A loving and hilarious—if occasionally spiky—valentine to Bill Bryson’s adopted country, Great Britain. Prepare for total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.
Twenty years ago Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation's heart and became the best-selling travel book ever and was voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain.
During the last quarter of the 20th century, and thanks largely to Eric Clapton's remarkable devotion to his memory, Robert Leroy Johnson posthumously became the most celebrated Delta blues musician of the pre-WWII era. Among numerous editions of his complete works and various anthologies that combine his recordings with those of his contemporaries and followers, J.S.P.'s The Road to Robert Johnson and Beyond combines many of his essential performances with those by dozens of other blues artists from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Henry Thomas to Muddy Waters and Elmore James. 105 tracks fill four CDs with several decades' worth of strongly steeped blues that trace the African American migration from the deep south on up into Chicago. This is a fine way to savor the recorded evidence, as primary examples from Blind Blake, Charley Patton, Son House, Charlie McCoy, Walter Vincson, Skip James, Ma Rainey, Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Scrapper Blackwell, Leroy Carr, Lonnie Johnson, and Peetie Wheatstraw lead directly to early modern masters like Big Joe Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Bill Broonzy, Johnny Temple, Leroy Foster, Johnny Shines, Homesick James Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Snooky Pryor, Little Walter, and David Honeyboy Edwards, among many others.