'I went to Africa to find the roots of the blues'. So Samuel Charters begins the extraordinary story of his research. But what began as a study of how the blues was handed down from African slaves to musicians of today via the slave ships, became something much more complex. For in Africa Samuel Charters discovered a music which was not just a part of the past but a very vital living part of African culture. 'The Roots of the Blues' not only reveals Charters's talent in discussing African folk music and its relationship with American blues; it demonstrates his power as a descriptive and narrative writer. Using extensive quotations of song lyrics and some remarkable photographs of the musicians, Charters has created a unique contribution to our understanding of both African and American cultures and their music.