Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unsung Heroes of Rock'n'Roll - Nick Tosches

Initially released in 1984, this book is impressively researched, especially for those pre-computer/Wikipedia times. Since the advent of the internet, a lot of these "unsung heroes" are a lot more well known and a lot more releases have come to light, but it must have been beyond exciting to come across a record by one of these cats'n'kittens back in the day.

Nick admits that there is no way to know - and no reason to define - what was the first "rock'n'roll" record, but the folks that he writes about certainly did their own style of rockin'n'rollin' in their times. Artists that are - now, at least - comparatively well known like Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Bill Haley, Wanda Jackson, Louis Prima and such rub shoulders (or pages) with Wynonie Harris, Ella Mae Morse, Amos Milburn, Ming and Ling, Jimmie Logsdon and many more, some completely obscure, some that now have CD comps dedicated to them.

The stories that Tosches tells may or may not be completely true (as in his tale of Esau Smith), but they are entertaining and he adds an ambitious discography at the end, including a new CD section, and even adds a "chronology of the coming of rock'n'roll".

Fun stuff that will certainly give you some artists to look up and for your ever-expanding r'n'r needs!