Mystery Train

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Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780452289185
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Plume Books - March 1st, 2008

Marcus's first book and one of his best. I love his fluid prose and the way he can write about music in a way that I -- a music lover who's a non-musician -- know exactly what he's talking about when he comes to a song. Here Marcus places rock 'n' roll into its proper place in American history and culture. Especially illuminating are the chapters on Robert Johnson and The Band, but the whole book is great. Related reading: American Humor: A Study of the National Character by Constance Rourke (Marcus writes the introduction to this New York Review of Books classic.)

The Rest Is Noise

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The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312427719
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Published: Picador - October 14th, 2008

We're unlikely to get any time soon a better account of music in the twentieth century than Ross' The Rest Is Noise. Here's a readable history of the convulsive innovations that began with the death throes of traditional tonality in the symphonic ouevres of Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler and continue to this day in such diverse works as John Adams' opera Nixon In China and the rock "art songs" of Sonic Youth and Radiohead. Ross traces with wit and precision the developments which have radically redefined the very notions of "music" and "noise", and the resulting works with which composers have both won and lost their audiences. A thorough, erudite, graceful and far-reaching book, and a particular treat for those familiar with Ross' articles in The New Yorker, where some of these essays first appeared.

With Strings Attached

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With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780345499783
Published: Ballantine Books - October 28th, 2008

This is THE guitar gift book for the guitarist in your life. Don't argue, just trust me. Jonathan Kellerman's guitar collection is exquisite, and the photography and everything else about this book is superlative. Any guitarist would be thrilled to have this on their bookshelves (or on their coffee table). I know I am. ~ Reviewed by Erik Barnum

Searching for Robert Johnson

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Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the
ISBN: 9780452279490
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: Plume - August 1st, 1998

This slim volume is an excellent introduction to the life and work of the man hailed as the "King of the Delta Blues" (all respect and deference to Charley Patton). Definitely one to pick up if you're a long-time fan of the genre or just getting into the blues.

Father Of The Blues

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Father Of The Blues: An Autobiography Cover Image
ISBN: 9780306804212
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: Da Capo Press - March 22nd, 1991

Handy's writing is highly accessible and a joy to read. His memoir brims with humor and humility. It's an excellent snapshot not only of the musical scene of the early 20th-century but of a time in our history where inequality reigned . . . but so did our country's native rhythms. Highly recommended!

Hallelujah Junction

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Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312428617
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Published: Picador - November 24th, 2009

An exuberant, rueful, funny, occasionally sobering and always engaging autobiography by the composer ofShaker Loops, Nixon In China, and Doctor Atomic. John Adams recounts his life and times, his education as a musician, his hard-fought achievement of the most versatile personal style in the much cussed-and-discussed idiom of minimalism, which in its pure form Adams has come to see as a dead end, as much of a dead end as the purist atonality espoused by the previous generation (Babbitt et al). Of particular interest are his generous assessment of the strengths and deficiencies of his fellow composers Steven Reich and Philip Glass, and his gradual understanding and enthusiastic embrace of a staggering range of cultural and musical influences. What is it like to be a composer working at the top of one's form as a new century begins? Adams' title hints at a joyous awareness of multiple modes of creative possibility, qualified by an acceptance of a present time and place characterized more by collision than cooperation. Hallelujah Junction is a vital report from the front lines of contemporary classical music.


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