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

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DYLAN GOES ELECTRIC!

NEWPORT, SEEGER, DYLAN, AND THE NIGHT THAT SPLIT THE SIXTIES

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 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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