Friday, November 14, 2008

Not a Book Review: TEXAS BLUES, by Alan Govenar

Full Disclosure Statement: I edited this book and coordinated its publication by my employer, Texas A&M University Press. I have about as much objectivity about it as a proud uncle has at the birth of a nephew or niece.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me tell you some of the reasons you should run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy TEXAS BLUES. First of all, it is a truly gorgeous package. Printed on high-quality, glossy paper and chock full of amazing and rare photographs of Texas blues artists from the 1920s to the present, this is a book that will improve the resale value of your house just by sitting on your coffee table. Not only that, but for a book this size (600+ pages) with this many color and black-and-white photographs (400+), the price ($40.00 suggested retail) is very reasonable.

Alan Govenar, noted folklorist, author, and documentary filmmaker, has captured, in the artists' own words, the story of blues in the Lone Star State, from its beginnings as the music of slaves and sharecroppers, to its migration across lines of race and culture, to become one of the most influential genres in the popular music of the world. TEXAS BLUES is principally composed of oral interviews conducted by Govenar and others, and includes the first-hand accounts of artists like Gatemouth Brown, Clifton Chenier, Alex Moore, Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin' Hopkins, B.B. King, Illinois Jacquet, Sippie Wallace, Osceola Mays, Sonny Boy Terry, Delbert McClinton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and dozens more.

Most of the photographs are from Govenar's own collection and have never been seen before. The pictures and the text, taken together, make up a truly masterful panorama of the blues in Texas and its continuing importance around the world.

TEXAS BLUES: THE RISE OF A CONTEMPORARY SOUND is available now. If you're into blues, rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues, or you just want a beautiful book that will impress your friends, go get a copy today!