BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Talking With the Legends of Country Music by Alanna Nash

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: Talking With the Legends of Country Music

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A huge (576 pp.) book of interviews with country-music performers. Nash, who after this might be pegged the Oriana Fallaci of Nashville, is the author of Dolly Parton and the current Golden Girl: The Story of Jessica Savitch (p. 1132). These are in-depth conversations (each interview averages about 20 pages) with most of the legends of country music (Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, Jr., etc.) as well as many newer stars (Rosanne Cash, Lacy J. Dalton, Reba McEntire, Alabama, etc.). Since Nash remains on fairly safe ground with most of them, choosing not to get too rough, the conversations often read like publicity interviews. Even controversial characters like David Allan Coe (who at one time claimed seven wives and recorded a song entitled ""Honey, Don't You Lay Your Shit On Me"") get patsy questions, such as ""How do you want people to think of you?"" (On the other hand, Nash's interview with Willie Nelson is considerably more revealing than his own current autobiography, Willie, p. 1220.) Nash's two-to-four page introductions to each interview are often more interesting than the interviews themselves, as she offers capsule summaries of each star's career. There, we learn such nifty facts as that Ronald Reagan, while governor of California, granted Merle Haggard a full pardon for the singer's earlier adventures in burglary, which landed him in solitary confinement (where he conversed through a vent system with Caryl Chessman). Country-music fans will probably consider this a gold hit. But for most others, it will seem approximately twice as long as it is tolerable.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1988
ISBN: 0815412584
Publisher: Knopf