CHICAGO, September 19, 2018 – The University of Chicago Press will publish the official memoir of Alligator Records, “Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story,” on Oct. 30.
Few record labels have influenced the blues world as much as Alligator Records. And few people have worked with as many legends as Bruce Iglauer. After nearly half a century of a life immersed in the blues, now we get the whole, unvarnished story from Iglauer himself.
This is the first book to tell the whole story of the iconic record label. It is a remarkable, behind-the-scenes look at the highs and lows of the music business. And it’s a personal story of blues in Chicago and around the world.
From first hearing Hound Dog Taylor at Florence's Lounge on Chicago’s South Side to building Alligator Records one release at a time to running the biggest blues label in the world, Iglauer and Roberts take readers on a fifty-year journey through the blues from local Chicago bars to festival stages across the globe.
According to Iglauer, “We wanted to paint vivid pictures of the charismatic blues immortals that I knew so well, like Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, and Albert Collins, as well as to give insight into the creative process of planning and recording some of their classic albums. And we wanted to give the readers a close-up look at the exciting and visionary artists who are carrying the Alligator tradition into the future, like Marcia Ball, Shemekia Copeland, Selwyn Birchwood, and Toronzo Cannon. It’s also an insider’s look at how the independent record business has changed over the last fifty years, and how those changes have impacted the artists who create the music.”
Acquiring Editor Timothy Mennel said, “Iglauer has an unrivaled depth of experience in and perspective on the music industry in Chicago. His teaming with Patrick Roberts has led to a thoughtful and revealing book that brings the blues, blues musicians, and the blues business to life on the page.”
Bruce Iglauer is the president and founder of Alligator Records, the largest contemporary blues label in the world. He is a Grammy-winning producer and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997. Iglauer was a founder of National Association of Independent Record Distributors and is a cofounder of Living Blues magazine. He is also a founder of the Chicago Blues Festival and codirector of the Blues Community Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting blues music education and assisting blues musicians and their families who are in need. He received the American Association For Independent Music (A2IM) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
Patrick A. Roberts is associate professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. He is coauthor of Give ‘Em Soul, Richard! Race, Radio, and Rhythm and Blues in Chicago.
“Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story”
By Bruce Iglauer and Patrick A. Roberts
US publication: October 30, 2018 | International publication: November 5, 2018
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-226-12990-7 | $30.00 | £20.00 | €27.00
Advance Praise for “Bitten by the Blues”
“Blues and gospel have always been first cousins, and Bruce was as supportive and gracious to me as you could imagine, always willing to offer his insight and expertise. He's been a true friend of the blues and independent music.”—Mavis Staples
“This book is long overdue. Alligator Records has been a cornerstone of the blues world for over four decades. The stories about the artists and sessions that have paved the way for so many others are a pleasure to read. As an Alligator artist, I am truly grateful for what Bruce and Alligator Records have done for me and this genre.”—Shemekia Copeland
“Bruce and his history with Alligator Records encompass so much of the richest and most exciting eras of urban blues. All the fascinating stories and behind-the-scenes intrigues are here, and the indelible legacy of his commitment to this music and the artists he cares so passionately about makes this a terrific, important read.”—Bonnie Raitt
“When I was about twenty years old, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers were my imaginary best friends. They were with me everywhere I went because I always had my portable CD player with me. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be in this business if Bruce hadn’t released those first two Hound Dog records. The fire Bruce captured on those records is the magic place I’m reaching for every time I’m in my studio.”—Dan Auerbach, The Black Keys
“In many ways the story of Alligator Records is the story of the blues over the last fifty years. 'Bitten by the Blues' is the saga of Alligator Records through the eyes of the one person who knows it best—label founder and owner Bruce Iglauer. With his tough business mind, coupled with an often self-effacing sense of humor, Iglauer tells the tale of the Gator with candor and clarity. From the first Hound Dog Taylor record that launched the label, to the meteoric success of artists like Luther Allison and Shemekia Copeland, Alligator Records has, in many ways, defined success in the blues world. 'Bitten by the Blues' is an eye-opening look at one of the most popular independent blues labels in history.”—Brett J. Bonner, editor, Living Blues magazine
Source: The University of Chicago Press
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