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Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375406123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375406126
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1965, the boogaloo, a dance akin to the jitterbug as well as the title of a record by a Chicago soul group, leapt out of the communities of black America and swept across America. Since then, insiders in the music industry have used the word boogaloo to describe rhythm and blues, or soul music. Musicologist Kempton traces the genealogy of boogaloo in this grand and sweeping survey of the history of soul music in America. He masterfully narrates the careers of several musicians who played key roles in establishing the legacy of boogaloo. Sam Cooke, for example, molded his sweet and seductive style in his early days with the traveling gospel group, the Soul Stirrers. When Cooke discovered that he could make soul music by simply changing the words of many of the gospel tunes he was crooning, his career took a new and lucrative turn. Kempton also focuses on the ways that boogaloo captured the hearts not only of black Americans but also of white teenagers, driving men like Berry Gordy and the founders of Stax Records to find singers who could capitalize on this crossover appeal. In addition to profiles of Cooke and Gordy, Kempton offers detailed portraits of two other men-gospel great Thomas Dorsey and Parliament Funkadelic's leader, George Clinton-instrumental in making boogaloo the soul of American music. In a brilliant sketch of the history of rap music, Kempton anoints Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and other rappers as heirs to these R&B musicians, arguing elegantly that hip-hop is modern boogaloo.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Arthur Kempton was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and received a B. A. in English from Harvard. He has been a radio disk jockey, deputy superintendent of Boston’s public school system, and an educational consultant. A frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
Boogaloo is very cool - and in many ways stunning.
ziggy1
The reader comes to care because Mr. Kempton so clearly does.
Dr. Jeffrey Schnitzer
Very informative and good insight into the music business.
Gilbert Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ziggy1 on June 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Boogaloo is very cool - and in many ways stunning. Arthur Kempton has written a book that is simultaneously a treatise on black music, black culture, and american capitalism over the last century. And he has done it with great style - he is an amazing writer. On nearly every page there is at least one line (often many) that is totally quotable. I often would find myself re-reading a line over and over as I admired the combination of totally hip insight and wordsmithing. And it is that combination that largely makes this book so worthwhile. His handling of this vast subject is in fact deeply idiosyncratic - but it is through his own individual prism that the subject comes all the more alive. The selection of the photos parallel the writing, portraying the same eye for the ironic and revelatory. It would indeed have been totally cool to have an accompanying cd as the soundtrack of the book.
Boogaloo outlines the consistent threads that run through black music from the early 20th century onwards, from its early roots in blues and the church, to the soul and funk years, up to the hip hop of today. Kempton uses the lives and music of Thomas Dorsey, Sam Cooke, Barry Gordy, George Clinton, Tupac Shakur and other hip hop artists as the examples of the evolution of these threads. But this work is far more that a stylish review of different styles of black music.There are a number of broader themes at work here. One constant is a demonstration of the evolution of how black music has been marketed to young whites. Perhaps most importantly, Kempton sees popular culture as one of america's greatest exports, and black culture (in particular its music) at the heart of this, and his book is in part a demonstration of how this came to be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jeffrey Schnitzer on July 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boogaloo is one of the finest books to come my way in a very long time. I would recommend it even for anyone who has no interest in the subject. The writing is that good. The reader comes to care because Mr. Kempton so clearly does. Yet, though passionate, Mr. Kempton's tone is very much that of a gentleman - the kind who has the grace not to hit people over the head. Mr. Kempton's prose is as considered and thought provoking as that of William Trevor. I know no higher praise. An amazing tour de force. Buy copies for your friends. I have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Boogaloo: The Quintessence Of American Popular Music is the paperback edition of the informative and informational textbook offering an intriguing history of the art and influence for African-American music presented by American popular music expert Arthur Kempton. (formerly a radio disc jockey, deputy superintendent of Boston's public school system, an educational consultant, and a frequent contributor to the "New York Review of Books"), An eloquent approach to the politics and historical significance of pop-culture, Boogaloo is an explorative documentation of the what a difference the Afro-American culture had in influencing the movement of America's transitional decades and from which trend to the next. Very strongly recommended to all American history enthusiasts, students of Back History, and students of American music, American Culture, Boogaloo is to be given very high praise for its extensively researched and well documented presentation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on June 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Arthur Kempton takes the reader on a musical journey in his book BOOGALOO. Beginning with gospel greats such as Thomas Dorsey, moving on to soul crooners such as Sam Cooke, and ending with present day hip hop and rap artists, such as Tupac and DMX, Kempton gives a behind the scene glimpse at the culture, society, and economics that make up "Aframerican" music.
When I first picked up BOOGALOO, I thought that the book would merely be a factual account of the music industry. While it does encompass that, it is much more. It gives a candid view of the music industry, primarily the African American side and its impact on American culture. Although a bit wordy at times, BOOGALOO presents an interesting, accurate, and unique portrayal of an important part of American culture-music.
Reviewed by Latoya Carter-Qawiyy
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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