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Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing (Music in American Life) Hardcover – September 1, 1994


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Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing (Music in American Life) + San Antonio Rose: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF BOB WILLS (Music in American Life) + The Jazz of the Southwest: An Oral History of Western Swing
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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252020413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252020414
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Milton Brown And The Founding Of Western Swing appeared quite some time ago but deserves ongoing mention as a very special, unique guide essential for understanding the history of that brand of American music termed 'western swing'. Brown and his band predated Bob Wills' first band by a year and began a blend of country music, jazz and blues which took hold during the Depression. Enjoy a coverage which blends biographical sketches with a history of the style's development and growth. -- Midwest Book Review

More About the Author

Cary Ginell is a veteran radio broadcaster, folklorist, and author of seven books on American music. Cary has annotated dozens of albums for labels such as Naxos, Living Era, Texas Rose, Rambler, Bear Family, Rhino, Revenant, and Origin Jazz Library. He has been honored five times by the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections) with awards for "Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research" for his books, "Milton Brown & the Founding of Western Swing" (University of Illinois Press, 1994), "Discography of Western Swing & Hot String Bands" (Greenwood Press, 2001), "Good Vibes" (Scarecrow Press, 2003) (an autobiography of jazz musician Terry Gibbs), "Old Shep: The Recordings of Red Foley" (Bear Family Records), and "Hot Jazz for Sale: Hollywood's Jazz Man Record Shop" (Lulu.com) The Gibbs biography also won the prestigious ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism in December 2004. Cary was also the associate producer and annotator for the Grammy-nominated anthology "Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom - 1950-1970" (Rhino Records, 2001). A longtime supporter of public radio, Cary produced specials for NPR's "Jazz Profiles" on Terry Gibbs and flutist Herbie Mann. His next book is "The Evolution of Mann: Herbie Mann & the Flute in Jazz," to be published in April 2014 by Hal Leonard Books. He is currently working on the 8th edition of "Broadway Musicals: Show By Show" (Applause Books) Cary holds a master's degree in Folklore from UCLA.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Duke Gilleland on August 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Great reading for the newcomer as well as the old seasoned lover of this Texas born music. Cary Ginell & Roy Lee Brown did a super job on this book! History told is in great detail. As my old friend Frank Reneau, who was a Crystal Spring Rambler & Light Crust Doughboy as well said, "It took me back 65 years!"
Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael on April 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an OUTSTANDING account of the birth of Western Swing in Fort Worth, Texas by a handful of talented musicians. It is a real shame that the "Father of Western Swing", Milton Brown, lost his life in the prime of his music career. He would have gone on to much fame and fortune... no doubt.

The only slightly negative comment I have is the bad and untrue portrayal of Bob Wills in this book. Bob did more than anyone to spread Milton's unique and wonderful blend of country, hillbilly, jazz, blues & big band to create the finest dance music ever recorded. Bob was truly the "King of Western Swing" with regard to his pioneering efforts to spread this amazing music across America and around the world ... and I felt the book did not pay the deserved homage of Bob's true talent and contribution.
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Format: Hardcover
Cary Ginell did a great job on this book! He has brought well-deserved attention to the innovative music of Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies. The best parts of the book are the reminiscences by Milton Brown's brother Roy Lee Brown. Roy Lee's vivid memories of growing up with Milton and working as a "string-fixer" for the Musical Brownies back in the 1930's are priceless. Cary Ginell also performed a great service by interviewing several of the surviving Brownies and preserving their stories as well. The essential audio companion to this book is the 5 CD set "Milton Brown:The Complete Recordings of the Father of Western Swing 1932-37" on the Texas Rose label. Highly recommended!
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Henry Cunningham on April 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Cary Ginell has captured a part of our country western music history that has gone essentially unpublished; giving way to the likes of Bob Wills, Hank Thompson and others. A part of our heritage moving off the horizon has been captured in part by the research of Mr. Ginell and help document the beginnings of western swing. As one of the contributors to his research, I enjoyed reading his perspective of the evolution of this part of our culture. Although I disagree with some of the conclusions reached between the relationship between Milton Brown and my father and grandfather, I find his work to include a balanced blend of stories and recollections from people who were a part of the evolution. Crystal Springs, "Papa Sam" and "Baby Henry" Cunningham were central to the creation and spread of this music phenomenon. From Papa Sam's early efforts to uplift spirits through a musical forum to Baby Henry's "ear" and search for a particular sound; this music was born at Crystal Springs in Fort Worth, Texas. Papa Sam and the Babe moved this music throughout Texas and the neighboring states through radio, recordings, and personal appearances. Mr. Ginell slightly missed the mark giving weight to there not being a formal business arrangement between Milton Brown and Papa Sam. In those days your word was your bond and a handshake was more binding than anything we have today. Milton Brown and Bob Wills were both indebted to the efforts and support given them by my father and grandfather; and vice versa. Their relationships were binding and lasting beyond the superficial disagreements fueled by the price of fame gained. After approaching their peaks (Milton and Bob), they would still call on the Babe when they were hurting.Read more ›
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