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Richard Koechli's books


Searching for the Blues

The whole truth about Robert Johnson and the Crossroads myth

Robert Johnson did not sell his soul to the devil. But how did he crack the Blues code...?  → book trailer (Youtube)

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While modern music historians have now almost completely stripped the Blues of its myths, award-winning Swiss singer-songwriter, slide guitarist and book author Richard Koechli gives him back the soul in a philosophical way. With a mystical story that deeply explores the question of what exactly might be behind the legendary „mojo“ of the great Blues masters.

Koechli embarks on a trip to the temples of the African-American musical soul, gets involved in strange thought adventures, meets all kinds of stars of Blues and Rock history – and in the end is haunted in a dream by the most famous of all Blues figures, by Robert Johnson (1911-1938). Johnson 'tells' him what really happened in Mississippi back then, how he got the Blues secret – and whether the devil really played a role ...

Richard Koechli: «The concept of my book may surprise, the subtitle ("the whole truth about Robert Johnson") even irritate. I didn't want to write a theoretical, bone-dry book about known historical facts of Blues history. My goal is to interpreting the existing facts and soulfully animating them on other levels. In literature, there are various narrative forms for this; meeting Robert Johnson in a dream does not mean to invent imaginary nonsense - it simply means that R.J. is speaking to me in a certain way through the known facts (within my personal dealings with those facts). Those who consider that Blues (as an example of soulful work) can be completely learned by practicing or via the academic/scientific route - will hardly be interested in this book. Blues greats like Robert Johnson proved and still prove that the whole truth is much greater ...»

A stirring story for all Blues lovers; full of light-footed poetry, spiritual depth and music-historical precision. You can feel in every line that Koechli is not a theorist, but a Blues artist down to the core.

Available as hardcover, softcover and e-book (english translation of the German edition):

ISBN Softcover: 978-3-384-04055-8

ISBN Hardcover: 978-3-384-04056-5

ISBN E-Book: 978-3-384-04057-2

The cheapest way to get the book: Pay 7 euros / dollars / pounds to, and you will receive a PDF e-book directly from the author within one day (don't forget to include your e-mail address!)


More books from Richard Koechli ...

An English translation of the original German edition is now available (hardcover, softcover, large print book, e-book); --> book trailer (Youtube)

Tampa Red - The Forgotten King Of Blues

The very first biography about the pioneer of Chicago Blues


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Hardly any book tells more about the history of Chicago Blues. Hardly any biography reveals more anecdotes and secrets of the Blues. Tampa Red (ca. 1903 - 1981) should be mentioned in the same breath with legends like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or B.B. King. For more than 20 years Tampa Red set the tone in Chicago; the first with a brass guitar, one of the first with an electric guitar, pioneering slide virtuoso, author of more than 300 song pearls, mentor of many later stars. But Hudson Whittaker, as his real name was, lost glory and health towards the end of his life, died lonely as a forgotten man. To this day, no comprehensive book has been published, no film, nothing!

Now, finally, this great gap in blues literature is filled. The award-winning Swiss specialist book author and blues musician Richard Koechli traces Tampa Red's life sensitively and historically precisely and prepares a worthy end for him with the help of a literary trick. Embedded in a fictional conversation with the young nursing assistant Anna and her music-obsessed friend Eric, Koechli lets Hudson Whittaker tell his own story right before his death: About life in Chicago, about love, about his music and his songs, about famous and less famous colleagues, about grief, despair, about the fear of dying – and finally about the happiness of reconciliation with his own history. "Thrilling like a thriller, touching like a drama, clarifying like a history book," raves the online magazine "With this book, Koechli makes public an important and hitherto hardly noticed chapter in music history; for Blues fans a bubbling source of knowledge with plenty of aha moments."

