Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music

Author(s): Ted Gioia


The blues grew out of the plantations and prisons, the swampy marshes and fertile cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. With original research and keen insight, Ted Gioia - the author of a landmark study of West Coast jazz and the critically acclaimed "The History of Jazz" - brings to life the stirring music of the Delta, evoking the legendary figures who shaped its sound and ethos: Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, and others. Tracing the history of the Delta blues from the field hollers and plantation music of the nineteenth century to the exploits of modern-day musicians in the Delta tradition, "Delta Blues" tells the full story of this timeless and unforgettable music. No cultural force boasts such humble origins or such world-conquering reverberations. In this evocative rags-to-riches tale, Gioia shows how the sounds of the Delta altered the course of popular music.


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"...the passionate blues singing of Mississippi's steamy cotton fields ultimately gave rise to rock'n'roll. Ted Gioia expertly traces its colourful history and heroes." Books of the Year 2008, The Economist "[A] rich and illuminating study... Gioia, who has researched thoroughly and listened carefully, does a splendid job of telling the story on a broad canvas..." Mick Brown, The Daily Telegraph "Gioia's depth of research is breathtaking...The author's sheer passion for the music comes through on every page, and you can almost hear those old shellac 78s as you read his descriptions." "He uses original research, interviews with reliable sources and his own calm, argument-closing incantations to draw a line through a century of the Delta blues." International Herald Tribune "Gioia's intermittently brilliant and always compelling investigation of the blues is marked with a musician's ear for the form and a fan's enthusiasm for both the recordings and the artists." The Herald

An authority on jazz and blues, Ted Gioia is the founder and editor of He has recorded several CDs as a pianist and composer and is the author of five highly regarded books on jazz and roots music.

General Fields

  • : 9780393337501
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
  • : 0.416
  • : February 2010
  • : 209mm X 141mm X 21mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 482
  • : Paperback
  • : Ted Gioia