This text provides an account of the making of America's fundamental music and the men and women who created it on riverboats, in whorehouses, at country dances, and in medicine shows. With guitars and the melancholic power of their voices these musicians developed a form of music, explaining its origins and evolution, the conflicts among blues scholars, and the hardship and danger that marked the lives of professional bluesman. Based on original interviews, it includes profiles of people like Leadbelly, Mance Lipscomb, Skip James, Bessie Smith, Son House, Muddy Waters and B.B. King.
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