book review

Crossing Over: "Dreams to Remember" Book Review

Sep 3, 2015

In Dreams to Remember, Mark Ribowsky covers the Otis Redding saga beginning with Redding’s age-fifteen experience singing in the Macon, Ga. clubs with songstress Gladys Williams; moving on to work with showy guitarist Johnny Jenkins; and all-the-while observing the successes of fellow Maconites Little Richard and James Brown.

Soul music was just evolving from the rhythm and blues genre and riding the wave of rock and roll. Otis’ timing was good and his mentors in place, but his life was to be short. This life story is well-researched and documented.

In his new memoir, It’s a Long Story: My Life, Willie Nelson portrays himself as Texas outlaw, rebel, and anti-establishment musician with an enduring professional integrity. He began as a country blues guitar picker and aspiring songwriter. His singing was applauded by the locals in the Texas roadhouses and juke joints, and his friends said he had written some great songs. However, Nashville record companies rejected him.

Book Review: Santana - Pioneering Latin Rock

Feb 27, 2015

As I work through the autobiography of any rock guitarist, (e.g. Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and now Carlos Santana), I speculate on the actual writing involvement of the subject.

In this memoir, The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light, journalist Ashley Kahn and tour companion/musician Hal Miller headline the “Acknowledgements” page.

Review: Best American Essays 2013

May 20, 2014

The Best American Essays, edited by Cheryl Strayed, is an anthology worth reading if you enjoy the strictly personal narrative.  And, although the essays in the collection offer a wide breadth of writing approaches, there's a sameness to them that makes the 2013 collection less than rewarding.

The collection has a round up the usual suspects feel to it, as the essayists deal with the all-too-familiar and the all-too-ordinary.

Guns, Germs, and Steel - still valid?

Apr 16, 2014

In this book review, Dr. Robert Greer reflects on the 1998 Pulitzer Prize non-fiction book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

Does it hold up?  Are Diamond's late 20th century conclusions and forecasts enduring?  Click on the "Listen" bar above to hear Dr. Greer's view.

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