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Friday, December 16, 2011

Uprooted Music Revue's Favorite Books of 2011

For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who has been CONSUMED by music. By "consumed", I, like many of you, listen to A LOT of music every year. And in addition to listening to lots of music, I, like many of you, think a lot about music. I'm sure that we can all agree that this usually leads to all of us discussing the music that excites us, borrowing and lending of albums, practicing and playing an instrument, and even spending some time reading about music.

As a resident of Brooklyn, I spend a considerable amount of the time commuting between the five boroughs via subway. I ride the trains to work, as well as to almost every other destination imaginable that is not within walking distance in my neighborhood. And as a frequent subway rider, I am always sure to bring a book with me every time I hop the train.

So that said,  I thought it would only be appropriate, as a subway-riding "music-listener-player-writer-reader",  to share some of my most memorable reads of 2011 with the readers of UMR. I am guessing that if you're taking the time to read these posts on my blog, that you're probably a music nerd too, and odds are that at least some of you, still accumulate volumes of printed matter (and/or loading up your electronic readers). So if you are someone who, when inspired, will devote some amount of time reading about music, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite reads of the year.

If you are looking for an excellent new book to dig into (and/ or pass onto someone close to you who is musically-incline), here's a brief list of some of my favorites from 2011. And although this probably goes without saying: if you see a title below that intrigues you, and seems like it may be one think you would enjoy, take my word for it and go for it! These are all awesome, and perfect for subway rides, airplane adventures, interstate bus journeys, as well as for just lounging around relaxing just about anywhere.

Happy reading friends!

Alan Lomax: 
The Man Who Recorded The World 
by John Szwed 
(2011, Viking)

Mississippi John Hurt: 
His Life, His Times, His Blues 
by Dr. Philip Ratcliffe 
(2011, University Press of Mississippi)

Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? 
The Carter Family & Their Legacy in American Music 
 by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg 
(2004, Simon & Schuster)

Gone To The Country: 
The New City Ramblers & The Great Folk Revival  
by Ray Allen 
(2010, University of Illinois Press) 

Never A Pal Like Mother: 
Songs and Photographs of The One Who's Always True
(hardcover book w/ 2-CDs of recordings from 1927-1956)
Forward by Rosanne Cash
Essay by Sarah Bryan
(2011, Dust to Digital)

Hardcore Troubadour: 
The Life And Near Death of Steve Earle 
by Lauren St. John
(2003, Harper Collins Paperback) 

Music From The True Vine:
Mike Seeger's Life and Musical Journey
by Bill C. Malone
(2011, University of North Carolina Press)


I Listen To The Wind That Obliterates My Traces: 
Music in Vernacular Photographs (1880-1955)
(hardcover book w/ 2 CDs of recordings from 1925-55)
by Steve Roden
(2011, Dust to Digital)

House of Cash:
The Legacies Of My Father, Johnny Cash
by John Carter Cash
(2011, Insight Editions)

Ain't No Grave: 
The Life and Legacy of Brother Claude Ely
(hardcover book w/ CD)
by Macel Ely II, Ph.D.
(2011, Dust to Digital)

And.....Here's what's on my shelf for 2012 (so far):

Satan Is Real: 
The Ballad of The Louvin Brothers
by Charlie Louvin and Benjamin Whitmer
(2012, Igniter)


Country Music U.S.A
by Bill C. Malone
(1968/ 2010 Revised Edition, University of Texas Press)


Working Girl Blues: 
The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens
by Hazel Dickens and Bill C. Malone
(2008, University of Illinois Press)


The Land Where Blues Began
by Alan Lomax
(1993/ 2002 Edition, The New Press)


Crowe On The Banjo: 
The Music Life of JD Crowe  
by Marty Godbey 
(2011, University of Illinois Press)

Bean Blossom: 
The Brown County Jamboree And Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Festivals 
by Thomas A. Adler 
(2011, University of Illinois Press) 


  1. Mississippi John Hurt made a huge impact on me a few years ago. Might have to check that book out.