Knowledgeable but occasionally arcane collection of essays celebrating the Golden Age of ``old-time'' southern fiddling (192555). Old-time fiddling has an honored place in American culture and history: The industrialist Henry Ford recognized this and marshaled his resources to spark a revival of the art and to promote traditional values. Wolfe (coauthor, The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, 1992) originally published most of these essays in The Devil's Box, a magazine about old-time fiddling. (The fiddle was sometimes called the devil's box, Wolfe notes, ``because some thought it was sinful to play one.'') Like the magazine, this book caters to those with a substantial interest and knowledge in the field. Most of the essays take a scholarly approach to such things as discographies of unreleased ``sides'' by classic fiddlers or resolving the composition credit for ``The Black Mountain Rag.'' Those already familiar with fiddling giants such as Eck Robertson, Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Fiddlin' Powers, Doc Roberts, Clayton McMichen, Bob Wills, and Arthur Smith will find the level of detail satisfying; others, especially nonfiddlers, may feel awash in facts. However, there are revealing anecdotes throughout: Arthur Smith, for instance, once showed up for a photo session for the Grand Ole Opry in a suit and was forced to change into rural clothes (a more appropriate look, it was thought, for a country musician) and pose in a pigpen. The idiosyncratic Smith also once dynamited a fishing hole to guarantee himself a good catch. The great Clark Kessinger learned a few chops from the classical violinist Szigeti. Fiddling contests, the history of the Opry, and the early days of recorded country music are well covered. The collection provides a valuable storehouse of fiddling history, but copious research is generally undistilled. Not for the layperson. (13 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8265-1283-6

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Vanderbilt Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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