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"Blues, being the wellspring of all American music for over a century, is always worth studying. Robert does it right." --Keith Richards
"An emotional map of musical Memphis. If you don't know these characters, let Robert Gordon introduce you." --Elvis Costello
"Robert Gordon's book is proof that Southern heritage is American heritage, and all sorts of people--black and white, familiar and strange, dead and alive--are what it is." --Greil Marcus
Profiles and stories of Southern music from the acclaimed author of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion.
The fabled city of Memphis has been essential to American music--home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, a soul music capital. We know the greatest hits, but celebrated author Robert Gordon takes us to the people and places history has yet to record. A Memphis native, he whiles away time in a crumbling duplex with blues legend Furry Lewis, stays up late with barrelhouse piano player Mose Vinson, and sips homemade whiskey at Junior Kimbrough's churning house parties. A passionate listener, he hears modern times deep in the grooves of old records by Lead Belly and Robert Johnson.
The interconnected profiles and stories in Memphis Rent Party convey more than a region. Like mint seeping into bourbon, Gordon gets into the wider world. He beholds the beauty of mistakes with producer Jim Dickinson (Replacements, Rolling Stones), charts the stars with Alex Chilton (Box Tops, Big Star), and mulls the tragedy of Jeff Buckley's fatal swim. Gordon's Memphis inspires Cat Power, attracts Townes Van Zandt, and finds James Carr always singing at the dark end of the street.
A rent party is when friends come together to hear music, dance, and help a pal through hard times; it's a celebration in the face of looming tragedy, an optimism when the wolf is at the door. Robert Gordon finds mystery in the mundane, inspiration in the bleakness, and revels in the individualism that connects these diverse encounters.
On the heels of Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer Prize, as the world begins to recognize the creative side of Hip-Hop, comes a writing guide from a musician and "The greatest MC of all time," Rakim.
The musician and Hip Hop legend--hailed as "the greatest MC of all time" and compared to Thelonious Monk--reimagines the writing handbook in this memoir and guide that incorporates the soulful genius, confidence, and creativity of a master artist.
When he exploded on the music scene, musical genius Rakim was hailed for his brilliant artistic style, adding layers, complexity, depth, musicality, and soul to rap. More than anyone, Rakim has changed the way MCs rhyme. Calm on the mic, his words combine in a frenzy of sound, using complicated patterns based on multisyllabic rhymes and internal rhythms. Rakim can tell a story about a down-on-his-luck man looking for a job and turn it into an epic tale and an unforgettable rhyme. He is not just a great songwriter--he's a great modern writer.
Part memoir, part writing guide, Sweat the Technique offers insight into how Rakim thinks about words, music, writing, and rhyming as it teaches writers of all levels how to hone their craft. It is also a rare glimpse into Rakim's private life, full of entertaining personal stories from his youth on Long Island growing up in a home and community filled with musiciansto the clubs of New York and the studios of Los Angeles during his rise to the top of popular music. Rakim celebrates the influences that shaped his development, including the jazz music of John Coltrane and the spirituality of the streets, and shares anecdotes spotlighting personalities such as L. L. Cool J. and Dr. Dre, among others.
Filled with valuable lessons for every writer, Sweat the Technique reveals the heart and mind of an artist and his love for great storytelling, and always, the words.
Written in taut, mesmerizing, often hilarious scenes, Night Moves captures the fierce friendships and small moments that form us all. Drawing on her personal journals from the aughts, Jessica Hopper chronicles her time as a DJ, living in decrepit punk houses, biking to bad loft parties with her friends, exploring Chicago deep into the night. And, along the way, she creates an homage to vibrant corners of the city that have been muted by sleek development. A book birthed in the amber glow of Chicago streetlamps, Night Moves is about a transformative moment of cultural history--and how a raw, rebellious writer found her voice.
In this striking new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly and Monday's Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive.
Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn't mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph's music lie forgotten under his bed after he's murdered--not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.
With the help of Steph's younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph's music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph's talent from beyond the grave.
As the pressure of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only, each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph's fame, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they've worked so hard to hold on to--including each other.
A memoir from one of Britain's legendary singers, folklorists, and music historians.
A legendary singer, folklorist, and music historian, Shirley Collins has been an integral part of the folk-music revival for more than sixty years. In her new memoir, All in the Downs, Collins tells the story of that lifelong relationship with English folksong--a dedication to artistic integrity that has guided her through the triumphs and tragedies of her life.
All in the Downs combines elements of memoir--from her working-class origins in wartime Hastings to the bright lights of the 1950s folk revival in London--alongside reflections on the role traditional music and the English landscape have played in shaping her vision. From formative field recordings made with Alan Lomax in the United States to the "crowning glories" recorded with her sister Dolly on the Sussex Downs, she writes of the obstacles that led to her withdrawal from the spotlight and the redemption of a new artistic flourishing that continues today with her unexpected return to recording in 2016.
Through it all, Shirley Collins has been guided and supported by three vital and inseparable loves: traditional English song, the people and landscape of her native Sussex, and an unwavering sense of artistic integrity. All in the Downs pays tribute to these passions, and in doing so, illustrates a way of life as old as England, that has all but vanished from this land.
Generously illustrated with rare archival material.
An innovative investigation of the inner workings of Spotify that traces the transformation of audio files into streamed experience.
Spotify provides a streaming service that has been welcomed as disrupting the world of music. Yet such disruption always comes at a price. Spotify Teardown contests the tired claim that digital culture thrives on disruption. Borrowing the notion of "teardown" from reverse-engineering processes, in this book a team of five researchers have playfully disassembled Spotify's product and the way it is commonly understood.
Spotify has been hailed as the solution to illicit downloading, but it began as a partly illicit enterprise that grew out of the Swedish file-sharing community. Spotify was originally praised as an innovative digital platform but increasingly resembles a media company in need of regulation, raising questions about the ways in which such cultural content as songs, books, and films are now typically made available online.
In 1971, as her album Blue topped charts around the world, Joni Mitchell crafted one hundred copies of Morning Glory on the Vine as a holiday gift for her closest friends. For this stunningly beautiful book, Joni hand-wrote an exquisite selection of her own lyrics and poems and illustrated them with more than thirty of her original pictures. Handcrafted, signed, and numbered in Los Angeles, the existing copies of this labor of love have rarely been seen in the past half-century.
Now, during Joni's seventy-fifth birthday year, Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings will be widely available for the first time. In this faithfully reproduced edition, Joni's best-loved lyrics and poems spill across the pages in her own elegant script. The lively, full-color drawings depict a superb array of landscapes, still lifes, portraits of friends, self-portraits, innovative abstractions, and more. All the artwork from the original book is included, along with several additional pictures that Joni drew of her friends from the same period. Finally, the refreshed volume features an original introduction written by Joni. Morning Glory on the Vine is a gorgeous and intimate keepsake and an invitation to explore anew the dazzling, visionary world of Joni Mitchell.