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Beyond the Crossroads New Directions in Southern Studies Editor Charles Reagan Wilson Editorial Advisory Board Robert Brinkmeyer Ted Ownby Thomas Holt Tom Rankin Anne Goodwyn Jones Jon Michael Spencer Alfred J. Lopez Allen Tullos Charles Marsh Patricia Yaeger This series is devoted to opening new lines of analysis of the American South and to becoming a site for redefining southern studies, encouraging new interpretations of the region’s past and present. The series publishes works on the twentieth century that address the cultural dimensions of subjects such as literature, language, music, art, folklife, documentary studies, race relations, ethnicity, gender, social class, religion, and the environment. The Devil & the Blues Tradition Adam Gussow The University of North Carolina Press Chapel Hill © 2017 Adam Gussow All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America Designed and set in Minion by Rebecca Evans The University of North Carolina Press has been a member of the Green Press Initiative since 2003. Cover illustration inspired by a still from the film Crossroads, directed by Walter Hill (1986). Library of Congress Cataloging-­ in-­ Publication Data Names: Gussow, Adam, author. Title: Beyond the crossroads : the devil and the blues tradition / Adam Gussow. Other titles: New directions in southern studies. Description: Chapel Hill : The University of North Carolina Press, [2017] Series: New directions in southern studies | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017002264 | ISBN 9781469633657 (cloth : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781469633664 (pbk : alk. paper) | ISBN 9781469633671 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Blues (Music)—Southern States—History and criticism. | Blues (Music)—Religious aspects. | Devil in music. | Johnson, Robert, 1911–1938. Classification: LCC ML3521 .G94 2017 | DDC 781.6430976—dc23 LC record available at The blues is nothing but the devil.­ —James “Son” Thomas This page intentionally left blank ...


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