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Highway 61 – the legendary Blues Highway and route taken by modern-day blues pilgrims on their journey south into the Mississippi Delta. Littered with iconic place names and immortalised in the songs of the Deep South, the great river road was taken by countless African Americans in search of the promise of work in the northern cities and escape from the legacy of slavery and hardship of the rural south. Highway 61 draws on the work of the early musicologists looking for an authentic delta folk music in the 1930s, to the campaigns of the Popular Front in the ’40s as it sought a musical form arising from the struggles of a newly emerging black American proletariat, through to the young white musicians who brought their awareness of blues back to the States from England in the sixties. A heady mix of blues and civil rights unfolds as the reader accompanies the author on a southbound journey from Chicago, known as the ‘blues capital of the world’, to New Orleans, the city close to the place Chuck Berry once referred to as ‘the gateway from freedom’. For anyone embarking on the journey this is essential reading that ensures the blues pilgrim gets the most from the land where blues began. Derek Bright is a British researcher and blues musician, and author of The Pilgrims’ Way: Fact and Fiction of an Ancient Trackway. He travels to many of the famous blues festivals of America’s deep south, on a journey that uncovers the histories of the African Americans who made the blues.