Deep Inside the Blues: Photographs and Interviews, with Margo Cooper

Cover art for Deep Inside the Blues by Margo Cooper. A black and white photograph of a middle aged Black man in a plaid flannel shirt and a worn baseball cap, focused entirely on playing a wind instrument. His eyes are closed with emotion. The pipe looks to be a variety of wooden flute.Tuesday, February 20th, 2024, 6:30 pm

Margo Cooper visits Gibson's Bookstore to share her stunning new book of photographs and interviews, Deep Inside the Blues. Cooper will be joined in conversation by Holly Harris, host and producer of Spinning the Blues, a radio show airing Saturday nights on WUMB. Margo and Holly’s conversation will cover the musicians in the book, the music they made, the clubs in the Boston area, (including Harper’s Ferry, the original House of Blues, and Johnny D’s), and the clubs, picnics, and festivals in Mississippi and Helena, Arkansas they’ve attended, and Margo’s photographs. 

Deep Inside the Blues collects Margo Cooper’s interviews with blues musicians, most born in Mississippi, and is illustrated with over 160 of her photographs, many published here for the first time. For thirty years, Cooper has been documenting the lives of blues musicians, their families and homes, neighborhoods, festivals, and gigs. Her photographic work combines iconic late-career images of many legendary figures including Bo Diddley, Honeyboy Edwards, B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins, and Hubert Sumlin with youthful shots of Cedric Burnside and Sharde Thomas, themselves now in their thirties and forties. During this time, Burnside and Turner families and other Mississippi artists such as T-Model Ford, James “Super Chikan” Johnson, and L.C. Ulmer entered the national and international spotlight, ensuring the powerful connection between the authentic Delta, Hill Country, and Piney Woods blues musicians and their audience continues.

About the Author: In 1993, Cooper began photographing in the clubs around New England, and before long in Mississippi and Helena, Arkansas. Photographs of Bo Diddley, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin, and many others were taken in the Boston area’s popular blues venues. On her very first trips to Mississippi in 1997 and 1998, Cooper had the good fortune to photograph Sam Carr, Frank Frost, Bobby Rush, and Otha Turner. “The blues came out of the field,” Ulmer told Cooper. Seeing those fields, as well as the old juke joints, country churches, and people’s homes, inspired her. She began recording interviews with the musicians, sometimes over a period of years, listening and asking questions as their narratives unfolded. Many of the key players of the period have already passed, making their stories and Cooper’s photographs of them all the more poignant and valuable. 

“Cooper’s images remind us that the blues is as much attitude or way of life as art form…She sees herself as an advocate for the music, a celebrant, but not an apologist. Clearly, her photographs are a labor of love.” -Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

Can't make this event? Order the book through our website, and leave your personalization/signing request in the order notes!

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Event date: 
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
45 South Main St
Concord, NH 03301
Deep Inside the Blues: Photographs and Interviews (American Made Music) By Margo Cooper, William R. Ferris (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Margo Cooper, William R. Ferris (Foreword by)
$45.00
ISBN: 9781496847416
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Mississippi - November 21st, 2023

Deep Inside the Blues collects thirty-four of Margo Cooper's interviews with blues artists and is illustrated with over 160 of her photographs, many published here for the first time. For thirty years, Cooper has been documenting the lives of blues musicians, their families and homes, neighborhoods, festivals, and gigs.


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