Book Review: Bars, Booze and Blues

barsI always enjoy compilation books such as these because I like reading about everyone’s different experience on similar topics.  Bars, Booze and Blues has a bunch of stories from different bars relating to blues music.  Each story begins with a small bio of the person who is telling the story. Where they are from, who they performed with, etc. Their story follows.  A lot of cool stories throughout. An interesting read.

It’s always hard to sum up these kinds of books though.  There are some photos, some stories make you wish you were there and some make you glad you weren’t.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

True accounts from musicians, bar owners, and regulars at the crossroads of good times and despair

Bars, Booze, and Blues collects lively bar tales from the intersection of black and white musical cultures in the South. Many of these stories do not seem dignified, decent, or filled with uplifting euphoria, but they are real narratives of people who worked hard with their hands during the week to celebrate the weekend with music and mind altering substances.

These are stories of musicians who may not be famous celebrities but are men and women deeply occupied with their craft. These are professional musicians stuck with a day job.The collection also includes stories from fans and bar owners, people vital to shaping a local music scene.

The stories explore the “crossroads,” that intoxicated intersection of spirituality, race, and music that forms a rich, southern vernacular. In personal narratives, musicians and partygoers relate tales of narrow escape (almost getting busted by the law while transporting moonshine), of desperate poverty (rat-infested kitchens and repossessed cars), of magic (hiring a root doctor to make a charm), and loss (death or incarceration). Here are stories of defiant miscegenation, of forgetting race and going out to eat together after a jam, and then not being served. Assorted boasts of improbable hijinks give the ‘blue collar’ musician a wild, gritty glamour and emphasize the riotous freedom of fans, who sometimes risk the strong-arm of southern liquor laws and gets into company car accidents to chase the good times.

Emily D. Edwards, Greensboro, North Carolina, is a professor of media studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is also an independent filmmaker, whose work includes the documentary, Deadheads: An America Subculture, which is distributed nationally on PBS stations, and two feature films with blues music scores, Root Doctor (2005) and Bone Creek (2009).

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