Saturday, May 7, 2016

Book Reviews

Language of the Blues May 2016

The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu 2006
by Debra Devi

The Language of the Blues is a must-have for fans of blues, jazz, rock and slang. in it, author. rock musician and Huffington Post blogger Debra Devi explores over 150 terms like buffet flat, killing floor, and mojo with fresh insights from her in-depth interviews with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Henry Gray, Bob Margolin, Robben Ford, Jimmie Vaughan and more. "As a musician myself, not a scholar," Devi explains, "I thought I could best make a contribution by talking directly to blues artists about what the words in blues songs mean to them."

The result is a lively read Blues Revue deems "an essential purchase for scholars and fans."  New York Times columnist Shelton Ivany adds, "If you have any questions about songs, lyrics, musicians or events, chances are you will find your answers in this unparalleled publication."

The Language of the Blues opens with a remarkable foreword by Dr. John, who helped Devi uncover the illegal gambling origins of terms like "gig" and "axe."  This new edition includes over 30 stunning photos of legendary blues artists (17 in color).

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Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine 

Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society

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But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise
By Lillian-Yvonne Bertram 

But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise emerges at a time when science is discovering more and more about the mystical particles that make up our universe and our bodies. From tidal forces and prairie burns to ruminations on racial identity while standing at the foot of Mount Rushmore, these poems chart a travelogue through mental and physical landscapes and suggest that place, time, love, and bodies are all shifts in the “undulate cosmos.” Straddling the lyrical and experimental, these poems conjure and connect the cosmological, the carnal, and the personal in a country—and a universe—that is gobbling itself into oblivion. But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise is in love with the universe of language—its forms, its sounds, and even its static.

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