TEXAS MUSIC by Rick Koster


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 Veteran music journalist Koster surveys music from the state with the most to offer. In addition to well-researched and historically savvy sections on country, rock 'n' roll, and blues, Koster tackles folk, ethnic music, a variety of black musical styles, easy listening, classical, and jazz. While some formats are inevitably relegated to, at best, a passing treatment, Koster is able to apply his amazing expertise about these forms and combine this knowledge with a smart and funny writing style. His special genius is his ability to link famous names with well-known songs where the relationship has previously been unknown. For instance, how many readers will already know that the Champs, who recorded ``Tequila'' in 1958, had Texans Jim Seals and Dash Crofts as guitarists--the same Seals and Crofts who went on become easy- listening stars in the '70s? His principal weakness is his seeming desire to cast everyone as a Texan. Jimi Hendrix, he points out, was not born, never lived, and did not die in Texas, but he did, Koster notes, once buy a guitar from bluesman Jimmy Vaughan. Robert Johnson is included because he made all his extant recordings in Texas, although he is most often associated with the Mississippi Delta players he inspired. On the other hand, Koster gives proper attention to ground-breaking Texas acts like the indescribable Butthole Surfers and Austin folkster Meredith Louise Miller. Koster also intersperses his text with boxed profiles of ``Criminally Overlooked Musicians,'' to bring attention to some truly influential artists who have gone unnoticed. A lively and affectionate study for music lovers of all stripes. (100 b&w photos, 7 maps, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18193-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1998


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