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The St. Louis Blues

I’m too often startled by how much I’ve yet to learn about subjects I’ve covered throughout my life-for example, the blues. Along with writing sections on the blues in my books, I’ve recorded sessions with Otis Spann, Memphis Slim and Lightnin’ Hopkins. But never before have I learned so much about St. Louis’ powerful and influential role in the blues and American music as in Kevin Belford’s vividly illustrated Devil at the Confluence: The Pre-War Blues Music of St. Louis Missouri (Virginia Publishing, St. Louis).

Belford, a widely published freelance illustrator, has done monumental research in archives, city records, recording company logs and cemetery books, and has interviewed numerous musicians influenced by St. Louis’ blues greats. The result of all his work is a largely unknown-until now-microcosm of blues lives and music that is already a collector’s item I’m thinking of putting in my will.

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