ISBN Softcover: 978-3-347-62428-3
ISBN Hardcover: 978-3-347-62429-0
ISBN E-Book: 978-3-347-62430-6
ISBN Large Print: 978-3-347-62431-3


--> Press Review

Holy Blues - The 400-year trip of a musical soul

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Two wonderful videos (for the songs "Feel Like Going Home" and "Schacher Sepp") were produced by "Relaxing Blues Music" (USA)!

--> "Holy Blues" wins the PrixPlus 2022 (Swiss art and culture award)

What do blues, jazz, soul, R&B, rock'n'roll, folk, country, rock, pop and hip hop have in common? Their origin, their fire! Holy Blues was the source of fire. Holy Blues, also called Gospel, is the source of all the roots music we love. The history of gospel music is 400 years old; its spirit even much older, and without it we simply would not be able to be enchanted by soulful music today. Reason enough to trace this good spirit. Award-winning blues musician and author Richard Koechli (Swiss Blues Award, Swiss Film Music Award, German Music Edition Award) sets out on an adventurous trip through American cultural history and shows with countless concrete examples how high the influence of faith on the music and its producers has been throughout the centuries, how decisive and mysterious the divine dimension shapes the music at every moment. Koechli does this in a double package: as a blues artist with idiosyncratic interpretations of timeless Holy Blues songs, and as a book author with an inspiring, 150-page history trip.

--> Video-Trailer    --> Book Cover (print/web)

Both offer surprises: The book takes a passionate, precise and sometimes new look at the 400-year journey of our music, and the album shows how independently gospel music can be interpreted without betraying tradition. Koechli relies on mostly acoustic slide guitar sounds - and contrasts! Sometimes meditative and without words as in the title track «Holy Blues» or in «Nishlam» (together with the blind musician friend Gerd Bingemann), then again as a laidback and blues singer as in «Feel Like Going Home» (in a duet with the renowned jazz singer Bruno Amstad) or even as a courageous acapella singer of little-known spiritual hymns - and last but not least even with an idiosyncratic, touching version of perhaps the only Swiss Holy Blues song, the legendary «Schacher Seppli».

«Holy Blues» is available in music stores (as CD & german book) and simultaneously in bookstores (as english book & mp3 download link).

Music Stores (CD & german book): Fontastix 324227, EAN-Code: 7640149284508, Distributed by:

Book Stores (english book & free mp3-Download):

ISBN Softcover: 978-3-347-62750-5
ISBN Hardcover: 978-3-347-62751-2
ISBN E-Book: 978-3-347-62752-9
ISBN Large Print Book: 978-3-347-62753-6

Digital Music Retail (Streaming, Download): on all platforms   



new book: MUSIC and TRANSCENDENCE – STORY OF A DREAM TEAM (the mystery of sounds, from Antiquity to Psychedelic Rock)


Richard Koechli's latest multipack - a book about music and transcendence (in a German and an English edition), and at the same time the psychedelic gospel blues album "Transcendental Blues". Plus an 8-minute video clip produced in the USA by "Relaxing Blues Music" and the single "Love endures everything" (radio edit).

--> Book & album trailer    --> Video clip "Love endures everything"    --> Download press release    --> book cover (print)    --> book cover (web)   --> album cover (print)   --> album cover (web)

Stream and download the album:


Order book (German edition) incl. CD (worldwide):  -->

Order english book (paperback, hardcover, e-book) incl. free mp3 download directly from publisher (worldwide):  -->  (scroll to the bottom (right) of the tredition website to change the language from " Deutsch" to English)

Order english book (paperback, hardcover or e-book) incl. free mp3 download from bookstores:                                                  

Music exhilarates, enchants, fires, liberates, calms, comforts, heals. Like hardly any other medium, it lets us take off into a world beyond time and space. How does it do that? What is the secret of sound? There are theories, suppositions and hunches from the most diverse fields, but in no epoch has it been possible to finally lift the veil.

