St. Louis Bluesmakers
Big in China : my unlikely adventures raising a family, playing the blues, and becoming a star in Beijing
Alan Paul.
New York: Harper, c2011.
Based on his award-winning "Wall Street Journal" online column The Expat Life, "Big in China" explores Paul's unlikely, three-and-a-half year journey raising a family, playing in a blues band, and reinventing himself as an American expat in Beijing.
Let freedom swing : collected writings on jazz, blues, and gospel
Howard Reich ; foreword by Ellis L. Marsalis, Jr.
Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 2010.
Howard Reich's writings on jazz have captured the music's spirit of fearless spontaneity and soulful lyricism. Let Freedom Swing showcases the best of these writings from the last quarter century. Each section of Let Freedom Swing is a suite, focusing on people, a place, or a scene. Reich gives new life to the standards with his profiles and elegies for such giants as Gershwin, Ellington, and Sinatra, while also helping to introduce readers to the younger voices that continue to revitalize the jazz scene.
The hearing eye : jazz & blues influences in African American visual art
edited by Graham Lock and David Murray.
New York : Oxford University Press, c2009.
The widespread presence of jazz and blues in African American visual art has long been overlooked. The Hearing Eye makes the case for recognizing the music's importance, both as formal template and as explicit subject matter. Moving on from the use of iconic musical figures and motifs inHarlem Renaissance art, this groundbreaking collection explores the more allusive - and elusive - references to jazz and blues in a wide range of mostly contemporary visual artists. There are scholarly essays on the painters Rose Piper (Graham Lock), Norman Lewis (Sara Wood), Bob Thompson (Richard H. King), Romare Bearden (Robert G. O'Meally, Johannes Voltz) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (Robert Farris Thompson), as well an account of early blues advertising art (Paul Oliver) and adiscussion of the photographs of Roy DeCarava (Richard Ings). These essays are interspersed with a series of in-depth interviews by Graham Lock, who talks to quilter Michael Cummings and painters Sam Middleton, Wadsworth Jarrell, Joe Overstreet and Ellen Banks about their musical inspirations, andalso looks at art's reciprocal effect on music in conversation with saxophonists Marty Ehrlich and Jane Ira Bloom. With numerous illustrations both in the book and on its companion website, The Hearing Eye reaffirms the significance of a fascinating and dynamic aspect of African American visual art that has been too long neglected.
Blues traveling : the holy sites of Delta blues
Steve Cheseborough.
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, c2009.
At a crossroads in the Mississippi Delta, Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the Devil so that he could become a guitar virtuoso and King of the Delta Blues.Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues will tell you where that legendary deal was supposed to have been made and guide you to all the other hallowed grounds that nourished Mississippi's signature music.Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, Little Milton, Elvis Presley, Bobby Rush, Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside-the list of great artists with Mississippi connections goes on and on.A trip through Mississippi blues sites is a pilgrimage every music lover ought to make at least once in a lifetime, to see the juke joints and churches, to visit the birthplaces and graves of blues greats, to walk down the dusty roads and over the levee, to eat some barbecue and greens, to sit on the bank of the Mississippi River, and to hear some down-home blues music.Blues Traveling is the first and only guidebook to Mississippi's musical places and blues history. With photographs, maps, easy-to-follow directions, and an informative, entertaining text, this book will lead you in and out of Clarksdale, Greenwood, Helena (Arkansas), Rolling Fork, Jackson, Natchez, Bentonia, Rosedale, Itta Bena, and dozens of other locales that generations of blues musicians have lived in, traveled through, and sung about. Stories, legends, and lyrics are woven into the text so that each backroad and barroom comes alive.Touring Mississippi with Blues Traveling is like having a knowledgeable and entertaining guide at your side. Even people with no immediate plans to visit Mississippi will enjoy reading the book for its photos, descriptions, and lore that will broaden their understanding and enhance their appreciation of the blues.Steve Cheseborough is an independent scholar and blues musician. His work has been published in Living Blues, Blues Access, Mississippi, and the Southern Register.
Jane Austen sings the blues
Nora Foster Stovel, editor ; Graham Guest and Grant Stovel, producers.
Edmonton [Canada] : Gutteridge Books, c2009.
In this tribute to Bruce Stovel (1941-2007), an Austen scholar and blues lover, Stovel (English, U. of Alberta) compiles 40 essays by other Jane Austen scholars, blues artists, and some of his students, on Jane Austen's novels, the blues, and blues poetry, as well as blues poems, tributes, and reminiscences about him. Contributors are based in Canada and the US. An accompanying CD includes blues performances by Ann Rabson, John Vaughn, and Graham Guest. Distributed by Michigan State U. Press. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Producing and mixing contemporary hip-hop/R&B
Mike Hamilton ; edited by Jonathan Feist.
Boston, MA : Berklee Press, ; [Milwaukee, Wis.] : Hal Leonard, c2009.
Capture the authentic sounds of contemporary hip-hop/RandB with this step-by-step guide. Follow the process as a professional, self-producing artist tracks and mixes two hip-hop/RandB songs. Learn the effects, settings, and techniques used by the industry's top hip-hop/RandB producers and engineers. The DVD-ROM includes multitrack audio files for you to practice these techniques on any audio editing platform, with "mix in progress" tracks that let you check your work against that of the recording. You'll learn essential tools and techniques, sound processing recommendations and tips, and how to reproduce the sounds of professional hip-hop/RandB recordings.

St. Louis holds a special place with blues’ fans young or old--new or longtime devotees.

What makes it the ‘blues’?

Basic blues form has 12 bars divided into three sections of 4 bars each. 

Lyrics consist of three-line stanzas.  Within a stanza the second line repeats the first and the third line responds to the first two.

I hate to see that evening sun go down
I hate to see that evening sun go down
'Cause, my baby, he's gone left this town

Basic blues harmony contains three different chords; I, IV and V.

Today the City is home to a lively blues scene made up of traditional and modern blues musicians, clubs, and recording studios. From smooth guitar renditions to super-charged vocals, the spirit of the blues is as close, and changing, as the muddy river itself.

  • The Blues Highway (Hwy 61), the long road musicians took as they moved north from the Delta to Chicago, included a stop in St. Louis for the likes of bluesmen Roosevelt Sykes and Big Joe Williams.
  • W.C. Handy’s classic ‘St. Louis Blues’ (1914) lamented ‘The man I love, would not gone nowhere--got the St. Louis blues just as blue as I can be--That man got a heart like a rock cast in the sea’.
  • The piano had been part of the blues music mix since the turn of the century, and by the early 1930s, St. Louis was a leading force of barrelhouse blues piano. Barrelhouse piano is an early form of jazz with wild, improvision on the piano, and an accented two-beat rhythm.
  • Blues legends Bennie Smith, Henry Townsend, and Chuck Berry (to name a few) chose to make the St. Louis area home.

St. Louis and the blues share a long, colorful heritage. The blues are alive and jammin’ and everyone is ‘singing the blues’.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff