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Thread: Reading suggestions

  1. #1

    Default Reading suggestions

    Hi all,

    With all the extra time that we pass home I happen to have more time to read. I just finish A bluegrass history by Neil Rosenberg and thinking of ordering Still inside the Tony Rice bio. But I like to hear your suggestions of book related to music or bluegrass that should be read and why.

    For my recommandation, I really enjoy John Duffey's Bluegrass Life.

    Stay safe,
    Charlie

  2. #2
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    A Bluegrass History was excellent. He also wrote Bluegrass: A History and that is fabulous!
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Satan is Real, by Ira Louvin. Top 3 all-time music read for my tastes.


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  6. #4

    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    It's only peripherally about bluegrass, but you might get a kick out of the coffee-table book Wayfaring Strangers, by Fiona Richie and Doug Orr.

    It traces the roots (and routes) of Appalachian music from Scotland to the U.S.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    There is also Neil Rosenberg's "Bluegrass Generation," a lively memoir of working for Bill Monroe and the early 60s scene. I really liked it.

    of course there is Mark Zwonitzer's biography of the Carter family, "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone." Really brings that era to life.

    Ray Allen's excellent biography of The New Lost City Ramblers, "Gone to the Country," captures well this seminal group in the old time revival.

    And for something a little different, I highly recomment Amanda Petrusich's "Do Not Sell At Any Price," a personal journalism account of 78 RPM record collectors that will take you to some wild early music recordings.

    Enjoy. I'm always looking for such books.
    Cary Fagan

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    The new book about John Duffey has a lot of interviews and history; a bit scattered and perhaps too much of a "fan" book, but if you want to discuss why Phil Rosenthal left the Seldom Scene, and other "hot topics," it's all in there.

    John Duffey's Bluegrass Life
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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Tom Ewing’s Monroe biography is a good one, have not started the Ralph Stanley bio.
    Currently I’m reading Jean-Georges Vongerichten biography “A Life In 12 Recipes” interesting.
    Jacques Pepin’s bio was a wonderful read, one of my favorite “celebrity Chefs”, it’s called “The Apprentice”. I seem to be on a more “gustatory” bend in reading.
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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Satan is Real, by Ira Louvin. Top 3 all-time music read for my tastes.

    I LOVED this book, could not put it down. I even bought a couple of copies as birthday gifts.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Great suggestion in the list.

    I'll check for Satan is real it pick my curiosity with all the message that have been leave.

  14. #10
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    “Working for the Man-playing in the band” by Damon Wood. He played for James Brown towards the end of his life.
    Now he plays with Whitewater Ramble
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  15. #11

    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Don't forget "Man of Constant Sorrow", the Ralph Stanley biography by Eddie Dean...

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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Steve Goodman: Facing The Music is really good. Another vote for Satan Is Real.

    No double entendre intentionally implied.

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  18. #13
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Blues Mandolin Man: The Life and Times of Yank Rachell by Richard Congress.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  19. #14
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    https://www.amazon.com/Claptons-Guit...4759643&sr=8-1

    ^^^ CLAPTON'S GUITAR by Allen St. John. Takes you into Wayne Henderson's shop and gives you a glimpse into not only a very interesting man (Henderson), but a very interesting way of life. The whole Clapton connection is almost irrelevant. Highly recommended.
    ...

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Yet another vote for Satan is Real. Really good.

    Would also add - Truth is Stranger than Publicity by Alton Delmore
    Last Night's Fun by Ciaran Carson. Irish music. With some US old-time thrown in. This one is probably my own favorite music book.
    Mayor of Macdougal Street - Dave Van Ronk. Folk revival from his point of view. Very individualistic.
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    I liked “Bluegrass Breakdown” by Robert Cantwell. It’s a little impressionistic, and somewhat dated now, but deeply knowledgeable and insightful. The subtitle “The Making of the Old Southern Sound” sums up what the book is about. Also, Tom Ewing edited an anthology of very worthwhile magazine and newspaper articles about Monroe called “The Bill Monroe Reader.” For banjo fans, “Earl Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” by Thomas Goldsmith, which is the closest thing I have seen to a Scruggs biography. A fun book published in the 80s that may be hard to find now is John Morthland, “The Best of Country Music,” which is a critic’s summary of the 750 best country recordings going back to the 1920s. It’s very opinionated but well written by someone who knows and loves the music. Finally, Bill Malone’s “Country Music USA” with a good chapter on bluegrass by the dean of country music historians. Get the 50th anniversary edition, co-written with Tracey E. W. Laird.

  23. #17
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    For really good deep dives into Southern regional music any of the annual Oxford American music issues are very interesting. Each one is from a different area of the south and comes with an excellent compilation cd of old and new music. Well written.

