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Pete Mayes and Joe “Guitar” Hughes, Houston, Texas, 1987. to mind an interview I did years ago with country musician and archivist Chuck Meade, of the group BR5-49, who told me, “The history of American music is that the black folks gave the white folks the banjo and the white folks gave the black folks the guitar, and that’s pretty much it except for the details.” Govenar fills in the details, illustrated and with footnotes. And then, for more than 500 pages, the artists themselves do most of the storytelling. The romp begins, fittingly, in East Texas, where in the days of Reconstruction untutored AfricanAmericans began to create something magical with mail-order acoustic guitars. Govenarand earlier archivists such as John and Alan Lomax, Mack McCormick, Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records, and Les Blankgot to know many sincedeceased authentic country “songsters,” including Mance Lipscomb and Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins, and preserved their music and their words for posterity. Of particular note here is a 1968 interview with Hopkins conducted by Blank on the interrelated topics of music and women. It’s the most hilariously misogynistic rant I have ever read, and leaves me wondering how the legendarily talented Hopkins survived to die of natural causes at the age of nearly 70 instead of being murdered by one of his numerous wives, mistresses or paramours. As marvelous as Texas’ acoustic country blues were and are, two things happened to move that sound’s fundamentals into the big city and around the world: the electric guitar and Aaron “T-Bone” Walker, who is given justified credit throughout this book as the father of modern Texas blues. In fact, my first quibble with Texas Blues is that photo by Alan Govenar someoneI suspect in the marketing department at A&M Presschose to use a photo of Stevie Ray Vaughan as the cover illustration. Stevie was an important Texas talent, no argument there, but T-Bone should have gotten the cover. The text repeatedly makes plain that Walker was the first Texas blues superstar, and a general to the regiments of postWWII musicians who spread the state’s native musical statement to the cultural capitals of California and New York and beyond. T-Bone also makes an appearance in a brief chapteressential to the narrative called “Electrifying the Blues,” which features profiles of Walker and three lesser-known talents of the pre-WWII Any Caucasian who has ventured into the field of African-American roots music has experi enced a moment or 12 when it becomes obvious that the old black folks think they’re dealing with one crazy white boy. 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 9, 2009