Column

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

Music Books That Make a Difference

Sorry I missed that earlier article as I too distain such lists, it trivializes the subject. Paste magazine does these lists of greatest whatever all the time. When it began posting them on Facebook, I'd politely say as much in a response, then add what list is next, the 100 greatest cereals, the 100 greatest insects? Apparently they did not have a sense of humor, or were too easily agitated, and blocked any future responses. My essentials? Hmm, off the top of my head, I read Bound for Glory in high school, my latest is Tamara's enthralling bio of Guy Clark. I adore Hajdu's Lush Life and Positively 4th Street, beacuse he profiled two immense, neglected talents, Billy Stayhorn and Richard Farina, Ritz's Faith in Time, Jimmy Scott's bio, Gottlieb's Reading Jazz, and Friedwald's Biographical Guide to Jazz Singers and Jazz Singing. The latter is essential as it devotes a partial chapter to the most influential vocalist few people have ever heard, Lee Wiley. He also provides recommendations for both the learned and the novice.

I am so looking forward to Albert Murray's Collected Essays and Memoirs that was publshed a couple of weeks sgo. At over a thousand pages, it'll be, like the Van Gough and Pollock bios, winter reading.