MUSIC CITY BABYLON by Scott Faragher

MUSIC CITY BABYLON

Inside the World of Country Music
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A Machiavellian manual on what's really happening in the Nashville music industry--including the stars stripped of glitz. Here's a Nashville you've never seen. Everyone is smiling and looking good, but all--performers, managers, booking agents, investors--have so many stab marks in the back they look like shark bait. Faragher--who owns his own booking agency and has handled the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Ricky Travis, Lou Rawls, James Brown, and Fats Domino- -explains what really goes down in the deals, both legal and illegal. Just as Marc Eliot (Down Thunder Road, 1991) exposed the mechanics of the rock business's handling of Bruce Springsteen, here Faragher rips the top, sides, bottom, and doors off the whole double-dealing, byzantine country-music business. And he explains the trading pieces--the performers themselves--along the way. The performer Faragher lusted to represent was Jerry Lee Lewis, whom he revered despite Lewis being an ``egomaniac, a drug abuser, a heavy drinker...and having been married almost as many times as Henry VIII....'' Ricky Skaggs was ``the perfect example of an agent's nightmare,'' always whining and refusing to play where alcohol was served and cigarettes were smoked--although he did play for a Marlboro-sponsored concert for twice his usual fee. James Brown--called, according to Faragher, a ``Living Legend'' by the public but a ``Living Nightmare'' by those involved with him on a daily basis--insisted on being addressed as 'Mr. Brown,' and always pulled on a dirty white glove before shaking hands. Faragher also devotes a fascinating chapter to the ``hustlers of all shapes and sizes'' that fill Nashville. Most common among these are the ``wallet surgeons,'' who relieve the life savings of rubes who want to be stars. Straightforward writing, unique anecdotes, and everything you're not supposed to know about the music biz. (Twenty-four pages of photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1992
ISBN: 1-55972-134-0
Page count: 420pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1992