Sweet bitter blues : Washington, DC's homemade blues /

Publication Type:



Jackson : University Press of Mississippi,, United States, p.1 online resource (xiii, 259 pages) (2020)

Call Number:





(OCoLC)fst00835056, (OCoLC)fst00835072, (OCoLC)fst00951519, Biography., bisacsh, Blues (Music), Blues musicians, Blues musicians., fast, Genres & Styles, Harmonica players, Harmonica players., History and criticism., Music, Washington (D.C.)


Includes bibliographical references and discography.Foreword / Elijah Wald -- Preface / Frank Matheis -- Introduction -- Part one: Phil's story -- The early years -- The Cephas and Wiggins years -- Carrying on the legacy on my own -- Philharmonica : advice for harmonica players -- Part two: the DC acoustic blues scene -- Flora Molton / Frank Matheis and Eleanor Ellis -- John Jackson -- Esther Mae "Mother" Scott -- Wilbert "Big Chief" Ellis -- Bill Harris -- The Festival of American Folklife (Smithsonian folklife festivals) -- The Gaines Brothers -- An interview with John Cephas / Dr. Barry Lee Pearson -- Archie Edwards: barbershop blues / Dr. Barry Lee Pearson -- Eleanor Ellis -- Archie's famous barbershop -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Interviews conducted by Frank Matheis -- Discography -- Bibliography -- Index."Sweet Bitter Blues: Washington, DC's Homemade Blues depicts the life and times of harmonica player Phil Wiggins and the unique, vibrant music scene around him, as described by music journalist Frank Matheis. Featuring Wiggins's story, but including information on many musicians, the volume presents an incomparable documentary of the African American blues scene in Washington, DC, from 1975 to the present. At its core, the DC-area acoustic "down home" blues scene was and is rooted in the African American community. A dedicated group of musicians saw it as their mission to carry on their respective Piedmont musical traditions: Mother Scott, Flora Molton, Chief Ellis, Archie Edwards, John Jackson, John Cephas, and foremost Phil Wiggins. Because of their love for the music and willingness to teach, these creators fostered a harmonious environment, mostly centered on Archie Edwards's famous barbershop where Edwards opened his doors every Saturday afternoon for jam sessions. Sweet Bitter Blues features biographies and supporting essays based on Wiggins's recollections and supplemented by Matheis's research, along with a foreword by noted blues scholar Elijah Wald, historic interviews by Dr. Barry Lee Pearson with John Cephas and Archie Edwards, and previously unpublished and rare photographs. This is the story of an acoustic blues scene that was and is a living tradition"--"The first-ever account of the Washington, DC, blues scene"--Online resource; title from digital title page (viewed on March 31, 2020).