Music lovers, and particularly those who abhor the fragmentation of the music business, will enjoy this intelligent study....



An informative and analytical look at the ongoing dysfunctional relationship between country music and rock ’n’ roll.

Early rock by Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, and virtually every artist at Sun Records had country roots, and there were numerous instances of country tunes becoming pop successes. But the country-music establishment faced a perennial dilemma: should it remain true to its traditional hillbilly roots, or change in order to be more marketable? Movements such as the Nashville Sound, engineered primarily by influential (and recently deceased) guitarist/producer Chet Atkins, created music that satisfied the country market without alienating urban pop listeners. Then a growing country-rock community took shape in the 1960s, and when Bob Dylan issued his Nashville Skyline album and appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969, the hybrid of musical styles entered the American mainstream. The journey of country-rock from Nashville to California, from Texas to Great Britain, is painstakingly and admirably traced by Doggett, former editor of Record Collector magazine, who gives proper credit to such obvious trailblazers as the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds, and Gram Parsons, as well as to less heralded musicians like ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith, Chris Hillman, and Gene Clark. Country-rock’s identity crisis has continued for decades. Artists who tried to be progressive were often faced by a backlash, and for every crossover success, there would be rumblings for a counterculture. Doggett’s text is marred somewhat by his tendency to jump from one time period to another in an attempt to acknowledge a trend or movement, but by identifying as many contributors as possible, he demonstrates that “identity is less a matter of what you are than what you are perceived to be.” A list of 100 recommended country-rock albums appears at the end.

Music lovers, and particularly those who abhor the fragmentation of the music business, will enjoy this intelligent study. (20 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-14-200016-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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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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