Arguably the definitive account book about the blues, Robert Palmer’s Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta explores the origins of the music and its transformation from early field hollers to electric blues. Detailed treatments of greats such as Charley Patton, Elmore James, Son House, and many others, this book is required reading for any student of American music. Deep Blues is like that old Norton anthology you remember from college literature courses. Sure, heavy-duty scholars may think other texts are more useful, but for most people it’s a great introduction. And for people interested in learning about the roots of one of America’s homegrown music forms, Deep Blues is one of the first places to look. Check it out here.