  24. #18
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Since this was posted in General Discussions, I feel no need to restrict myself to bluegrass/old-time titles. These are some informative and/or highly entertaining books on my shelves. It's been so long since I've read various jazz bios (Miles, Bird, Coletrane, Monk, etc. etc., I can't remember which ones were too dry.) Check your library's online catalog for availability. For more info on any of the titles, just see a description on Amazon.

    Fiction:
    • "Glimpses" - Lewis Shiner (sci-fi)
    • "The Commitments" - Roddy Doyle
    • "High Fidelity" - Nick Hornby (1995)


    Bios, Autobiographies, Memoirs
    • "The Real Frank Zappa Book" - Frank Zappa & Peter Occiogrosso (1989)
    • "Under A Hoodoo Moon" - Dr. John (Mac Rebbenack)/Jack Rummel (1995)
    • "No One Here Gets Out Alive" - Jarry Hopkins & Sanny Sugarman (1980, Jim Morrison bio)
    • "Billion Dollar Baby" - Bob Green (1974, on the road with Alice Cooper)
    • "White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s" - Joe Boyd (the guy who signed/produced Fairport Convention, Denny, RT, Nick Drake, John Martyn, etc.)
    • "Star Making Machinery: Inside The Business of Rock and Roll" - Geoffrey Stokes (1976, follows Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen)
    • Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out - Bill Graham/Robert Greenfield (2004)
    • "Life" - Keith Richards (2010) - The audio book on CD is excellent too, read by Johnny Depp who has Keith down.)
    • "My Cross To Bear" - Gregg Allman (2012)
    • "San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills" - Charles Townsend
    • "Bluegrass: A History" - Neil Rosenberg
    • "Temptations" - Otis Williams/Patricia Romanowski (the baritone singer/founder of the Temps)


    Other
    • "Lost Highway" - Peter Guralnick
    • "The Rough Guide To World Music" (various editions)
    • "Drumming At The Edge of Magic" - Mickey Hart
    • "The Music Lesson" - Victor Wooten (he's drunk a lot of Carlos Casteneda!)
    • "Rock School 1: Guitar. Bass & Drums" - edited by Chris Lent. (companion to the BBC TV series on the 1980s, explains how various genres are 'put together'.
    • "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung: The Work of a Legendary Critic" Lester Bangs, edited by Griell Marcus
    • "The Art of Rock" thick coffee-table sized book full of the highlights of poster artwork
    • "Album Cover Album, vols 1 - 5 etc." - Roger Dean/David Howells/others (Photos of some of the finest LP/CD cover artwork.
    Last edited by mandocrucian; Mar-21-2020 at 10:12am.

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  26. #19
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Lots of great suggestions, x2 on "Lost Highway" by Guralnick ^^. Another fun read is "A Good-Natured Riot - The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry" by Charles K. Wolfe. Great photos and stories about early Opry days & cast of characters.

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  28. #20
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Satan is Real, by Ira Louvin. Top 3 all-time music read for my tastes.

    I finally got around to this one. Read it via audiobook (the reader did a great job) and thoroughly enjoyed. What a crazy life, and what a mess Ira was, poor fellow. I enjoyed learning about Charlie’s life and travels, but I really liked his insights and thoughts on life sprinkled throughout. The bit at the end on aging was particularly good.
    ...

  29. #21
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Randy Wood The Lure Of The Luthier

  30. #22
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Fiction: Murder Ballad Blues, by Lynda McDaniel (set in North Carolina, mystery novel, main character is in a bluegrass band and plot involves old murder ballads).

    Nonfiction: Wayfaring Stranger, by Emma John (Entertaining laugh-out-loud chronicle of a British journalist's attempt to understand bluegrass and win a fiddle contest during her travels in the heart of Appalachian bluegrass and old time music country. Emma co-hosts "The Breakdown," a terrific podcast that discusses iconic bluegrass albums track by track.)

  31. #23
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Lots of great suggestions. Anything by Peter Guralnick is worth reading. So I'll just mention a couple that haven't been mentioned yet. There are so many.

    Charlie Parker has been written many times, but none compare to Kansas City Lightning by Stanley Crouch.

    A good bio was Bobby Keys' Every Night's a Saturday Night. Bobby Keys was a rock tenor sax player from texas who toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones during their semi-relevant years. Lots of crazy stories.

    Another really good bio: Leader of the Band: The Life of Woody Herman.

  32. #24
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    Butch Robins' "What I know bout what I know" gives a whole different look at working as a sideman for Bill Monroe.
    Just finished "The Life I have Picked" by John McEuen. Couldn't hardly put that one down.

  33. #25
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reading suggestions

    True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin is another highly entertaining book worth the time. Another of those you can't make up stuff like this. This book will make you either cry or have you in stitches, or both.

    True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass: Jimmy Martin

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