“To me, Howlin’ Wolf was a true Delta bluesman.”
Grammy-nominated, veteran musician and Delta native Lamar Thomas’ phonebook-sized historical commentary on the origins of American music contains biographies and Thomas’ own feelings on just about every person who ever came in contact with the Blues.
The Clarksdale native puts American music into perspective in the vast volume.
“Da Delta Black Music and Me!” runs nearly 500 pages, and it serves as comprehensive resource for anyone researching Blues artists and the history of the musical genre, while making a strong case that much of the music in popular culture over the last few decades was inspired, borrowed and oftentimes even stolen from the original Bluesmen of the Delta.
So much of our music was taken, borrowed, stolen, and then used as someone’s else “original” by unscrupulous promoter, singers and players who were not Black, that the truth is often time credited to others,” Thomas says of the music. But the truth is that, “the Blues and Black Music started and Changed everything”
Even though West Point is not technically considered a part of the Mississippi Delta region, the town was home to arguably one of the greatest musicians to ever play the Blues.
“I came to know Howlin’ Wolf’s music because of my dear mother, Rebecca,” Thomas declares on page 178 of his book. “She loved Howlin’ Wolf.”
The official biography of Wolf is just a page over, describing “Chester Arthur Burnett’s” birth at White Station, near West Point.
“The rough-edged, slightly fearsome musical sytle is often contrasted with less crude but still powerful presentations of his contemporary rivals,” the bio declares.
Thomas lists Wolf’s honors, achievements and even delivers a full discography to go along with multiple pictures of the artist. The same is true for the dozens of Blues and Blues-related artists Thomas features in the encyclopedia style book.
While the Beatles did invade America’s televisions and pop culture, as well as changing the way in which records were marketed, Thomas maintains the British group “changed nothing” regarding music.
The music of the Beatles and American artists like Bob Dylan has its roots in the Delta says Thomas, not in Britain or the “Village” in New York.
Thomas provides an oftentimes controversial but honest portrayal of the evolution of American music during the 20th Century. His book is accompanied by a documentary by the same title on a DVD attached inside of the book.
Coming up in the Spring, Thomas readies his second book.
This time the musician and author says he has found a deeper and more personal connection to Clay County, other than his love for Howlin’ Wolf’s music.
Giving few details at the time, Thomas promises a groundbreaking work.
“This book is going to be very eye opening for people in Clay County,” Thomas said in a phone interview last week. “It is going to ruffle some feathers.”
Thomas’ current book can be purchased at www.dadeltabook.com