As a poet myself, I had a wonderful time reviewing Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry by Al Young. The title probably already tipped you off to the fact that every one of the 120 poems has a relation to the
blues, whether it is about the groupies, the gigs, the music itself, people who play it, or the lifestyle of those who live it. Most of the poems span
two pages; occasionally a poem will reach as many as three pages or only one page in
length. I appreciated the thoughtful choice of font size that is large and very easy on the eyes, allowing the reader to concentrate on the feeling the words invoke, rather than
on trying to read them. The author also includes a 16-page short story near the
center of the book entitled “Silent Parrot Blues.”
Young covers thoughts on society, music, genres of the blues, black culture and making love. He displays light humor in “Elevator Over the Hill,” and observations on life, people or situations in the city. I particularly enjoyed “April in Paris,” Potato Head Blues” and “You do All This For Love.”
Some of the poetry opens with a setting for the piece or quotations.
The book is accompanied by an audio CD with roughly 25 live and studio performances of the poetry and music. It
was a bit of a thrill for me to discover that a few of my favorite pieces in the book were also on the CD,
allowing me to experience them in a whole new way. The CD is stored in a clear plastic envelope on the inside of the back cover.
The author uses intelligent language laden with feeling and evoking imagery in the reader's mind;
this is probably why he has been California's poet laureate. Young also performed as a
blues musician for a number of years. Those who love literacy, poetry, the music genre known as the
blues, and fans of blues performers will certainly enjoy this book.