Voice of the Mississippi Delta
Spirited takes on a blues powerhouse and his legacy
Blues Book of the Year
—26th Annual Living Blues Awards
Contributions by Luther Allison, John Broven, Daniel Droixhe, David Evans, William Ferris, Jim O'Neal, Mike Rowe, Robert Sacré, Arnold Shaw, and Dick Shurman
Fifty years after Charley Patton's death in 1934, a team of blues experts gathered five thousand miles from Dockery Farms at the University of Liege in Belgium to honor the life and music of the most influential artist of the Mississippi Delta blues. This volume brings together essays from that international symposium on Charley Patton and Mississippi blues traditions, influences, and comparisons. Originally published by Presses Universitaires de Liège in Belgium, this collection has been revised and updated with a new foreword by William Ferris, new images added, and some essays translated into English for the first time.
Patton's personal life and his recorded music bear witness to how he endured and prevailed in his struggle as a black man during the early twentieth century. Within this volume, that story offers hope and wonder. Organized in two parts—“Origins and Traditions” and “Comparison with Other Regional Styles and Mutual Influence”—the essays create an invaluable resource on the life and music of this early master. Written by a distinguished group of scholars, these pieces secure the legacy of Charley Patton as the fountainhead of Mississippi Delta blues.
The publication works both as a record of conference proceedings and as a historical snapshot of significant blues scholarship.- Gregory Hansen, Arkansas State University, Journal of Folklore Research
On the fiftieth anniversary of Charley Patton’s death, a distinguished group of blues scholars gathered in Liège, Belgium, at a conference organized by Robert Sacré, to discuss Patton’s life and work and his importance in the history and evolution of the blues. Three years later, the conference papers were published in a no-frills, limited edition of two hundred copies, which quickly became an elusive and much sought-after collector’s item. This updated and amended reprint, which is enhanced by the inclusion of unpublished photographs from the archives of David Evans, makes these important essays on Charley Patton generally available for the first time.- Guido van Rijn, author of Roosevelt’s Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on FDR and Kennedy’s Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on JFK, both published by University Press of Mississippi