The Bluesman: The Musical Heritage of Black Men and Women in the Americas

Julio Finn, Author Interlink Publishing Group $14.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-940793-91-0
Passionately opinionated and overly ambitious, this odd compendium of history, hoodoosp according to websters spells and song lyrics nevertheless achieves some success in its goal of tracing the roots of the blues beyond American slavery. The first few chapters outline voodoo rituals and religious traditions in Africa and their importation to Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil and the U.S. Cliches clutter the text throughout, and the author damages his credibility with careless generalizations such as ``Blacks see God in their image, and whites in theirs; the devil, naturally, being imagined as his opposite.'' But sometimes Finn's palpable frustration with a racist society produces fresh insights: Jesus walking on water is readily accepted, but ``that . . . blacks should believe in miraculous charms, sends the world off into peals of laughter.'' These clever quips, however, are perhaps off the point. Despite his thesis that the blues are the direct offshoot of black religion, Finn (himself a bluesman) only implies the effects of voodoo and other beliefs on the blues. Artwork includes photos and attractive sketches of musicians and other figures. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7043-2523-4
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-940793-98-9
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