Spinning Blues Into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records

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9781771520065: Spinning Blues Into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records

Sun Records gave us rock and roll, Motown Records gave us pop soul, and Chess Records gave us the blues. Chess was THE label for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Etta James, and Bo Diddley--and in this critically acclaimed history we learn the full story of this legendary label. The greatest artists who sang and played the blues made their mark with Leonard and Phil Chess, whose Chicago-based record company was synonymous with the sound that swept up from the South, embraced the Windy City, and spread out like wildfire into mid-century America. Spinning Blues into Gold is the impeccably researched story of the men behind the music and the remarkable company they created. Chess Records--and later Checker, Argo, and Cadet Records--was built by Polish immigrant Jews, brothers who saw the blues as a unique business opportunity. From their first ventures, a liquor store and then a nightclub, they promoted live entertainment. And parlayed that into the first pressings sold out of car trunks on long junkets through the midsection of the country, ultimately expanding their empire to include influential radio stations. The story of the Chess brothers is a very American story of commerce in the service of culture. Long on chutzpah, Leonard and Phil Chess went far beyond their childhoods as the sons of a scrap-metal dealer. They changed what America listened to; the artists they promoted planted the seeds of rock 'n' roll--and are still influencing music today. In this illustrated book, Cohodas expertly captures the rich and volatile mix of race, money, and recorded music. She also takes us deep into the world of independent record producers, sometimes abrasive and always aggressive men striving to succeed. Leonard and Phil Chess worked hand-in-glove with disenfranchised black artists, the intermittent charges of exploitation balanced by the reality of a common purpose that eventually brought fame to many if not most of the parties concerned. From beginning to end, as we find in these pages, the lives of the Chess brothers were socially, financially, and creatively entwined with those of the artists they believed in.

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About the Author :

Nadine Cohodas is the author of Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change and The Band Played Dixie: Race and Liberal Conscience at Ole Miss.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

Leonard and Phil made little distinction between office and home. Family was business and vice versa. So it was not surprising that Marshall's bar mitzvah on April 17, 1955, became something more than a traditional worship service. A centuries old ritual combined with present day business, the event became an R&B convention, Hebrew chants mixed in with blues. Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler from Atlantic Records and disc jockey Alan Freed and his wife came from New York. Randy Woods of Randy's Record shop and Dot Records came from Gallatin, Tennessee; disc jockey Zenas Sears came from Atlanta, WLAC's Gene Nobles came from Nashville, Record presser Buster Williams and his wife came from Memphis, and so did a host of Chicago area music makers including prominent black disk jockeys Sam Evans, Al Benson and McKie Fitzhugh, and some of the Chess musicians. It was one of the few times blacks came to a worship service at Agudath Achem, the family's synagogue.

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Nadine Cohodas
Edité par Iconoclassic Books (2012)
ISBN 10 : 177152006X ISBN 13 : 9781771520065
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Description du livre Iconoclassic Books, 2012. Paperback. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire M177152006X

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Nadine Cohodas
Edité par Iconoclassic Books (2012)
ISBN 10 : 177152006X ISBN 13 : 9781771520065
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Description du livre Iconoclassic Books, 2012. Paperback. État : Brand New. 494 pages. 9.00x1.12x6.00 inches. In Stock. N° de réf. du libraire zk177152006X

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