Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues is a book that discusses the life of the blues legend, Robert Johnson. The book analyzes how Johnson was initially ignored by the black audience and now became one of the most well-known name in the history of blues music. In addition, its pages contain information that will give the reader a glimpse on earlier recording of blues music as well as some memories as told by blues musicians themselves. As the readers finish reading it, the book aims to inculcate a new and fresher appreciation for blues music and its history.
Fans of Robert Johnson will love how the book focuses on the artists and his influence to blues music. They should also take note that the author tries to disprove some myths regarding the man. Furthermore, a short biography of Robert Johnson entails not only his life but also some of the recordings that he made. It is also quite interesting to point how the book pushes through after Robert Johnson’s death. Because of this, the readers will have some idea on what happened to blues music after one its pioneers died. They will be delighted to read something about the rediscovery not only of Johnson’s blues music but also of other musicians as well that greatly contributed in widening the audience that listen to blues. Lastly, the book will enlighten its readers about some mundane things that were quite popular during the blues era like juke joints and of course, bluesmen.
Diehard fans of Robert Johnsons may not like that the book focuses on other things aside from the blues artist. They may also dislike the fact that other artists are discussed in the book. Others may disagree on the author’s view and definition on what real blues music really is and moreover, some people who have already read the book also have issues regarding factual errors on some of the information presented in the book.
Publishers Weekly applaud the author for telling relating the life of the great Robert Johnson and the development of blues music. From its early history until the time that it became a prominent genre of music, the author gives detailed information as he chronicled the history of blues. Though the book may come across as the textbook type to its readers, it never fails in providing clear and new insights in unveiling the history of blues music. With varying perceptions regarding blues music, the author tries to use Robert Johnson in merging African and American blues. He also gives some entertaining tales of Johnson’s adventures in his life as a blues artist.
Booklist recognizes the author’s effort in discussing the life of Robert Johnson who was initially did not even have much audience to listen to him. In addition, there is a thorough discussion on how Johnson had borrowed some songs from other artists during his career. Lastly, it does not forget how fame got ahold of Robert Johnson when the whites started listening to his songs.