In this unique and fascinating book photographer Michelle Vignes creates a portrait of the Blues scene in the San Francisco Bay Area and shows a side of the music world that is seldom brought into public view. As Lee Hildebrand explains in the introduction, “Unlike the better known Chicago variety, which came north from Mississippi, [Bay Area] blues is rooted in the African-American musical traditions of Texas and Louisiana”. It is known for its slow beat and mournful sound. Over the course of three years in the early 1980s, Vignes took her camera and followed that sound to blues clubs in Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley, as well as to outdoor festivals and the homes and churches of musicians, customers and club employees. Taking her time, she got to know the musicians and customers first and snapped photographs later. The result is a series of deeply evocative black-and-white photographs covering an amazing cross section of Northern California blues men and women, some legendary, others little known, plus several international figures who were touring in the area. Included here are Vignes’s photographs of Lowell Fulson, Johnny B. Good, Sonny Rhodes, Cool Papa, J. J. Malone, Troyce Key, Beverly Stovall, Jimmy McCracklin, Willie Dixon, Albert King, Maxine Howard, John Lee Hooker, Dottie Ivory, Maurice McKinnies, Buddy Ace and many others. Together Vignes’s remarkable images and Lee Hildebrand’s informative and engaging text make this book a noteworthy guide to the players, patrons and places of Bay Area blues.
Ships for the price of 4 records.