Blues, Booze & BBQ - Michael Loyd Young

powerHouse Books

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Michael Loyd Young's first book takes us deep into the soul of the South. Juke joints serving up beer and raw blues. Smokers filled with ribs and chicken. A visceral visual expereince you can almost smell as you turn the pages.

Blues, Booze & BBQ documents the 150 miles of Highway 61, the famed blacktop road snaking from Memphis, Tennessee down to Greenville, Mississippi. At the halfway point, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, sits Clarksdale, the city considered the birthplace of the blues and the location of Robert Johnson’s famed “Cross Road Blues” intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49.

The Delta has been home to blues legends such as Charley Patton, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Cadillac John Nolden, B.B. King, T-Model Ford, Mississippi Slim, Big Jack Johnson, and Willie King, among countless others whose music has become the glue that holds these communities together as they struggle to survive. Young’s photographs, taken at juke joints, in private homes, or while just hanging out, illustrate the bond blues creates between the Delta and its people. It is through this music that the people pass on their heritage and culture to future generations.

The Mississippi River Delta is flat country. Not a hill in sight. It is often way too cold or way too hot. But there is a subtle beauty to it. Large plantation owners used to rule this delta country and I imagine what it may have been like 100 years ago. I can almost smell the history as a thunderstorm rolls loud and black across the flats, creating waves in the wheat fields resembling a green tumultuous sea. From these former cotton fields came a new art form. Out of commerce, out of slavery, out of greed, out of necessity, out of Africa, came the BLUES. Yes, the music: blues, jazz, rock n’ roll, and rap came from these cotton fields. Out of these cotton fields and out of these little one-room churches came the voice of an enslaved people. The voice of the men and women that toiled in these fields is the blues, and it is still a voice heard around the world. —David Alan Harvey

 

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Photographs: Michael Loyd Young
Forward by David Alan Harvey
Published by powerHouse Books
November 2009
112 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781576875124

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