Henderson will probably make about 600 guitars in his lifetime. Get on his list, but don’t hold your breath.



Cheerful days spent in the company of master luthier Wayne Henderson as he oh-so-slowly handcrafts guitars.

Henderson’s guitars—there are fewer than 300 in existence, journalist St. John reports—are revered for the quality of their sound and workmanship. Described as a “Stradivari in glue-stained blue jeans,” Henderson, who lives in a rural Virginia town of seven people, is here portrayed as your standard slow-poking, generous soul, unawed by celebrity (Eric Clapton is among his clients), who just happens to know how to make wood sing. Sports journalist St. John (The Mad Dog 100, not reviewed, etc.) follows Henderson through all the steps, from choosing the wood (Henderson uses Brazilian rosewood and Appalachian red spruce, though readers will sense he could make a rotten stump warble) right through to the abalone and pearl inlays. Like the sculptor who sees the end product in a piece of raw marble, Henderson whittles away everything from a piece of wood “that isn’t a guitar.” St. John’s writing shares a deceptive lightness with Henderson’s guitars. There is a wash of fascinating material in these pages: playing techniques; guitar history (Les Paul made his first functioning electric guitar from a railroad tie); how to find the near-extinct rosewood without going felonious (Henderson located a stash when the floors of Truman Capote’s yacht were being replaced); and the pleasures of sitting in a cluttered workspace with a handful of friends, swapping jokes and stories.

Henderson will probably make about 600 guitars in his lifetime. Get on his list, but don’t hold your breath.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-6635-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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