Tenaciously, playfully and at times ironically, Swiss musician and book author Richard Koechli searches for answers as to how and why music touches us and, in the sense of "transcendence," even takes us beyond ourselves. What processes are going on there, in the brain and in the soul? How has all this influenced the history of humanity? Meticulously, Koechli examines explanations from musicology, natural science, psychology, music therapy, sociology, literature, philosophy, mysticism, spirituality and metaphysics. He passionately quotes legendary stars as they experience the magic. Concerned, he also asks why, since time immemorial, the "drug" of music is often not enough for us, why we believe we can top the high with some substance or occult practice. Last but not least, Koechli ends the 200-page adventure with a fascinating foray through the history of "psychedelic rock", because that music from the hippie era also taught him how to take off back then.

For anyone involved in music in any way. A relevant book because it multiplies respect for the mystery of sounds. A stirring one, because it takes the love for music to infinity.

In his role as a multiple award-winning blues musician and singer-songwriter, Richard Koechli combines it all with a very personal album: "Transcendental Blues", a complex musical trip through the ups and downs of being human.

Richard Koechli: "Both are an experiment; the book to get to the bottom of the millennia-old musical miracle as well as the psychedelic spirit of the hippies in an interdisciplinary way - and the album to reflect the roller coaster of life in a musical-personal way. The heart of the album is a 30-minute composition with mystical lyrics, divided into 6 scenes. The scenes are also on the album as individual songs, and beyond that the whole thing as an instrumental mix to chill out." 

"Originally, the project was created as a purely instrumental composition; different moods and scenes that blend into each other in a harmonically, melodically and rhythmically sophisticated way. Strong contrasts, which I connect pauselessly and fluently, partly underlaid with noises. In life there are no pauses either, everything contradictory merges."

"In the end, I felt like singing anyway and representing various emotional states lyrically as well. I felt the desire to dive into my personal spiritual home - which is why I referred to very specific Bible passages that mean a lot to me for a considerable part of the song lyrics. For example, the words about the nature of true love (1 Corinthians 13), which I quote in the song Love Endures Everything (the album's radio single), they are hard to top in terms of wisdom and poetic beauty."

The album has no direct reference to the book; "as a musician, I can't be a generalist and look for answers in different disciplines - I can only reflect completely subjectively in my own personal language as a blues and folk musician."

It's Koechli's most elaborate studio production to date; "more than 2 months went just into mixing the album ... - thankfully in my own studio, otherwise I would have ended up in jail long ago, heavily in debt, haha."

It was worth the effort, the album sounds excellent and very dynamic, also thanks to the fantastic collaboration of his long-time live musicians Fausto Medici (drums) and Michael Dolmetsch (piano, Hammond) and the very sensitive mastering job of Philippe Schneeberger (Lakeland Studio).

ISBN Softcover (incl. mp3-download): 978-3-347-92836-7

ISBN Hardcover (incl. mp3-download): 978-3-347-92837-4

ISBN E-Book (incl. mp3-download): 978-3-347-92838-1

Sponsoring: Many thanks for the generous support to Marlise and Walter Köchli (my parents), Thomas Bühlmann, Sylvia Frey and Cyrill Deschamps!


Slide Guitar Instrumentals - the mulitmedia playbook

--> Youtube-Trailer  --> reading sample

Richard Koechli's guitar book «Slide Guitar Styles» has been the standard work in the German-speaking world for over 20 years. Now the Swiss author publishes as a supplement a playbook with extensive practice pieces: 12 instrumentals from different styles (Blues, Folk, Pop, Rock, Country) with a medium to high degree of difficulty. Tunes that are fun to play and don't need to hide from the audience. The book is multimedia, with video and audio download, QR codes, additional e-book and trilingual translation.

ISBN: 978-3-7482-6698-3 (tredition-Verlag)




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Books translated in English ...



--> Video-Trailer BEST IN THE WEST   --> Video-Trailer MASTERS OF BLUES GUITAR

German Original Editions ...