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Women’s music legend Alix Dobkin for the first time chronicles her rise to fame as the first artist to record an openly lesbian album in 1973. Her story, however, opens much earlier in postwar New York City, where, growing up in a Communist family, she watches Jackie Robinson steal home, rubs elbows with radical Left celebrities like Paul Robeson, and comes of age under the watchful eye of the FBI. Dobkin herself joins the party at the height of the McCarthy witch hunts and offers readers a firsthand glimpse of daily life as a young person living under government surveillance. During this time she also matures as a devotee of folk music, having fallen under the spell of renowned performers such as Lead Belly and Pete Seeger. Yet it’s after she arrives on the burgeoning folk music scene of Greenwich Village, where she meets the up-and-coming Bob Dylan, Bill Cosby, John Sebastian, Buffy Ste. Marie, and Flip Wilson, among many other rising luminaries, that she achieves her first acclaim as a singer-songwriter. Her music takes on overt feminist dimensions when she joins a women’s consciousness-raising group and comes out as a lesbian. Rich in period detail, storytelling, and outspoken politics, My Red Blood is essential reading for lovers of music and history.
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