Leading article: Homesick blues

How disconcerting to discover that Bob Dylan's neighbours are complaining about the smell from a portable lavatory on the singer's Malibu property.

Father threw children off bridge

A man accused of throwing his four young children to their deaths from an Alabama bridge unexpectedly pleaded guilty, telling a judge he wanted to be put to death.

Matthew Norman: Turn us into the 51st state? Why not?

The upsides of the UK becoming part of the US would more than dwarf the regrets

Clive Myrie: The man who took over Sir Trevor McDonald's mantle

Clive Myrie has replaced his hero as Britain's most prominent black broadcast journalist. He tells Ian Burrell what motivates him

Musical warriors: The Tuareg

Perhaps the purest exponents of desert blues are Tinariwen. The band’s backstory is the stuff of legend – members of the loose collective fought in the Mali Civil War during the Nineties, and tales of the Tuareg musicians going into battle with both Kalashnikovs and guitars slung over their backs are legion. Their sound is unique – layered guitars interweaving with call and response vocals, handclaps and female throat singers.

Desert musical classics

It’s a long way from Mali to the Mississippi, but the musical distance is not as great as you might think. Richard Knight journeys to the source of the blues

Bob Dylan's heroes & villains

The racist killer who inspired one of his greatest songs has died. Rob Sharp remembers the others he immortalised

Album: The Voices of Panola Co, Mississippi, Como Now, (Daptone)

Unaccompanied gospel singing from Como, Mississippi, a place so bluesy that musician Fred McDowell used to pump gas at the service station, and so poor that the churches couldn't afford a piano.

Mudbound, By Hillary Jordan

In a week of historic American elections, Hillary Jordan's emotive debut, set in 1940s Mississippi, is a timely reminder of the realities of post-bellum politics in the South.

Palin sends the cringe meter off the dial

No one will be more relieved than John McCain if a major crisis erupts on Thursday to overshadow the debate between the vice-presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Braced for disaster: the city that fears the worst – again

Those who ignored warnings to flee are under lockdown as they await 'the mother of all storms'

New Orleans evacuated as "storm of the century" rolls in

Residents were ordered to flee an only partially rebuilt New Orleans today as another monster storm bore down on Louisiana nearly three years to the day after Hurricane Katrina wiped out entire swathes of the city.

Johann Hari: We need to stop being such cowards about Islam

This is a column condemning cowardice – including my own. It begins with the story of a novel you cannot read. The Jewel of Medina was written by a journalist called Sherry Jones. It recounts the life of Aisha, a girl who was married off at the age of six to a 50-year-old man called Mohamed ibn Abdallah. On her wedding day, Aisha was playing on a see-saw outside her home. Inside, she was being betrothed. The first she knew of it was when she was banned from playing out in the street with the other children. When she was nine, she was taken to live with her husband, now 53. He had sex with her. When she was 14, she was accused of adultery with a man closer to her own age. Not long after, Mohamed decreed that his wives must cover their faces and bodies, even though no other women in Arabia did.

Album: Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Ten Thousand (Balling the Jack/Bronzerat)

Now touring the UK, the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir – neither a choir nor mountain men – are a Canadian quartet occupying similar roots-revivalist territory to American acts like The Boggs and Old Crow Medicine Show, attempting to disinter the dark country-blues spirit mined by the likes of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson and Son House.

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