BLUES BEFORE SUNRISE: the Radio Interviews Steve Cushing University of Illinois Press (2010)
The title of the book is self-explanatory – Cushing has been doing a blues radio show for WBEZ in Chicago for thirty years, one that was nationally syndicated in 1990, and has had many a performer or other mover & shaker interviewed for his show. This book is what it says it is – a collection of a selection of a dozen interviews done on/for his program. In the main, performers, but producers Ralph Bass, and Cadillac Baby are there, as is Chicago-based DJ Richard Stamz (about whom there is a new autobiography: Give ‘Em Soul, Richard: Race, Radio, & Rhythm & Blues in Chicago – University of Illinois Press  Chicago.)!
The interviews run the gamut from smoke and mirrors to solid information, always the way it goes with interviews! Truth be told, I’m sure that Cushing has hundreds times more equally valid interviews that could have been chosen – an interesting book to drop in on from time to time. Tommy Brown, Grey Ghost, Johnny Williams are just a few of the subjects – I hope that there is an archive of his materials somewhere safe. If you are interested in what the real folks had to say, this is a decent place to turn. Each entry has a photo of the subject as well; worth your dollars, I’d say.
PETER B. LOWRY