‘Art of the Blues’ Compiles Visual Treasury of the Golden Age of Blues

A new book looks at the visual art associated with the blues over the course of its dynamic history.

Charting the history of blues through posters, album covers, publicity photos, label design and sheet music, Bill Dahl’s “The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music’s Golden Age” makes the case that blues music culture is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the ears.

  • 1937 Bluebird Record Catalog Cover

    1937 Bluebird Record Catalog Cover

  • 1930 Victor Race Record Catalog Cover

    1930 Victor Race Record Catalog Cover

  • Roy Milton - 78 Record Label – “Sunny Side Of the Street”

    Roy Milton - 78 Record Label – “Sunny Side Of the Street”

  • B. B. King - Publicity Photo - Hooks Brothers

    B. B. King - Publicity Photo - Hooks Brothers

  • Blind Blake - Chicago Defender Ad – “Dry Bone Shuffle”

    Blind Blake - Chicago Defender Ad – “Dry Bone Shuffle”

  • Ellis Auditorium - 1960s Music Poster

    Ellis Auditorium - 1960s Music Poster

  • Dinah Washington - Emarcy/Mercury LP Cover – “Sings Bessie Smith”

    Dinah Washington - Emarcy/Mercury LP Cover – “Sings Bessie Smith”

  • Rhythm and Blues Magazine Cover

    Rhythm and Blues Magazine Cover

  • John Lee Hooker - Crown LP - Fazzio Cover

    John Lee Hooker - Crown LP - Fazzio Cover

  • Sara Martin - Sheet Music – “’Taint Nobody’s Bizness”

    Sara Martin - Sheet Music – “’Taint Nobody’s Bizness”

  • Walter Davis - Publicity Photo

    Walter Davis - Publicity Photo

  • Louis Jordan – "Beware" movie poster

    Louis Jordan – "Beware" movie poster

  • Koko Taylor - Chess LP Cover

    Koko Taylor - Chess LP Cover

  • Peetie Wheatstraw - 78 Record Label – “Police Station Blues”

    Peetie Wheatstraw - 78 Record Label – “Police Station Blues”

  • Muddy Waters - Chess LP Cover - at Newport Jazz Festival

    Muddy Waters - Chess LP Cover - at Newport Jazz Festival

  • Tampa Red - Vocalion Race Record Sleeve - Tight Like That No. 2

    Tampa Red - Vocalion Race Record Sleeve - Tight Like That No. 2

Author-historian Dahl has written for Goldmine, the Chicago Tribune and Living Blues magazine. He joins us in conversation.

Read the introduction from “The Art of the Blues.” 

Reprinted with permission from The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music’s Golden Age by Bill Dahl, published by the University of Chicago Press. © 2016 by Elephant Book Company Limited. The University of Chicago Press edition published 2016. All rights reserved.


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