THE OXFORD AMERICAN Features Roots of the Blues

Junior Kimbrough’s House PartyHolly Springs, Mississippi  1988
 Between 1988 and ’89, I made two trips to Arkansas and Mississippi with Robert Palmer, who was one of the country’s most respected writers and historians about the history of blues music. We were on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, and because of Bob’s contacts we had important access to numerous musicians in the area. What became clear as we began our journey together, searching for the roots of the blues, was that the music is part of the Delta landscape and the people we encountered were carrying on an important tradition that spanned many decades. My goal was to visually depict their lives and their love of the musical tradition in which they lived.

My time on the road with Bob was very special. His unbridled excitement of all things Southern was infective. By day we drove to visit musicians in their homes and towns, and by night we visited blues clubs, juke joints, and house parties. Bob’s encyclopedic knowledge of the music and musicians made for an amazing journey.

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© David Katzenstein

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