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An enjoyable slice of 20th-century music journalism almost certain to provide something for most readers, no matter one’s...

Music journalist and musician Wald (Talking 'Bout Your Mama: The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap, 2014, etc.) focuses on one evening in music history to explain the evolution of contemporary music, especially folk, blues, and rock.

The date of that evening is July 25, 1965, at the Newport Folk Festival, where there was an unbelievably unexpected occurrence: singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, already a living legend in his early 20s, overriding the acoustic music that made him famous in favor of electronically based music, causing reactions ranging from adoration to intense resentment among other musicians, DJs, and record buyers. Dylan has told his own stories (those stories vary because that’s Dylan’s character), and plenty of other music journalists have explored the Dylan phenomenon. What sets Wald's book apart is his laser focus on that one date. The detailed recounting of what did and did not occur on stage and in the audience that night contains contradictory evidence sorted skillfully by the author. He offers a wealth of context; in fact, his account of Dylan's stage appearance does not arrive until 250 pages in. The author cites dozens of sources, well-known and otherwise, but the key storylines, other than Dylan, involve acoustic folk music guru Pete Seeger and the rich history of the Newport festival, a history that had created expectations smashed by Dylan. Furthermore, the appearances on the pages by other musicians—e.g., Joan Baez, the Weaver, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Dave Van Ronk, and Gordon Lightfoot—give the book enough of an expansive feel. Wald's personal knowledge seems encyclopedic, and his endnotes show how he ranged far beyond personal knowledge to produce the book.

An enjoyable slice of 20th-century music journalism almost certain to provide something for most readers, no matter one’s personal feelings about Dylan's music or persona.

Pub Date: July 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-236668-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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