I'd Rather Be The Devil: Skip James And The Blues

I'd Rather Be The Devil: Skip James And The Blues

I'd Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues

Skip James (1902–1969) was perhaps the most creative and idiosyncratic of all blues musicians. Drawing on hundreds of hours of conversations with James himself, Stephen Calt here paints a dark and unforgettable portrait of a man untroubled by his own murderous inclinations, a man who achieved one moment of transcendent greatness in a life haunted by failure. And in doing so, Calt offers new insights into the nature of the blues, the world in which it thrived, and its fate when that world vanished.

From Publishers Weekly
Less a biography of one blues legend than a biography of Mississippi blues, this account chronicles Skip James's life in part to make a more important, more affecting point. Most blues players from the early '20s and '30s waited decades for their music to earn them any degree of fame or financial reward. With a record's worth of songs earning them only $10 or $20, musicians survived as sharecroppers or manual laborers. Calt depicts James, born on a plantation in 1902 and abandoned early by his bootlegger father, as a man whose life before and after...

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