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Thread: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

  1. #26
    Groucho Marxist Geordie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    For something a little different, try Robert Crumb's "Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country". Each page has a drawing of the artist(s) by Crumb as well as a little writeup/biography of each. Plus, the book comes with a CD with some really great early music on it. I really learned a lot about 20s and 30s music and discovered some musicians that I would never have heard about without this book. Thanks, Mr. Crumb!

    http://www.amazon.ca/Crumbs-Heroes-B.../dp/0810930862
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  2. #27

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Bump for any new suggestions this year!!

  3. #28

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    I read this book a while back. Sort of like reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" in order to learn about zen and motorcycle maintenance.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Hall View Post
    "Clapton's Guitar" is a great biography of Wayne Henderson. Wayne is an excellent player, a legendary guitar/mandolin maker and a remarkable person. The book chronicles his making a guitar for Eric Clapton but the book isn't really about the guitar.

  4. #29
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    "Genesis of a Music" by visionary composer/theorist/instrument creator Harry Partch

    "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony and Why You Should Care" by Ross Duffin

    "The Story of A: a History of Performing Pitch" by Bruce Haynes

    "The End of Early Music" by Bruce Haynes

    "The Oxford History of Western Music" by Richard Taruskin

    "A History of Western Music" by J. Peter Burkholder
    Roger Landes
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    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
    http://www.halleonard.com/product/vi...?itemid=696348
    "House to House" with Randal Bays
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    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
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  5. #30
    Registered User Pete Braccio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Pete Braccio

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  6. #31
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    I second Ciaran Carson's Last Night's Fun for Irish Music. Its a lot of fun to read.

    And I highly recommend Charlie Louvin's Satan is Real which I read on Scott's recommendation, and absolutely loved.

    And for pure pre-interenet fun, I re-read what copies I have of Mandolin World News and Mandocrucian's Digest.

    Some other recommendations.

    Bluegrass, by Bob Artis, to me it was more informative than entertaining, but I throw it out there.

    Less mando-centric and more Irish Music, I really liked See You at the Hall, by Susan Gedutis, which is a description of Boston's Golden Era of Irish music and dance.

    Music and the Making of a New South, by Gavin Campbell is a fascinating history of Atlanta Georgia from a musical perspective, 1890 to 1925, and includes a lot of material on the Georgia Old-Time Fiddler's Convention, which is almost required reading for those into old time music.

    I loved Cecil Brown's Stagolee Shot Billy, which is the story of the historical events behind the famous folk song.

    The Beautiful Music All Around Us by Stephen Wade is the fascinating back stories of some great Library of Congress field recordings. Of particular interest to old time music enthusiasts are the chapters on Bill Stepp, Pete Steele, and Texas Gladden, though the whole book is a great fascinating read.
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  8. #32
    Registered User Chris "Bucket" Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Come Hither to Go Yonder by Bob Black is my favorite "I worked for Bill Monroe" story-book.
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  9. #33
    Mandolin Apprentice joni24's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    I found a book called "The Talent Code", by Daniel Coyle, to be very influential in my mandolin journey. It teaches short-cuts to "growing talent" in almost anything that you want to learn. Having just started mandolin in my mid 60's, I need all the help I can get to fastpath the learning process. The book hinted at how to "deep practice", or focus on those areas, passages, licks, etc which cause you the most problems. So far it seems to have made a difference in my learning process, plus the book is an insightful read on its own.
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  10. #34

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Geordie View Post
    For something a little different...

    Talking Music: Conversations With John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, And 5 Generations Of American Experimental Composers Duckworth

    Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation critical essays

    Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra Szwed

    Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play - Watson

  11. #35

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Like the replies suggest read about the founders of Bluegrass. Satan is Real is a great short read as all the Bill Monroe, Stanley Graves etc. books. Reading allows a clearer view of the dedication to there art and talents.
    I highly suggest King of the Road / Roger Miller. Not Mandolin or Bluegrass related but a great funny reminder of Country Music in the 60's and 70's.

  12. #36

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    How about "Bluegrass" by Bob Artis, published around 1975?

  13. #37
    George Wilson GRW3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    To understand the culture from whence Bluegrass sprung, try reading Born Fighting by Jim Webb. It's the history of the Scots Irish in America. I not only found it insightful on this topic but it helped me understand my family (mother's side) better.
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    roy acuff smokey mountain boy phenomenal just like himself

  15. #39
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch
    Casals and the Art Of Interpretation
    The Real Frank Zappa Book
    I laid the tracks, never rode the train.

  16. #40
    Registered User DSDarr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Graphic novel about The Carter Family....

