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Encyclopedia of the Blues, Second Edition by Gerard Herzhaft

When I reviewed this book in 1993 I gave it high marks; even with all its typos (many of them present four years later!) it filled a void. Since then Robert Santelli’s Big Book of the Blues and last year’s All Music Guide to the Blues, which cover the field more convincingly, have appeared. Except for a few career updates (e.g., Jesse Thomas, Magic Slim), new adds (Larry Garner), separate headings (James Harman, Rod Piazza) and a batch of new photos (including two howlers: Luther “Rucker” on p. 178 and Frankie Lee [Jones] for Frankie Lee Sims on p. 187), there hasn’t been that much added to warrant this edition.

Albert Collins, whose photo is on the cover, is another example: none of his Pointblank CDs are mentioned-it’s as though his career stalled after he left Alligator Records in 1989. In his Select Discography, Herzhaft again moans that “we are waiting” for Big Joe Turner’s first Decca recordings to appear. Surely l990’s I’ve Been to Kansas City ought to have reached his home in France by now.

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