New Books Network

Jim Tuedio and Stan Spector, “The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation” (McFarland, 2010)
In a career that spanned three decades the Grateful Dead are rock music’s ultimate jam band. To jam, of course, is to improvise, to engage in “spontaneous, extemporaneous expression.” In The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation (McFarland, 2010), Jim Tuedio, professor of philosophy at California State University-Stanislaus,... Read More
Eric C. Schneider, “Smack: Heroin and the American City” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
When I arrived at college in the early 1980s, drugs were cool, music was cool, and drug-music was especially cool. The coolest of the cool drug-music bands was The Velvet Underground. They were from the mean streets of New York City (The Doors were from the soft parade of L.A….);... Read More
Sheree Homer, “Catch that Rockabilly Fever: Personal Stories of Life on the Road and in the Studio” (McFarland, 2010)
“On July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black forever changed musical history,” writes Sheree Homer in Catch that Rockabilly Fever: Personal Stories of Life on the Road and in the Studio (McFarland, 2010). It was on this day that the trio recorded Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup’s “That’s... Read More
Peter Filichia, “Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season 1959-2009” (Applause, 2010)
Speaking to long time theater critic Peter Filichia, one is reminded of listening to an old-time sportwriter talk about baseball. The Broadway he describes is full of colorful personalities, anecdotes, dates, numbers, and trivia. His spirit is enthusiastic and infectious: he’s turned his love of Broadway into a career. It’s... Read More
Joe Carducci, “Enter Naomi: SST, L.A. and All That…” (Redoubt Press, 2007)
SST Records was a seminal label in Los Angeles’s independent music scene of the 1980’s. Founded in 1978 by Greg Ginn, SST released records by a slew of influential bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Saint Vitus, Husker Du, and Sonic Youth, to name just a few. Naomi... Read More
Simon Morrison, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years” (Oxford UP, 2009)
In the Soviet Union, artists lived lives that were at once charmed and cursed. Though relatively poor, the USSR poured resources into the arts. The Party created a large, well-funded cultural elite of which only two things were expected. First, that they practice their art. Second–and here’s the rub–that they... Read More