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Country: The Twisted Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll Paperback – August 22, 1996

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Country: The Twisted Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll
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  • Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll: The Birth Of Rock In The Wild Years Before Elvis
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  • Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story
Total price: $37.28
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A historical look at the seedy underbelly of country music.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Nick Tosches is the author of Hellfire, Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll, Power on Earth, Cut Numbers, Dino, and Trinities.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306807130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306807138
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Forbes-roberts on September 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tosches is an entertaining and skillful writer and the premise of this book is an important and timely one. Country music has been diluted, softened and stripped of what once made it great and is now in the hands of the pallid "new country" gang of cheeseballs. Tosches saw this coming way back in the mid-70s, resented it and wrote this book. "Country" is meant to be part general history of country music and part examination of how country music left it darker, more authentic roots and became the saccharine/formulistic tripe that passes for Country music these days. It's a good idea but unfortunately this book is full of misconceptions, omissions and serious factual errors. Yes, country music did have a dark side (which Tosches doesn't seen to grasp at all in context of the music's early cultural roots) but it's always had a family and religious side as well. Even in its earliest stages it could cross over into sentimental and mawkish pap. This didn't start in the 50's as Tosches insists but was present in the music of the Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers (Tosches barely mentions either) who between them invented the genre. Their music embraced both sides of the coin as did every great country artist who ever lived including Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.Read more ›
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Quirino on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tosches displays not only a historian's love for the eras he writes about, but a gossip columnist's passion for irreverence and shock. That makes this book and its companion (Unsung Heroes of Rock & Roll) completely essential reads for anyone who loves popular twentieth century music. And, it blows the lid off country's origins in a way guaranteed to outrage country's often-times "holier-than-thou" patrons. Obscure names, obscure songs, obscure facts all mesh to create a living, breathing historical time-capsule that speaks as much about the era the music was recorded in as the music itself. And the writing is dry yet never condescending, witty yet never demeaning, sincere yet unafraid to point out "the truth" no matter how ugly and undignified it may be. But you'll learn to love the heroes that pepper this book for the pioneers they were. And, when the last page is read, you'll come back to it again and again. Part of the pleasure of reading a great book is rereading it and learning much more than you did the last time you read it... Tosches manages that feat thanks to an unflinching eye for detail and a poet's way with words.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a reader review of Tosches' book on Emmett Miller, whose real origins are in the imaginary chapters of the first edition of this book, this book belongs in every home. The writing is this book alone is worth the price. He's a vigorous wise ass and elegant literary dynamo. If you just read the writing, and dont give a hoot about country music, you will enjoy yourself.
So much of music writing is devoled to haigiagraphy and confirming ignorant common places, whereas Tosches is concerned with the dirty nasty truth, and the wild side of things. You aren't going to learn that Roy Acuff who appointed himself a great country music icon, decades after he had had a hit, began his work in music with a group called "the Bang Boys" that specialized in X rated songs.
His description of a Jerry Lee Lewis recording session sometimes in the 1970s is really masterful and still rings in my mind 20 years after I first read it. Likewise, you will love Tosches' description of the dark end of Spade Cooley. Cooley torutured and murdered his wife because Cooley believed she had banged Roy Rodgers--and Cooley got into show business a double for Roy Rogers in the movies!
There is so much uncovered about the real origins of rock and roll.
No one can live without the first book that wasn't afraid to let you know that Hank Williams was bald!
If you don't have this book in your house, buy it, or move in with someone who's got it!
Dont forget his great book on Jerry Lee Lewis, Hellfire.
This man knows how to write!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DBH on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have bought 6 copies of this books since 1988, for friends and for the two copies I wore out. Before reading this I was already a fan of early Country Music, but this book opened my eyes and ears to a multitude of artists that I wasn't aware of but who had helped shape the direction of Country Music. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that after reading it, I ended up spending a small fortune purchasing LPs, and later CDs, of the obscure artists he makes reference to.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By CoolCrosby@aol.com on October 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. I read it when it was called COUNTRY: THE BIGGEST MUSIC IN AMERICA which I thought was perfect in an ironic sense then and now. This is the thinking person's guide to why C&W matters.
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