Trekking Hallowed Ground


Steve Cheseborough delves into the complex history of the blues in his third edition of "Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues" (University of Mississippi Press, 2008, $22). This edition includes thoughtful anecdotes about the sites Cheseborough recommends, and offers insightful advice for anyone seeking to experience the history of the music and its culture.

Cheseborough consistently writes that if one is to embark on this journey, it is imperative to get as much live blues in as possible. He spends a remarkable portion of the book talking about festivals, but implies special love for the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly the King Biscuit Festival) in Helena, Ark. Of special note is his attention to the sites often overlooked in more scholarly texts.

Cheseborough writes for the uninformed traveler but also gives helpful references for seasoned music aficionados. He provides ample information on specific sites, from Jackson to Memphis, as well as advice on getting information from local residents. Cheseborough also devotes space throughout the book to informing the reader about lesser-known blues artists and reminding us about the true mothers and fathers of the blues by detailing the life and times of Memphis Minnie, Robert Johnson and Son. He also writes about B.B. King's start in the forgotten spots of the Mississippi Delta.

Cheseborough has produced an excellent field guide that anyone can follow, whether taking the trips or following along with the text at home.


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