    -David

  17. #41
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Two of the best autobiographies I've ever read, music or otherwise: The Mayor of McDougal Street by Dave van Ronk and Society's Child by Janis Ian. Neither one will let you go until you finish it.

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  19. #42
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    You folks convinced me. Started reading "Satan is Real" last night...really engaging.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  20. #43
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Altough it is not a music book, I would recomend "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazer. It has Old Time muscians as main characters and is a great read. I would also recomend getting the "Music from Cold Mountain" recording that Tim O'Brian and Dirk Powell did that features tunes from the novel.
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  21. #44
    Howling at the moon Wolfboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Another good read that'll get you thinking about music in general: To a Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road by Wynton Marsalis.

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  23. #45
    Registered User jeromie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Since we've strayed from only recommending books in the bluegrass/folk music tradition, I'll throw in a couple of books I've enjoyed recently:

    An interesting read on the Bach Cello Suites, which many of us have tried our hand at:
    The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin

    I found this a fun read about the science and myths behind musical instrument construction. Sadly, no Loar content:
    Stradivari's Genius: Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection by Tony Faber

  24. #46
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Quote Originally Posted by jeromie View Post
    An interesting read on the Bach Cello Suites, which many of us have tried our hand at:
    The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin
    That is a wonderful book. I second the motion.
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  25. #47

    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Positively Fourth Street by David Hajdu Gives detailed and beautifully written accounts of the lives Bob Dylan, Joan Baez along with Mimi and Richard Farina in those early, heady days of folk music glory in Greenwich Village. It covers the early 1960's when things were still pure and ideal but shows its cultural heroes fell short of that mark.

  26. #48
    Registered User Josh Kaplan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    Thanks for these great suggestions. I have made a couple of trips to the library to find some of them.

    Here's my recommendation. Greenback Dollar: The Incredible Rise of the Kingston Trio by William Bush, published earlier this year, will be of interest to many here.

    From the introduction:
    "From the outset, it was fashionable among critics, performers, and folk scholars to diminish The Kingston Trio's legitimacy and influence. . . . Maybe the Trio made it look too easy. Seemingly overnight, three unknown college kids arrived on the scene and changed everything. Who did they think they were, preempting authentic performers and getting rich off of 'our' music? What right did they have? What dues had they paid? While much of the Trio's appeal lay in the music's apparent simplicity, there was nothing simple or overnight about their success. Every aspect of their career was shrewdly calculated and meticulously planned. Nothing was left to chance. . . Still, on a primary level, The Kingston Trio were based on perhaps the purest, most natural of foundations--their friendship [although the book documents arguments among them on almost every page]. Sure they were groomed and polished. But most of their 'act' was no act at all. It was an extension of who they were as people. . . Their critics notwithstanding, the Trio's enormous popularity was ultimately grounded on their enormous talent, both individually and as a group."

    I highly recommend this book.

    -Josh

  27. #49
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    To read about Bluegrass music,it's history,social background & development,there's only one book for that,Neil Rosenberg's book - "Bluegrass - A History" - priceless !. There's a new 20th anniversary edition out right now. Neil's other book in collaboration with Carl Fleischhaur - "Bluegrass Odyssey" with it's 203 photos is also worth having. I really must buy it myself !,
    I just found this book available on Amazon - "Gone To The Country" - I think this is going to be on my list as well.I've seen these guys over here in the UK many times in the distant past & got to know Mike Seeger very well.If the book's half as interesting & informative as Mike was,it'll be a gem !!,
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  28. #50
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    Default Re: Good Reading Material? Not Instructional/Theory Books

    I'm recommending 'In Search of the Blues' by Marybeth Hamilton. http://www.amazon.com/In-Search-Blue.../dp/0465018122

    In this book explores the influence that early, predominantly white, musicologists and record collectors may have had in the development of the Blues and early Jazz.

    Though it has an academic aspect, its not at all dry. Its basic form is a travelogue intertwined with a collection of five main biographies, the most recognisable being John Lomax Snr. and their relation and influence on the development of the idea and ideals of the blues and jazz as modern musical genres. It argues that their championing of certain qualities over others, rural versus urban, raw versus technically accomplished, acoustic versus electric, male blues singers over female blues singers for example, helped to shape a reception to the blues which stands to this day.

    Exploring how an audiences reception can help determine a music genre is an interesting argument - and controversial for some, no doubt - but it is one that often finds form and voice here on the cafe, so, for me, it is interesting to have read Hamilton's account - it might not sit well with everyone but it will get you thinking... if only to try and refute it.

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