William Stout’s “Legends of the Blues”

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We all get the blues. When you’re feeling blue, listening to the blues can certainly ease the tears. William Stout’s Legends of the Blues will fill your eyes with wonder and take away the pain.  Stout–an award-winning artist and writer who has worked for over 45 years in various media from comics and  album covers to film (with Monty Python, Jim Henson, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Disney) and  public murals at museums across the country, including the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Houston Museum of Natural Science–has created a history of blues greats with his writings and illustrations. Legends of the Blues includes a bonus CD you can read and listen, delving into the sounds and lives of a uniquely American musical style that influenced the world.

From jazz to the Rolling Stones, Cream, Clapton, Janis Joplin through country and pop, hip hop music today, strains of the blues can be felt in chord changes and lyrical motifs. And speaking of lyrical motifs, the blues have lyrics encoded with both sexual and magical imagery.

To further your enjoyment of the blues, Stout has included suggested playlists and a bonus CD, compiled and sequenced by William Stout, making this a groovy package of pleasure and information. (I just wish there had been some of ladies of the blues on the CD, but Stout gives them their due in the book–damn Sara Martin was cool!).

Stout’s portraits of blues performers showcase his pop-comic style, and the biographies are full of detail that reveal the links between the blues and gospel (church choirs!), and show the gradual shift in America’s social fabric ad black performers broke onto radio and television. Willie Dixon, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Billie Holliday, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf,  are names we all know, and Stout takes us deeper to meet Ida Cox, Pine Top Smith, and 93 other blues greats.

Stout will be signing Legends of the Blues at La Luz de Jesus, Saturday May 4 from 6pm to 9pm . And Stout will be a guest on Over Under Sideways Down, on internet radio station LuxuriaMusic.com on Wednesday, May 1 from 3 – 5 pm, talking about his career then and now, his new book, and playing selections from the CD as well as other favorites!




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