Remember a piece of ersatz Country called ""Ramblin' Rose?"" Well, call these pieces of ersatz criticism-history Ramblin' Prose--the sort of ""new-journalism"" prose that shifts back and forth between plodding outpours of names and dates and ho-hum-hip jivin': ""Talk about honky-tonk heroes: Next to Jerry Lee, they're a bunch of frat-party pukers."" Jerry Lee Lewis? Yes indeed, since Tosches devotes much of this book on Country to Rock (""By the early thirties, rock-and-roll was more than a fuck-phrase""). The rest he devotes to Country's ancestry in English ballads (interesting subject demolished by unreadable, hyped-up style), to yodeling singers, especially Emmett Miller, to dirty songs (""Stained Panties and Coarse Metaphors""), to progress in recorded sound (a list of names and numbers), and to such down-home glimpses of the music biz as a girl singer in a motel: "". . . words come from the corners of her mouth thick and slow, like vomit from a man unconscious."" Them's dangerous words from a writer as thick, slow, and indigestible as Nick Tosches.