AMATEUR NIGHT AT THE APOLLO: Ralph Cooper Presents Five Decades of Great Entertainment by Ralph with Steve Dougherty Cooper

AMATEUR NIGHT AT THE APOLLO: Ralph Cooper Presents Five Decades of Great Entertainment

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sunny autobiography by the emcee of Wednesday Amateur Nights at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. For 50 years, the Apollo has dominated the East Coast hip/soul music scene. Cooper sees it as a musical paradise, home of ""the smartest, rowdiest, hell-raisingest, and most knowledgeable audience in show business,"" the spot where so many great black performing artists hoisted their stars. Memories of musical giants--Little Anthony, Otis Redding, Dionne Warwick, Harry Belafonte, Michael Jackson, dozens more--in their pygmy days fill the text. So too do salutes to Harlem (""where everything cool in our culture first got hot""), defunct nightspots, and ""enticing chorus girls,"" along with reminiscences of Cooper's Hollywood days, where he was known as ""Dark Gable."" Abetted by People magazine senior writer Dougherty, Cooper aims for a hip-hop style (""Oh, and do dig those new, high-style scalps!""), sometimes hobbled by clichÉ (""Cab was a beautiful person""). Best advice: skim the words and linger over the 75 b&w period photos (Pig-meat Markham, Sarah Vaughan, etc.). A cakewalk down Harlem's Memory Lane. Relentlessly upbeat; also utterly conventional underneath all the tinsel.

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 1990
Publisher: HarperCollins