Give My Poor Heart Ease
Voices of the Mississippi Blues [With CD (Audio) and DVD]
By William Ferris
(University of North Carolina Press, Hardcover, 9780807833254, 302pp.)
Publication Date: November 2009
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Here are the stories of artists who have long memories and speak eloquently about their lives, blues musicians who represent a wide range of musical traditions--from one-strand instruments, bottle-blowing, and banjo to spirituals, hymns, and prison work chants. Celebrities such as B. B. King and Willie Dixon, along with performers known best in their neighborhoods, express the full range of human and artistic experience--joyful and gritty, raw and painful.
In an autobiographical introduction, Ferris reflects on how he fell in love with the vibrant musical culture that was all around him but was considered off limits to a white Mississippian during a troubled era. This magnificent volume illuminates blues music, the broader African American experience, and indeed the history and culture of America itself.
Driving his Chevrolet Nova up and down Highway 61 in Mississippi, William Ferris stopped at churches and juke joints and penitentiaries to record the music he found. In his new book, Give My Poor Heart Ease, Ferris explores the legacy of the "The Blues Highway." More at NPR.org
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