Cover for Cushing: Pioneers of the Blues Revival. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Pioneers of the Blues Revival

Awards and Recognition:

Blues Book of the Year, Living Blues Awards, 2015

Eyewitness accounts of the blues' evolution into a global music phenomenon

Steve Cushing, the award-winning host of the nationally syndicated public radio staple Blues before Sunrise, has spent over thirty years observing and participating in the Chicago blues scene. In Pioneers of the Blues Revival, he interviews many of the prominent white researchers and enthusiasts whose advocacy spearheaded the blues' crossover into the mainstream starting in the 1960s.

Opinionated and territorial, the American, British, and French interviewees provide fascinating first-hand accounts of the era and movement. Experts including Paul Oliver, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Sam Charters, Ray Flerlage, Richard K. Spottswood, and Pete Whelan chronicle in their own words their obsessive early efforts at cataloging blues recordings and retrace lifetimes spent loving, finding, collecting, reissuing, and producing records. They and nearly a dozen others recount relationships with blues musicians, including the discoveries of prewar bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, and Bukka White, and the reintroduction of these musicians and many others to new generations of listeners. The accounts describe fieldwork in the South, renew lively debates, and tell of rehearsals in Muddy Waters's basement and randomly finding Lightning Hopkins's guitar in a pawn shop.

Blues scholar Barry Lee Pearson provides a critical and historical framework for the interviews in an introduction.

"Cushing's detailed discussions with significant blues revival researchers tell crisscrossing artist- and record-rediscovery stories, portraying a close-knit scene with its own rituals, famous incidents, lot heroes, and well-recalled ne'er-do-well connivers."--New Republic

"Mr. Cushing, a longtime blues broadcaster, gathers his own interviews with 17 figures who forged a legacy that reaches far beyond their record rooms. . . . whatever underlies the mania of this strange tribe of hunters and gatherers, their achievement is undeniable, and America's musical heritage would be much the poorer without their efforts."--Wall Street Journal

"An excellent read for those interested in more than the music. . . . for those whose interests go far beyond the notes and singing, into the realms of history, discovery, dissemination and documentation."--Living Blues

"Pioneers of the Blues Revival is an important contribution to the literature on this crucial moment. An invaluable accomplishment."--The Journal of Southern History

"Any student or historian with a serious interest in country Blues, urban Blues, jug bands, Jazz, gospel, and related styles will find this book very informative and illuminating. Thanks to Cushing we may all learn a good deal more about a diverse lot of individuals who passions were ignited by the Blues."--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

"The book makes an extraordinary contribution to the field. . . . The author creates a rich portrait of the whole blues revival movement."--Robert Pruter, author of Chicago Soul

Steve Cushing has hosted Blues Before Sunrise for over thirty years. He is the author of Blues Before Sunrise: The Radio Interviews. Barry Lee Pearson is a professor of English at the University of Maryland and the author of Jook Right On: Blues Stories and Blues Storytellers.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Blues Before Sunrise

The Radio Interviews

Steve Cushing

The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Field Recordings and the American Experience

Stephen Wade

A Cole Porter Companion

Edited by Don M. Randel, Matthew Shaftel, and Susan Forscher Weiss


New York City's Unseen Scene

Thomas H. Greenland

Sweet Air

Modernism, Regionalism, and American Popular Song

Edward P. Comentale

Hard Luck Blues

Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression

Rich Remsberg

King of the Queen City

The Story of King Records

Jon Hartley Fox


The Best of the Original Chicago Blues Annual

Edited by Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr.

American Music

Edited by Neil Lerner

Blues All Day Long

The Jimmy Rogers Story

Wayne Everett Goins

Give 'Em Soul, Richard!

Race, Radio, and Rhythm and Blues in Chicago

Richard E. Stamz with Patrick A. Roberts

Cafe Society

The wrong place for the Right people

Barney Josephson with Terry Trilling-Josephson

Blue Rhythm Fantasy

Big Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era

John Wriggle

Music and the Moving Image

Edited by Gillian B. Anderson & Ronald H. Sadoff

Pioneers of the Blues Revival ebook is available for immediate download from the following vendors:
Barnes & Noble
Google Play