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The Gutbucket King Barry Yeoman

The Gutbucket King

Barry Yeoman

Published December 13th 2013
Kindle Edition
41 pages
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 About the Book 

In the 1950s, at the age of 14, Little Freddie King hopped a southbound freight train in McComb, Mississippi, fleeing the life of a sharecropper’s son in what was then the “worst part of the most intransigent state” in Jim Crow-era Dixie. Landing in New Orleans, he taught himself to play blues guitar, then found work performing at the city’s corner nightclubs, including one nicknamed the Bucket of Blood for its nightly eruptions of violence. Dodging bullets and drinking with abandon, he became a fixture in the subterranean blues scene. He played a time-breaking, low-down style of blues borne of a life of struggle, and followed a self-destructive course that ensured he never ran out of material. That is, until one drunken night, when his knife-wielding wife attacked him in a jealous rage, one of several brushes with tragedy that would change his life forever.Barry Yeoman, an award-winning journalist who began his career as a newspaper reporter in South Louisiana, first met King while making the 2009 radio documentary Still Singing the Blues. Since then, Yeoman has spent dozens of hours interviewing the bluesman, his friends and family. The result is an intimate and colorful portrait of one of New Orleans’ cultural treasures. Yeoman chronicles King’s journey from picking cotton in rural Mississippi to playing guitar on some of the world’s biggest stages, from spirit-seeing teenager who arrived in New Orleans with “not nary a copper cent” in his bib overalls to a self-effacing septuagenarian at the peak of his musical career – and one of the Crescent City’s last great country bluesmen. It’s a story about music, migration, race, faith, and resilience, and about the deepest of the Deep South during seven decades of profound upheaval.Barry Yeoman is a freelance magazine journalist and radio documentarian based in Durham, N.C. He specializes in in-depth reporting that puts a human face on complex issues. His work has appeared in OnEarth- Parade- O, The Oprah Magazine- The Nation- Saturday Evening Post- Audubon Magazine- AARP The Magazine, and many other national publications. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the prestigious National Magazine Award for Public Interest. Columbia Journalism Review, the nation’s premiere journalism magazine, named Yeoman one of nine investigative reporters who are “out of the spotlight but on the mark.”