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Comment: Condition: As new condition., Binding: Paperback. / Publisher: Little Brown & Co (Pap) / Pub. Date: July, 1999 Attributes: 364p. / Illustrations: B&W Photographs Stock#: 2063394 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians + Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues and Rock 'n' Roll + Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A companion to the author's 1971 entrée to book publishing, Feel Like Going Home, Lost Highway reveals Peter Guralnick's growth as a chronicler of American roots music. Originally published eight years after Going Home, Lost Highway tills the same rich soil--the likes of Sun Records chief Sam Phillips, bluesman Howlin' Wolf, and dispirited countrypolitan star Charlie Rich resurface. But here Guralnick also explores the psyches and works of kindred spirits both celebrated (Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard) and obscure (rockabilly journeyman Sleepy LaBeef and the "world's oldest teenager," Rufus Thomas). Guralnick reveals a unifying hook: for each musician, touring has become "journey, arrival, process, definition, virtually replacing in almost every instance the very impetus that set them out on the road in the first place." The author has a knack for finding the insecurities entangled with the talents of his peripatetic idols--perhaps they feel more comfortable opening up to him, sensing he only seeks to understand how their anxiety affects their art. Regardless, you can't read Lost Highway without gaining a greater appreciation of the music that prompted its writing. --Steven Stolder

From Library Journal

Published in 1971 and 1979, respectively, these titles continue Guralnick's analysis of American music. Feel Like Going Home concentrates primarily on blues artists, with some borderline rockers thrown in, while Lost Highway covers a wide array of artists from several genres, including everyone from Hank Snow to Elvis to Merle Haggard. Both volumes were hits with critics and have a place in popular music collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316332747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316332743
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Peter Guralnick is widely regarded as the nation's preeminent writer on twentieth-century American popular music. His books include Feel Like Going Home, Lost Highway, Sweet Soul Music, Searching for Robert Johnson, the novel Nighthawk Blues, and a highly acclaimed two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Lost Highway, Peter Guralnick shows us some of the most unique, and largely unrecognized, figures in American music. His chapters on Charlie Feathers, who was there with Elvis, Carl, and Johnny in Sun Studios in the 50's, and Sleepy LaBeef, whose relentless touring machine, upon request, would serve up any hit ever recorded by anybody, are compassionate portraits of real people that never got the hits, the recognition, or the payday of their famous contemporaries. What you come away with after reading this book is a realization that Guralnick's subjects live and breathe 'the life'. It's what they do. As I read this book, I found myself wondering if Guralnick had selected his subjects to cover some broad spectrum of the American musical landscape, or if he just wanted to get face to face with his musical heroes, and writing a book about them was a cool way to make that happen. Whatever the reason, Guralnick's enthusiasm for American music and his abiding respect for its practitioners come through every page. His attention to the small things, whether flattering to his subjects or not, brings us in close, where frustrations, hopes, missed opportunities, and dreams are all there for us to see. This isn't MTV. It's not the Grammy's. It's blue collar, working stiff people, making their living playing the music they love. And because they are so much like us, their stories are wonderfully compelling.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Peter Guralnick makes you realize how much it takes to be a musician. His portraits of the lives of country, blues, and rock musicians are so beautiful and yet so tragic. You finish the chapter on Bobby Bland filled with admiration for his conviction, yet saddened that what defines him as a human being can become such a grind. And you finish the chapters on artists you didn't know or care about--Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Charlie Rich--filled with admiration, realizing that they loved and commited themselves to something that was as dear to them as it was to their fans, even when, as with Charlie Rich, it fell beneath their expectations. An almost indescribably beautiful book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on May 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the Grand Ole Opry aristocracy to the smoky dives of Chicago, Peter Guralnick is our guide through this 1979 examination of what diverse streams have fed American popular music. In parts a celebration, in parts a eulogy, it makes for some fascinating reading.

Those who read and liked Guralnick's earlier, shorter "Feel Like Going Home" will enjoy this second trip to the well. There's calls paid on Rufus Thomas, "the world's oldest teenager" whose blues-centered dances led to some early-'60s chart success; on DeFord Bailey, a harmonica whiz who was the Opry's first major star until folks figured out he was black; Hank Williams Jr., who lives up to his Daddy's tall legacy with the help of artificial stimulants and his own sense of the blues; and Charlie Rich, who was last visited in "Feel Like Going Home" as something of a straggler but grew into one of the biggest country singers of the 1970s, not that we find him here feeling too happy about it.

The best writing in this collection comprises several chapters on Elvis Presley, who was still just barely alive when Guralnick wrote his first essay here in 1976 and just dead when he wrote his next right after. Elvis was the one guy Guralnick didn't talk to, but you feel his presence in interviews with his old guitarist Scotty Moore and former mentor Sam Phillips.

"He hit like a Pan-American flash, and the reverberations still linger from the shock of his arrival," Guralnick writes.

There's a lot of characters, and some seem more interesting for their uniqueness (Jack Clement, Charlie Feathers) while others seem like misses altogether (who was James Talley anyway, and why should we care?) But there's some arresting profiles of those who made it and those who didn't, plus a sense of what got them there.

"It has to be the only thing for you - the one thing in your life," says cowboy legend Ernest Tubb. Guralnick makes it all seem worth it, for a few hundred pages at least.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Buisman on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
In his writing, Peter Guralnick has placed his own work in the mythology of American (roots) music. The portraits that make up this book are all written more than 10 years after the heyday of the people he is writing about. It's about people who are no longer the stars they were, though their legacy remains.

It's not a history book about roots music, for that you need to read others. It does give great portraits of the people involved, showing their feebles but still maintaining their mythological role in music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tammany Hall on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lost Highway is the country portion of Peter Guralnick's American roots music trilogy (other volumes are Feel Like Going Home and Sweet Soul Music), but it includes profiles of blues and rockabilly artists as well. I will try to avoid any commentary I included in my reviews of Guralnick's other books, but I want to mention that I appreciate his overall writing style, which is very subdued when compared to other well-known music writers/critics. Lost Highway is more cohesive than Feel Like Going Home; the theme, though somewhat loosely applied, is the troubadour element of the musicians profiled. They are always touring, always on the road, moored to life only through music and performance. Guralnick profiles, among others, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., Rufus Thomas, Ernest Tubb and Elvis Presley. Each is part profile, part interview, and he is probing in his questions while conveying his respect for the subject's talents and his own love for their music. As in his other books, he includes a detailed discography of the musicians profiled in the book.
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