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SOUTHERN SOUL-BLUES

Soul-blues fans will savor this love letter, but nondevotees will be left in the cold.

A well-reported but not entirely satisfying consideration of a hardy R&B subgenre.

Veteran blues observer Whiteis (Chicago Blues, 2006) examines a style, nestled not always comfortably on the cusp of classic deep soul and funky blues, which has operated mainly below the commercial radar since the late Z.Z. Hill put it on the map with “Down Home Blues” in 1981. The bulk of the book comprises lengthy in-depth profiles of seasoned performers Latimore, Denise LaSalle, J. Blackfoot and Bobby Rush and younger successors Willie Clayton, Sweet Angel, Sir Charles Jones and Ms. Jody; other progenitors and latter-day practitioners receive shorter entries in two late chapters. Whiteis also delves into the realities of writing for the genre, the intrinsic difficulties of marketing the music and vague possibilities for its future. While the author is clearly enthusiastic about his subject, he seems to be in deep denial about the real potential for soul-blues. As he notes repeatedly, the music has always attracted a middle-aged (and older) demographic, and even its youngest stars are in their 40s and 50s. It continues to survive on what’s left of the Southern chitlin’ circuit or on the occasional package tour or a small festival circuit. Major U.S. labels and big-market R&B radio have never given the style a tumble, and its artists must be content with selling their material either through smaller independents or via their own imprints. While Whiteis holds out some hope that soul-blues can sustain itself in the wide-open world of Internet music distribution, he offers no compelling evidence that this is actually a path out of the wilderness. And his maddening reluctance to offer album sales or radio-airplay figures only confirms the reader's suspicion that this is an increasingly marginal music that is playing to a graying, shrinking and narrowly circumscribed audience.

Soul-blues fans will savor this love letter, but nondevotees will be left in the cold.

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-252-07908-5

Page Count: 344

Publisher: Univ. of Illinois

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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