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Next Week in Music | Dec. 13-19 • New Books

From Pee Wee to Bee Gees & Aboriginal country to Zeppelin: Read all about ’em.


Pee Wee and The Bee Gees, Aboriginal Australian country and Zeppelin’s catalogue: They’re all on tap next week — along with forays into gospel and blues, plus deep dives into Love, Radiohead, Harry Nilsson and more. Read all about ’em:


Hell-Bent For Music: The Life of Pee Wee King
By Wade Hall

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pee Wee King’s birth on Feb. 18, 1914, into a Milwaukee working-class Polish family named Kuczynski was hardly an indicator that he would grow up to become a pioneer and superstar of country and western music. Certainly no one in the Polish-German community of his youth could have foreseen his influence on the direction of American popular music or his enduring fame on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Even King himself is incredulous at the unlikely twists and turns of his life and career. He is best remembered today as the co-writer of one of the most popular country songs of all time, The Tennessee Waltz. He is just as important, however, for his vital role in expanding the horizons, and the market potential, of country and western music. He took the polka and waltz rhythms of his youth, mixed them with the sounds of the big bands of the ’30s and ’40s, and flavoured it all with the balladry and moods of the Western cowboy. He combined this new sound with folk and country traditions rooted in places like Louisville, Knoxville, and Nashville. The result was a smooth, listenable, danceable, up-to-date sound that has become the most popular form of music in the United States. Recipient of numerous awards, including induction into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Pee Wee King has been one of the most important figures in country music for over 60 years. Told in King’s own voice and words, this biography, based on many hours of taped conversations, is the first account of King’s incredible life and career. Featuring a star-studded cast of characters from the history of music — Eddy Arnold, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Gene Autry, Patti Page, and many others — this memorable book is a must-read for any fan of country music.”

Peace Be Still: How James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir Created a Gospel Classic
By Robert Marovich

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In September of 1963, Rev. Lawrence Roberts and the Angelic Choir of the First Baptist Church of Nutley, N.J., teamed with rising gospel star James Cleveland to record Peace Be Still. The LP and its haunting title track became a phenomenon. Robert M. Marovich draws on extensive oral interviews and archival research to chart the history of Peace Be Still and the people who created it. Emerging from an established gospel music milieu, Peace Be Still spent several years as the bestselling gospel album of all time. As such, it forged a template for live recordings of services that transformed the gospel music business and Black worship. Marovich also delves into the music’s connection to fans and churchgoers, its enormous popularity then and now, and the influence of the Civil Rights Movement on the music’s message and reception.”

The Bee Gees in the 1960s: Decades
By Andrew Mon Hughes, Grant Walters & Mark Crohan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In April 1967, The Bee Gees launched themselves onto the international music scene with the release of New Yok Mining Disaster 1941. Whilst that haunting classic would be the first of many hits, The Bee Gees consisting of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb had been releasing records since 1963. As extraordinary as it sounds, with more than 10 years of performing and four years of recording behind them, the Gibb twins, Robin and Maurice, were just 17 while elder brother Barry was only 20. In an incredible career The Bee Gees would go on to sell over 200 million records, making them among the best-selling music artists of all time, they would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Australian Recording Industry’s Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and receive lifetime achievement awards from the British Phonographic Industry, the American Music Awards, World Music Awards and the Grammys. According to Billboard magazine The Bee Gees are one of top three most successful bands in their charts’ history. Few musical groups have provided the soundtrack to our lives like The Bee Gees, and it all started in the fascinating decade that was the 1960s.”

Harry and Me: 200 Memories of Harry Nilsson by the Fans and Musicians That Loved Him the Most
By David Roberts & Neil Watson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Harry Nilsson was The Beatles’ favourite recording artist but terrified of performing live. Consequently, only a tiny minority of the hundreds of fans and musicians who contributed memories to this collection of stories ever saw him play in front of any kind of audience. But it’s the songs — “there’s nothing like them” according to Jimmy Webb — and his vocal style — “the supreme singer of any generation” says producer Richard Perry — that keep the love of Nilsson lingering so long after his death aged just 52 in 1994. These very personal reflections by Harry on his career have been transcribed and added to the book and effectively make it Harry & Me… & Harry. Illustrated with rare and personal photos and memorabilia from the fans, Harry & Me is a beautifully designed treasure trove of the memories of a unique character who left an unforgettable legacy of some of the most life-affecting songs ever recorded.”

