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Beyond the Crossroads


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About the Author

Adam Gussow is associate professor of English and southern studies at the University of Mississippi and author of Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir.


By looking at over 125 blues songs, Gussow illustrates that the devil stands at the center of the black Southern blues tradition as a figure that sows trouble, wrecks love, but also gives power.--No Depression
Masterfully researched, impeccably well-written, spell bindingly interesting food for thought for curious minds. . . . An important addition to any serious blues reader's bookshelf.--The Country Blues
Gives blues fans plenty to ponder in this challenging book that doesn't back away from taking on some cherished parts of the blues tradition. Readers will be compelled to revisit some classic tunes to hear the songs with fresh ears, ready to garner new meanings based on the many forms of the devil illuminated in this work. Thanks to Mr. Gussow for attempting to get us out of our blues comfort zones, and for providing readers with well-researched concepts that invite us to do more than just listen to the music.--Blues Blast
Gussow's scope is broad and deep, impeccably researched and far too complex and thorough for a brief review to do it justice. . . . His central thesis. . . [challenges] much of the mythologizing of blues culture that has arisen over the years--and, by implication, the patronizing (at best) or downright racist (at worst) assumptions that have often accompanied it. . . . Gussow's analysis is prescient, and it adds significantly to our understanding of the texture and complexity of the bluesmen's art, its legacy and its meaning.--Living Blues
An excellent antidote to the mystification of the music.--Choice
Gussow asks. . .of all the many kinds of African American popular music, why is/was it that blues alone has been singled out as the devil's music. . .?--American Music
A model work of scholarship: years of meticulous and extensive archival work are the foundation for this multidisciplinary study that carefully and respectfully applies research in cultural history, anthropology, psychology, popular culture, film studies, and more to the use of the devil figure and related imagery within the blues tradition.--Journal of Southern History

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