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Next Week in Music | July 11-17 • New Books

Will these few tomes be enough to hold your interest? There's only one way to find out.

Sometimes a little is enough. And sometimes it just has to be, whether you like it or not. Case in point: Next week’s lean lineup of new books. Will these half-dozen offerings be enough to hold your interest? There’s only one way to find out:


Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music
By Jerry Zolten

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The venerable Dixie Hummingbirds stand at the top of the black gospel music pantheon as artists who not only significantly shaped that genre but, in the process, also profoundly influenced emerging American pop music genres from rhythm and blues and doo-wop to rock ‘n’ roll, soul and hip-hop. Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds shows how, in a career spanning more than nine decades, they pointed the way from pure a cappella harmony to guitar-driven soul to pop-stardom crossover, collaborating with artists like Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon along the way. Drawing on interviews with founding and quintessential members as well as many of the pop luminaries influenced by the Hummingbirds, author Jerry Zolten tells their story from rising up and out of the segregated South in the twenties and thirties to success on Philadelphia radio and the New York City stage in the forties to grueling tours in the fifties and over the long haul a brilliant recording career that carried well over into the 21st century. The story of the Dixie Hummingbirds is a tale of determined young men who navigated the troubled waters of racial division and the cutthroat business of music on the strength of raw talent, vision, character, and perseverance, and made an indelible name for themselves in American cultural history. This heavily edited second edition features brand new photographs, expanded historical context, and a full new chapter on the Hummigbirds‘ trajectory up to the 21st century.”

Let’s Do It: The Birth of Pop
By Bob Stanley

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pop music didn’t begin with The Beatles in 1963, or with Elvis Presley in 1956, or even with the first seven-inch singles in 1949. There was a pre-history that went back to the first recorded music, right back to the turn of the century. Who were the earliest record stars, and were they in any meaningful way ‘pop stars’? Who were the likes of George Gershwin writing songs for? Why did swing, the hit sound for a decade or more, become almost invisible after the Second World War? The prequel to Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah, Let’s Do It is the first book to tell the definitive story of the birth of pop, from the invention of the 78-rpm record at the end of the 19th century to the beginnings of rock and the modern pop age. Taking in superstars such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra alongside the unheralded songwriters and arrangers behind some of our most enduring songs, Stanley paints an aural portrait of pop music’s formative years in stunning clarity, uncovering the silver threads and golden needles that bind the form together. Bringing the eclectic, evolving world of early pop to life — from ragtime, blues and jazz to Broadway, country, crooning and beyond — Let’s Do It is essential reading for all music lovers.”

33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute: A Critical Trip Through the Rock LP Era, 1955-1999
By Mike Segretto

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Whether you’re a lifelong collector or have only just gotten hip to the vinyl revival, navigating the vast landscape of rock albums can be a daunting prospect. Enter Mike Segretto and his mammoth 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute, a history of the rock LP era told through a very personal selection of nearly 700 albums. Beginning with the birth of rock ’n’ roll in the 1950s, Segretto moves through the explosive innovations of the 1960s, the classic rock and punk albums of the 1970s, the new wave classics of the 1980s, and the alternative revolution of the 1990s, always with an eye to both the iconic and the ephemeral, the failed experiments and the brilliant trailblazers. It’s all here: Everything from the classics (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Purple Rain, Nevermind and other usual suspects) to such oddities as albums by Johnny “Guitar” Watson, P. P. Arnold, The Dentists and Holly Golightly. Throughout, Segretto reveals the perpetual evolution of a modern art form, tracing the rock album’s journey from a vehicle for singles and filler sold to kids, through its maturation into a legitimate, self-contained medium of expression by 1967, and onward to its dominance in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Whether you read it from cover to cover, seek out specific albums, or just dip in at random and let the needle fall where it may, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute is a fun, informative, and unapologetically opinionated read.”

Sound Within Sound: A Radical History of Composers in the 20th Century
By Kate Molleson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The 20th century was the century of modernity. Classical music flourished, and yet when we reflect on the genre’s history its central figures seem to share three characteristics: They were white, male and western. Sound Within Sound is the impassioned and exhilarating story of the composers who dared to challenge the conventional world of classical music in the twentieth century. Traversing the globe from Ethiopia and the Philippines to Mexico, Russia and beyond, Kate Molleson tells the stories of 10 figures who altered the course of musical history, only to be sidelined and denied recognition during an era that systemically favoured certain sounds — and people — over others. A celebration of radical creativity rooted in ideas of protest, gender, race, ecology and resistance, Sound Within Sound is an energetic reappraisal of 20th-century classical music that opens up the world far beyond its established centres, challenges stereotypical portrayals of the genre and shatters its traditional canon.”

Elvis Presley
By Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara & Ana Albero

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Elvis Presley was born into poverty in North Mississippi, a place where opportunities were a rare thing to see. Still, he felt that someday, somehow, something amazing would happen. When he sang in a school talent show, he realized that singing was all he wanted to do with his life. He had just finished high school when he plucked up the courage and walked through the doors of Sun Studios, ready to record his first song. After this came hit after hit, and he popularized a new genre of music that mixed all kinds of different styles. That genre was rock ’n’ roll, and it would take the world by storm! All the great artists that came after him still look up to little Elvis, the king of rock ’n’ roll, the unique and irreplaceable artist who changed the course of music history. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the music legend’s life.”

Freddie Mercury: Lover of Life, Singer of Songs
By Tres Dean & Kyla Aiko

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For the first time in comics format, Freddie Mercury: Lover of Life, Singer of Songs takes a journey through Freddie’s life; from his childhood in Zanzibar, through his formative years in England, to becoming the rock star, known and loved by millions around the globe. The story is told in his own words, with each chapter giving a glimpse into the many facets of his life. Written by Tres Dean (All Time Low Presents: Young Renegades), the graphic novel will give true insight into the many experiences that helped shape the young Farrokh Bulsara and his compelling existence, both on and off stage — that was the life of Freddie Mercury.”

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