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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.

Rita Coolidge Memoir Is a Strikingly Honest, Excellent Read

This sounds like a great memoir by a wonderful singer and a lovely woman. I loved her backup singing with Delaney & Bonnie and on the Mad Dogs & Englishman tour and her solo work too, especially her 1971 release, "Nice Feeling." It was sad to learn of her sister's murder and of the abuse she and others suffered at the hands of men. I had heard about Jim Gordon's mental problems leading to his matricide but I never knew they were a couple. She was also in a relationship with Leon Russell so I assume she had no physical problems with him since it wasn't mentioned. She also had a small part in "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" so I wonder if she's mentions that experience in the book.  Thanks for the posting giving me yet another book to start looking for.

I agree with Dennis wholeheartedly...I'll have to read this...

As for the Jim Gordon situation, I recommend Rolling Stone issue 449...the article is called "When the Voices Took Over", June 6, 1985.  Readily available by google, etc..  This has the entire story, beginning with his mother's muder, then retracing the steps of him becoming the most sought after session drummer, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, etc...most of the things metnioned here are documented or alluded to in that article, which traces Gordon's descent into madness...the incident where he punched Coolidge is there, and that the piano coda to Layla was written by him and it actually mentions that the piece came from when Gordon and Coolidge were together and working together on songs..what is new here is that she had actually written words to it...that isn't mentioned.  The interviews with Gordon are gripping...if only for the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour revalations, and the part where it's obvious there's something seriously wrong with him, and Jackson Browne employing him during the Pretender tour in the late 70's...one of the better pieces of journalism I've ever read.  The guy was a magnificent drummer, a prodigious drug taker, and a very mentally ill guy.  He was still getting fat royalty checks for Layla in prison...I guess by cutting out the words she wrote, you cut her out of the royalties...no surprise I guess...boy's club...

I'm glad Rita has had her say, and told the story her way...and I can't wait to read it...Henry...you've done it again...added to the stack of books at my home awaiting my attention...