Son House Bio, Preachin the Blues: The Life and Music of Son House


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Guitarist/vocalist Son House was a powerful, impassioned performer and a pivotal figure in Delta Blues.

University of Rochester professor Dan Beaumont has announced his forthcoming book, Preachin’ the Blues: The Life And Music Of Son House.

This is the first full-length biography of Son House, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2010.

About Son House
Son House was born approximately March 21, 1902 in Riverton, Mississippi. House’s life was one of “dramatic reversals.” Whereas a lot of blues musicians pick up preaching after they are done with their blues careers, House actually started preaching at the age of fifteen. Then around 1924 he developed an interest in the blues despite the church’s firm stand against it.

In 1928, he shot and killed a man. He later wrote a song about the incident. He was convicted and served his time at Parchman Farm prison in Mississippi. House then got a recording deal with Paramount Records in 1930, which turned out to be anti-climactic due to the Great Depression. He recorded again for Alan Lomax from the Library of Congress in the early forties.

In 1943 Son House left Mississippi, and moved to Rochester, New York.”

Nick Perls, Dick Waterman and Phil Spiro’s stereotypical sixties cross country trip in a red Volkswagen to locate the delta blues legend. Little is known about House’s actual journey to Rochester, but after he was located, he jumped back into the music scene and was musically active and touring until his retirement in 1974, when he moved to Detroit, Michigan. He remained there until his death in 1988.

About Professor Dan Beaumont
Dan Beaumont is currently an associate professor at the University of Rochester teaching Arabic language and literature. His interest in the blues led him to a desire to teach it. He was pointed in the direction of Eastman Professor David Headlam who also shares an interest in the subject, and together they created a course syllabus. He started teaching his class on the history of the blues in 2001.

He is also an author and documentarian. Relative to the blues, he made a documentary about Rochester blues man Joe Beard entitled “So Much Truth” and has just finished the manuscript which will become the book “Preachin’ The Blues: The Life and Music of Son House.”

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