithsonian Institute and introduced to the world by folk label Arhoolie Records as an authentic folk-blues successor to Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Jelly Roll Morton. King played the itinerant bluesman Tommy Johnson in the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, and he has earned numerous awards, including an Album of the Year Grammy and an Album of the Year Country Music (CMA) Award. King has inspired a new generation of musicians such as Hozier, Mumford & Sons, and Gary Clark Jr., and his songs "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" and "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'," among others, have been covered by many artists including blues legend Buddy Guy.