If you love the blues and/or American roots music, then this incredible book and CD combo should certainly be the cornerstone of your collection. Author Timothy Duffy has travelled throughout the country for the past 20+ years, discovering and documenting the wealth of underground blues music through his Music Maker Relief Foundation. This foundation also provides support for the artists who create this music, including shelter and medical care for those who need it.
The book / CD combo profiles a number of artists, including interviews and photos along with samples of their music. The artists run the gamut of the roots world from the fairly well-known, such as Taj Mahal and Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, to the relatively obscure, like Henry Stewart and Albert Smith. The photos are stark and emotional, presented in a timeless black and white---without seeing the dates you can't tell if they're from 1942 or 2002, a true testament to the ageless quality of this music. Most of the CD was recorded in various places on location, which gives it a nice homemade quality. It's not slick at all, and the music comes alive without the trappings of the studio. Raw and real, just like the blues should be.
Kudos to Duffy and the MMRF for going way out of their way to not only help these artists, but also for giving their work the respect and presentation it deserves.