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On Highway 61: 01/04/16

On Highway 61 by Dennis McNally

On Highway 61 by Dennis McNally is a history of Black music in the United States. The subheading is Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom which unfortunately seems to translate to white people "discovering" Black culture.

The United States has a terrible history when it comes to race relations. There's no way around that. History books are no better, putting the accomplishments of white men above all else.

I saw this book in the new books display at the library on the day I turned in the second volume of Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor. I've been trying to learn more about Hip Hop, Rap, and R& B because they're genres of music that have been pretty much off my personal radar. After a brief shuffle through the book, examining the many photographs and descriptions, I thought On Highway 61 might be a good book to connect the dots between the bits of music history I do know to the bits I'm learning about.

The book does cover rhapsody, blues, jazz and the men and women involved in the creation of these genres. But it's all done in the context of white men either inspiring the Black artists, or popularizing the music, or playing in black face (cringe). Basically the book seems way too focused on the white consumption of Black culture.

Three Stars

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