Thursday, August 4, 2011

Delta Blues / Carolyn Haines, ed.; w/ stories by James Lee Burke, John Grisham, Charlaine Harris, et. al. & introduction by Morgan Freeman

"Delta soil is deep and rich. Down here things grow." (i)

Anyone who has even a vague concept on blues music and its origins will know that its heart and soul is in the deep south, particularly Mississippi and particularly the delta region (a small sliver of land adjacent to the Mississippi River in the NW part of the state). Ironically it's also a place not far from the starting points of some very, very good writers like John Grisham, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and on and on. With stories by John Grisham among others and introduced by actor Morgan Freeman, also from the Delta, this compilation "from writers aching to sing you the blues" captures the heart and soul of the region, its culture and its music as it tells of people and places where feeling a little blue can produce some fantastic and even revolutionary rhythms. This collection, very similar to the "[place] Noir" series of books published by Akashic, all involve, some directly some indirectly, the blues. Many are crime briefs while others delve even deeper matters like the famous "crossroads" story about Robert Johnson and the devil. Some are contemporary tales while others are historical pieces like Beth Henley's "What His Hands Have Been Waiting For" set in 1927 and which has a group of ruffians confronting a starving family during the great flood. All of them evoke the mood and ethos, as well as the language of the soul, of the Delta region and its people who've been forged through a rough life and hard times with their own brand of musical therapy. (FIC DELTA)

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