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Delta Blues, By Ted Gioia

The fertile mud of the Mississippi delta has bred not only a "strange, wonderful music" that changed the way our planet sings and hears; it also yields book after book that find fresh variations on the world-spanning story of the blues.

Originally a jazz pianist, Ted Gioia brings an instrumentalist's ear as well as a narrative historian's scholarship and eloquence to his account to the still-mysterious alchemy that took the style of musicians on the Parchman prison farm or the Dockery plantation in the early years of the last century far and wide until it "permeates the global soundscapes".

Many others have picked apart fact and legend in the lives of Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters or BB King; Gioia, also shows how the myths help make the blues.