Keep On Shining: A Guide Through The Music Of Love & Arthur Lee
By William E. Spevack

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The rock band Love languished in the cloaks of apathetic obscurity and everchanging mythology, but their musical gems burned bright for almost half a century, first attracting the occasional cult fan, then the press, and eventually, new generations of fans. By the beginning of the 21st century, Love’s 1967 masterpiece album Forever Changes, was lauded by the world as an incredible accomplishment and one of rock’s greatest albums, earning a Grammy Hall Of Fame award, a place in the U.S. National Registry, and in England, The House Of Commons declared it ‘the greatest album of all time’. Enigmatic singer-songwriter Arthur Lee led rock’s first popular mixed race band to local popularity in L.A., but outside of California, his personal fears and a load of misfortune led Love to the rocky road of despair. The band’s resident genius championed diversity and his forever-changing musical styles took fans waiting for another Forever Changes decades to catch up to. By 2020, Love has walked the golden road of world adoration as all of their music has received positive reevaluation. Keep On Shining: A Guide Through The Music Of Love & Arthur Lee rolls through the entire Love catalog, along with the solo albums Lee and Bryan MacLean created along the way. Author William Spevack illuminates Love’s amazing story, dividing the truths and falsehoods of their mythology, and tracking the history of their decades-long ascent from mild respect to having a legend dipped in gold. Keep On Shining is part biography, part music critique, part oral history. Every Love-related song from 1963 to 2020 is detailed, along with live commentary. Arthur and Bryan’s solo activities are covered extensively, and notes on original lead guitarist Johnny EcholsLove Revisited, the band that continues to keep Love’s music alive.”

Led Zeppelin: Every Album, Every Song
By Steve Pilkington

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Think about Led Zeppelin and the image coming to mind would be of them straddling the world as the archetypal ‘rock gods’, defining the 1970s like no other artist did. Dig deeper though, and there’s a lot more to Zeppelin than hard rock and bluster, with folk and blues strongly threading through their catalogue from the very beginning. This book digs into every Led Zeppelin track recorded during their decade-long existence before John Bonham’s death brought down the curtain, by way of facts, anecdotes, analysis and a small dose of humour here and there. From the likes of Kashmir, Stairway To Heaven and Whole Lotta Love and their ilk, which have entered the public consciousness, down to the deeper cuts which only the fans will know, this book covers them all, while also taking a look into the stories behind the often ground breaking cover art, and the way the albums came to be recorded. Celebrating the triumphs and the arguable lower points, this is an alternative history of the band, told via the most important element — the music itself — which has influenced so many down the years. The history of Led Zeppelin is a wild ride. This book shows you why.”

Radiohead: Every Album, Every Song
By William Allen

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed at their Oxfordshire secondary school in the mid-’80s, Radiohead have gone on arguably to be not only the most important rock group of the 1990s, but also the most significant post-rock group of the new century. Few would have predicted such greatness when their 1993 debut Pablo Honey appeared, revealing an infatuation with Pixies and, in Creep, a lead single deemed ‘too depressing’ to be playlisted on BBC Radio 1. They went on to deliver two of the era-defining albums of the ‘90s in The Bends and OK Computer, the latter in particular redefining what could be achieved in the realm of guitar-based rock. In the early 2000s they radically rewrote the rulebook both for themselves and for popular music, largely eschewing guitar rock for the experimental, electronic Kid A and Amnesiac. In 2016 they issued their ninth album A Moon Shaped Pool — the latest in a series of works that has seen the group restlessly finding new approaches to both composition and recording. This book examines each album (and each peripheral song, from singles, B-sides and EPs) with stories and analysis of every officially released track.”

Virginia’s Blues, Country, and Gospel Records, 1902-1943: An Annotated Discography
By Kip Lornell

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “During the years before World War II, hundreds of traditional musicians were sought out by commercial record companies, brought to New York or into local — often makeshift — studios, to cut recordings that would be marketed as “race” and “hillbilly” music. Virginia was home to scores of these performers, several of whom were to become internationally known. Among them were The Carter Family, The Golden Gate Quartet, Charlie Poole and The Stoneman Family, whose music has touched millions of listeners far beyond the confines of the Old Dominion. It is this historically important body of recordings from this unique period that forms the focus of Kip Lornell’s study. In it he combines biographical sketches and bibliographies of the artists and groups with comprehensive discographies of each, covering not only the original 78-rpm issues but also American and foreign long-play releases. The entries incorporate new primary research and contemporary interviews with veterans of early recording sessions. Numerous vintage photographs are also included, some reproduced here for the first time.”

Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music
By Clinton Walker

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It was country music that first gave Aboriginal Australians a voice in modern Australia. Country has always offered a vehicle for the dispossessed to tell their stories, and Aboriginal country music has a rich history, from the great pioneer Jimmy Little through Vic Simms, Harry and Wilga Williams, Bobby McLeod, Bob Randall and Isaac YaMma to Roger Knox and Kev Carmody, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter. These pivotal figures and more are vividly captured in Clinton Walker’s history. Hailed on publication as an act of restitution and a work that traces new pathways into the songlines of a hidden and resonant Australian musical history, Buried Country draws on the author’s extensive research and in-person interviews. This new third edition, a slightly expanded version of the 2014 edition, is illustrated with many rare photographs and memorabilia, and includes a full discography.”

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