SOURCE: American Scholar
by Eric McHenry
Writer Eric McHenry recounts picking up the documentary trail (started in the 1970s by John Russell David) of the notorious "Stagger Lee" Shelton, whose reign of terror in early 20th century St. Louis became immortalized in song and legend.
SOURCE: New York Review of Books
by Greil Marcus
The music writer looks at three recent books on the Mississippi blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson, looking to pull his story out of the realm of myth.
SOURCE: New York Times
by David Hajdu
With “Crazy Blues,” Mamie Smith opened the door to a surge of powerfully voiced female singers who defied the conventions of singerly gentility to make the blues a popular phenomenon in the 1920s.
Like music itself, this spirit of resistance takes many shapes, but has never been silenced.
by Annye C. Anderson and Preston Lauterbach
In an excerpt from the new book Brother Robert, Annye Anderson, sister of blues legend Robert Johnson, describes time spent with Johnson in Memphis, and the trends in music, movies, and black politics that shaped Johnson's personality as well as his innovative music.
SOURCE: Vanity Fair
Even if he didn’t sell his soul at the Crossroads, the massively influential Mississippi guitarist remains shrouded in mystery. An upcoming memoir from his 94-year-old stepsister brings new depth to Johnson’s mythos—and the third verified picture of him in existence.
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