Featuring 40 stunning black and white photographs (and the photographer's own personal anecdotes) of blues artists BB King, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Luther Allison, Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy, Melvin Taylor, Robert Lockwood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Queen Ida, Charlie Baty, Precious Bryant, William Clarke, Albert Collins, Anson Funderburgh, Duke Robillard, Earl King, Joe Louis Walker, Katie Webster, Lou Ann Barton, Sam Myers, Roebuck ‘Pop’ Staples, Tinsley Ellis, Danny Gatton, John Hammond, Lil’ Ed Williams, Ray Charles, Roy Rogers, Otis Rush, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Buddy Guy, and a mystery musician!
If you have ever been to a cool blues club, like Buddy Guy’s in Chicago, then you got a history lesson: the old tube amps and guitars. Hell, just breathing the air in there makes you wiser. Ray Jeanotte’s photography is like that. He has witnessed an extraordinary number of blues performances, and photographed so many of the greats that it makes your head spin. These photographs are filled with jaw-droppingly beautiful guitars and faces that will cure your own blues (including a mystery face!) because what you see in the face of a performing blues man or blues woman is that of a fellow brother or sister letting go of the pain. Mr. Jeanotte captures that moment the way a National Geographic photographer captures the wing of a hummingbird. And he has a story for each one.
Marck L. Beggs
Truth is, blues is a kind of bloodletting—opening a vein to relieve and revive the body as it pours from the stage, stoop or alley. Like the Negro spiritual, its historic genesis is absolutely immutable: the institution of slavery and Jim Crow. And this is precisely why it has always needed to be a music of versatility, the plainspoken chronicler of lamentation and ecstasy, a universal music without pretense.
Ray Jeanotte, who has lived with this music for decades, honors it in his every image and engrossing commentary. This music and these noted performers have shaped his life.
Immediate, disarmingly warm and urgent, The Blues: A Photographic Tribute is his love letter to this music, some of its most remarkable performers, and, thankfully, the rest of us.
poet & composer