"WHEN HE WAS ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN YEARS OLD HE MADE A ONE-STRING GUITAR FOR HIMSELF BY STAPLING TWO THREAD SPOOLS TO A SMALL BOX AND STRETCHING BALING WIRE BETWEEN THE SPOOLS. HE PLAYED IT WITH THE NECK OFF A HALF-PINT WHISKEY BOTTLE": SPLENDID RUN OF 11 OF PAUL OLIVER'S ICONIC 1970-71 "BLUES PAPERBACKS"—HERE IN VERY SCARCE AND DESIRABLE HARDCOVER FORMAT WITH ORIGINAL DUST JACKETS
OLIVER, Paul (series editor), et al. Eleven "Blues Paperbacks" [in hardcover]. London: Studio Vista, 1970-71. Eleven volumes. Small octavo, original boards, original dust jackets. $3500.
First editions—scarce and desirable hardcover issues—of 11 of Paul Oliver's iconic music series on the origins and influence of the Blues from 1970-71, each volume richly illustrated. Though referred to as the "Blues Paperbacks" series, these 11 volumes are all in boards with scarce original dust jackets.
This fascinating collection includes series editor Paul Oliver's own contribution, Savannah Syncopators, 1970, an authoritative study of the African sources of jazz and blues, based on the author's extensive field studies in West Africa. Tony Russell's Blacks Whites and Blues (1970) is a historical examination of the complex relationship between black and white folk music traditions, and the importance of the Blues to both. Derrick Stewart-Baxter's Ma Rainey and the Classic Blues Singers (1970) studies the contributions of singer Ma Rainey and the "classic" women singers of the twenties, such as Bessie Smith, who first put blues on record and established the form's relationship to jazz. Karl Gert zur Heide's Deep South Piano (1970) is a study of the important pianist Little Brother Montgomery, and includes a 32-page "Who's Who" that provides background information on the myriad musicians who feature in Montgomery's life story through 1942. R.M.W. Dixon and J. Godrich's Recording the Blues (1970) is a thorough study of the Blues recording companies, their conventions, how and where they recorded, and the singers they popularized to a much wider audience. Paul Garon's The Devil's Son-in-Law (1971) is the story of the popular, prolific, and influential Bluesman Peetie Wheatstraw, analyzing his songs and distinctive style as a singer/pianist, drawing on research into the musical history of St. Louis and on interviews with Peetie's fellow musicians. Bruce Bastin's Crying for the Carolines (1971) examines the Blues of the Carolinas and northern Georgia, and explores the legacy of the area's best-known Blues musician, Blind Boy Fuller. Also included in this set are David Evans' Tommy Johnson, Bengt Olsson's Memphis Blues, John Fahey's Charley Patton, and Bob Groom's The Blues Revival. Each volume contains numerous black-and-white photographic illustrations, and typically includes both a bibliography and a discography at the rear. At least 12 titles were published in the Blues Paperbacks series, all separately. Ma Rainey and the Classic Blues Singers is a first American edition, published in New York by Stein and Day, the same year as the London first edition. The Devil's Son-in-Law signed on the title page by the author Paul Garon. Owner signature in Blacks, Whites and Blues.
Books and dust jackets generally fine to near-fine, with only Ma Rainey showing a little more rubbing to extremities. A lovely set.