The Devil's Son-in-Law: The Story of Peetie Wheatstraw & His Songs by Paul Garon & Gene Tomko

Charles H. Kerr Publishing

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Blues-singer, songwriter, piano and guitar player, William Bunch (1902–1941) was well-known as Peetie Wheatstraw, the Devil's Son-in-Law and the High Sheriff from Hell. Long recognized by connoisseurs as one of the most influential blues people of all time, his life and work are little known to the broad public. Blues scholar Paul Garon's important and abundantly illustrated study—drawing on his own extensive interviews with Wheatstraw's relatives, and fellow musicians—brings the exciting Wheatstraw saga to life at last. With insight and imagination, Garon explores Peetie Wheatstraw's crucial role not only in blues history, but also in African American urban mythology, and—via a penetrating analysis of song lyrics—his appreciable contributions to blues poetry and to vernacular surrealism. Originally published in the UK in 1971, this substantially revised and expanded edition includes a mass of new information and images, as well as an updated bibliography, discography, and index.

Esteemed Chicago blues historian Paul Garon co-founded Living Blues magazine, authored The Devil's Son-In-Law: The Story of Peetie Wheatstraw & His Songs and Blues and the Poetic Spirit, and co-authored with Beth Garon Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues and with Gene Tomko What's the Use of Walking if There's a Freight Train Going Your Way? Black Hoboes & Their Songs.
Dimensions: 5.3 X 8.2", 138 pages
Materials: Softcover book


Charles H. Kerr Publishing
(South Chicago)

Founded by Charles Hope Kerr, a son of abolitionists, in 1886, Charles H. Kerr Publishing is the oldest continuously running radical publisher in the US, offering "subversive literature for the whole family." Close to the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World, Kerr brought out many Marxist classics, including the first complete English edition of Capital (1906–1909), as well as works by anarchist Peter Kropotkin, feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage, Irish revolutionist James Connolly, animal rights crusader J. Howard Moore, such noted U.S. socialists as Eugene V. Debs, “Mother” Jones, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Gustavus Myers, Carl Sandburg, William D. Haywood, Mary E. Marcy—whose Shop Talks on Economics (1911) sold over two million copies—and, more recently, Staughton Lynd, C. L. R. James, and Carlos Cortez.