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Jazz, Blues, and Popular Music: Blues

Searching Blues in ZSR Library's Catalog

See "Blues" on the following webpage:

Encyclopedias

Encylcopedia of the Blues.

Bibliographies

These can be searched in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using the following subject terms:

  • Blues (Music) -- Bibliography
  • Blues (Music) -- Bio-bibliography

You can also find them shelved under the call number ML128 B49. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks (shelves)).

Dictionaries

These can be searched in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using the following subject term:

  • Blues (Music) -- Dictionaries.

You can also find them shelved under the call number ML102 B6. (Check both the Reference room and the main stacks (shelves)).

Biography

Biographical information can be located in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using a number of subject terms:

  • [Name]
  • [Name] -- Interviews
  • [Name] -- Homes and haunts
  • [Name] -- Pictorial works
  • [Name] -- Protraits
  • Blues musicians
  • Blues musicians -- Biography
  • Blues musicians -- [Place] -- Biography
  • Blues musicians -- [the subdivisions after Name above]

 

You'll find both collective and individual biographies. Examples:

Elwood's Blues: Interviews with the Blues Legends and Stars.

Blues Traveling: the Holy Sites of Delta Blues.

Legacy of the Blues: a Glimpse into the Art and the Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen.

Books on Blues History

These can be located in the Library's catalog using the following subject terms:

  • Blues (Music) -- History and criticism
  • Blues (Music) -- [Place] -- History and criticism
  • Blues (Music) -- Analysis, appreciation

You can also find many of them shelved under the call number ML3521.

Recordings and Videos

Databases (streaming audio)

The following can be accessed on the Library's "Databases" page:

Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound

Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM)

Music Online: American Music

 

Discographies

Numerous discographies have been published tracing the recorded history of the blues, or advising the collector. Find them in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using the following subject terms:

  • Blues (Music) -- Discography
  • Blues (Music) -- [Place] -- Discography
  • [Name] -- Discography

Biographies of blues musicians  also typically include a discography.

 

Examples of discographies:

Down Home Guide to the Blues.

New Blackwell Guide to Recorded Blues.

Mississippi Black Folklore: a Research Bibliography and Discography.

 

Early Recordings

"Race records" was a term used in the 1920s and 1930s for recordings by African-American musicians, including jazz and blues artists, when the music industry targeted white and black markets separately. See the entry "race record" in Oxford Music Online (available on our "Databases" page).

Many of these early recordings have been re-issued on CD.

 

Blues Labels

Arhoolie

Arcola

Atlantic

Black and Tan Records

Black Swan

Document Records

Rounder

Schanchie

Smithsonian Folkways

Southside Records

Testament Records (re-issued by HighTone)

Yazoo

 

Anthologies

Look up these series titles in the Library's catalog:

Conversation with the Blues: a Documentary of Field Recordings.

The Roots of the Blues (in Recorded Anthology of American Music)

The Story of the Blues.

 

Reviews

See "Discographies" and "Websites" on this webpage.

 

Videos

To find these in the Library's catalog: 

  • Enter "blues" as a subject.
  • Use the sidebar to limit the format to "DVD" or "VHS."

 

Journals

Indexes:

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (available on our "Databases" page).

 

Journals:

Unless otherwise indicated, these can be accessed on our "Journals" page:

Living Blues (indexed in RILM; articles available through interlibrary loan)

Lead Belly Letter (Lead Belly Society) (indexed in RILM; articles available through interlibrary loan)

Black Music Research Journal 

American Music

Related Areas

 

The study of blues often involves research into the historical, social, economic, and political developments of the time; also, blues' influence on other musical traditions.

Some subject headings that relate to the larger context:

  • Blues (Music) -- Social aspects
  • Blues (Music) -- Political aspects
  • Blues (Music) -- Economic aspects
  • Blues (Music) -- Psychological aspects
  • Blues (Music) -- Religious aspects
  • Blues (Music) -- Influence
  • Blues (Music) in art
  • Blues (Music) in literature
  • Blues (Music) in motion pictures
  • Blues (Music) -- Drama   [= plays about blues]
  • Blues (Music) -- Fiction    [= novels about blues]
  • African-Americans -- Music
  • Folk music -- United States
  • Popular music 
  • Blues (Music) -- African influences
  • Popular music -- African influences
  • United States -- Civilization -- African influences

Click here for further resources in related disciplines.

Subject Guide

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Leslie McCall
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