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The Roundtable

Crossroads: Blues, Rock Forever Intertwined


In his new book, music journalist John Milward traces the evolution of blues music across American history, connecting the often long lost songs of sharecroppers to the rock and roll of bands like the Rolling Stones celebrated by white teenagers.

Milward, a Woodstock native, has been the pop music critic for the Chicago Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today, and his writing has also appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone. But in Crossroads: How The Blues Shaped Rock ‘N’ Roll (And Rock Saved The Blues), which is published by Northeast University Press, the idea of blues becoming pop music is often beside the point: many of the musicians and producers Milward features — especially in the early years — were has-beens and never-will-bes recording their music for posterity.

But in music, timing is everything. So when some of the record fetishists who helped give bluesmen eternity found fellow fanatics across the ocean in the form of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, the blues was given a second life it enjoys to this day.

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