"I KNOW BLUES SINGERS DON'T GO TO HEAVEN… BUT ALL THE GOOD ONES GO TO HARLEM": FIRST EDITION OF PAUL OLIVER'S SCREENING THE BLUES, 1968
OLIVER, Paul. Screening the Blues. Aspects of the Blues Tradition. London: Cassell, 1968. Octavo, original orange cloth, original dust jacket. $400.
First edition of the important third work in Oliver's preeminent series, here exploring the unique and "myriad influences on the development of the blues," a fine copy in the original dust jacket.
Britain's Paul Oliver "opened the eyes of readers in Britain and the United States to a musical form that had been overlooked and often belittled… he explored the myriad influences on the development of the blues in Screening the Blues" (New York Times). Oliver especially points to its strongest traditions, including the blues verse, the "code implications" of its lyrics, the relationship between gospel and the blues, and the importance of three-line stanza and twelve-bar form. The latter, he observes, is "rare in any music before the late 19th century… As a basis for a whole cultural expression, however, it was unique to the blues until its recent widespread adoption by commercialized popular music." His goal in this work, he notes, is to screen the blues "for the elements that have shaped its tradition." Oliver "'was always centered on the relationship between the music and the social environment in which it emerged,' British scholar O'Connell wrote in his 2015 book about Oliver, Blues, How Do You Do? Perhaps because he was not from the United States, Oliver brought a rare sensitivity to African American culture and treated the blues with a seriousness previously reserved for classical music and other fine arts" (Washington Post). "First published 1968" on copyright page. Ford, Blues A1633.
A fine copy.