Posted inMusic

Writing Off Rock

Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977 by James Miller (Simon & Schuster) Even if there were a definitive history of rock ‘n’ roll, it would be useless to most people. Given that rock has featured prominently in the personal lives of more currently living English speakers than perhaps any other […]

Posted inMusic

Heart of Soul

Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records by Rob Bowman (Schirmer Books) In Rob Bowman’s recent history of Stax, Soulsville, U.S.A., the 1972 Wattstax music festival in LA stands as both a high point and the top of a long slide into the mud for the legendary Memphis record label. The event, which went off […]

Posted inMusic

Volume on Volume

The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal By Martin Popoff (Collector’s Guide Publishing) How many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting in your cubicle, slogging away as usual, when suddenly the woman across the aisle leans over and says something like: “Hey, you know what? I just picked up that last Carcass LP, Wake […]

Posted inMusic

Dissecting Dylan

Greil Marcus Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (Henry Holt) The little bag of honey-roasted peanuts I got on a recent flight to California bore the slogan A Symbol of Freedom. I was especially spooked by this because I was reading Greil Marcus’s Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, a book nominally about a Bob […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Blunting the Cutting Edge/PR War

Blunting the Cutting Edge Scholars foresee an epochal disaster–one of the world’s great civilizations spiraling toward the black hole of Generation X (aka the twentysomethings or twentynothings), not just an inferior generation but the most ignorant and useless in history. One such scholar was the late Allan Bloom of the University of Chicago, whose The […]