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All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77 Paperback – October 26, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the Brill Building to CBGB, from Washington Square Park to the Apollo Theater, New York has been the birthplace and center of an astonishing variety of musical trends. In his richly detailed study of 50 years of the city's most important music history, music journalist Fletcher vividly recreates the birth and evolution of jazz, folk, pop, punk and hip-hop as the strains of these musical styles emerged from the urban cacophony of New York. Drawing on interviews and archives of well-known stories, Fletcher nimbly explores the ways that various musical styles benefit from and grow out of their contact with their surrounding cultures. For example, the music scene of the Lower East Side was a direct product of the area's thriving movements in poetry, filmmaking, avant-garde music and experimental theater. Fletcher chronicles the beginnings of the folk movement in the sing-alongs in Washington Square Park and the opening of the Folklore Center on MacDougal Street in 1957, where musicians could hold hootenannies. Fletcher observes the folk scene on the wane as John Sebastian leaves Jim Kweskin's Jug Band and teams with Canadian Zal Yanovsky, formerly of the Mugwumps (which became the Mamas and the Papas), to form the rock band the Lovin' Spoonful, and provides one of the best brief histories of CBGB. Fletcher's terrific music history captures the teeming life of New York's thriving music scene. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Fletcher’s commentary melds very different cultures to shows interrelationships and how new genres built upon the foundations of predecessors... Anyone interested in popular music and the rich cultural heritage of New York―indeed, of all of the U.S.―should read this book.” (Booklist)

“Like Alastair Cooke’s America, All Hopped Up is an unapologetically opinionated overview of zeitgeists that sparked their own theme music.... An indispensable reference book for college students and a survival guide for modern musicians.” (Chronogram)

“In All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77, Tony Fletcher has demonstrated extraordinary depth in his research and vibrancy in his writing. Not only was I fascinated by his stories of times and styles about which I knew little, but, in those areas in which I knew a lot, he has connected all the dots for me…oh, yeah, and it’s a damned good read.” (Mike Stoller)

“Thoroughly researched, engaging, and perceptive.” (Library Journal)

“In his richly detailed study of fifty years of the city’s most important musical history, music journalist Fletcher vividly recreates the birth and evolution of jazz, folk, pop, punk and hip-hop as the strains of these urban styles emerged from the urban cacophony of New York.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Fletcher tells the story well.... His gift is enthusiasm.” (The New York Times Book Review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Original edition (October 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333483X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393334838
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a lifelong New Yorker and music lover. I grew up just a stone's throw from some of the places described in this book. I enjoyed reading it from this perspective. It is fast-paced and hard to put down, and it contains a lot of interesting bits of information, some of which I had not heard elsewhere. But while I recommend the book on the whole, I thought it had some serious flaws and major omissions. No, not nit-picky omissions of the kind that are inevitable when anyone sets out to write a fifty-year overview of anything, MAJOR omissions. Like the entire '50's and '60's Blue Note era of hard-bop and post-bop. Yes, the classic Blue Note albums were mostly recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, but that's a technicality; the music was and is very closely associated with New York, and is very New York in feeling. It was part of the soundtrack of the lives of those of us who grew up here in the post-WW II years. Yes, many jazz players were not born here, but neither were folks like Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry, and Patti Smith, who get (and deserve) plenty of ink here. But a whole chapter and then some on "glam and glitter," and not a word about Art Blakey, Horace Silver, or McCoy Tyner? C'mon. And while the book begins promisingly with Mario Bauza and Dizzy Gillespie (also non-New Yorkers), on the whole it really gives very short shrift to Latin music beyond the mambo era. Barely a mention of the Palmieri brothers? Of Fania Records? How much more New York and street can you get than Willie Colon? Grupo Folklorico Y Experimental Nuevayoriqueno recorded the seminal "Concepts in Unity" at CBS studios in NYC in 1975, the roots of Manny Oquendo's Libre and Jerry Gonzalez's Fort Apache band. Not even a mention, let alone a chapter? Not nit-picky.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great overview of New York musical history from the Twenties to the Seventies. It covers jazz, folk, doo wop, rock, punk, etc. My only complaint of this great book is that it is more about the music business than the individual artists. There is however information about the artists but I could have used more. That said, this is an excellent read..
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Format: Paperback
A real treat for any music fan or musician. The book has an unusual approach, revealing the roots of various NYC musical scenes by focusing on key players. The subtitle is telling: "Music from the Streets of New York." It's not an exhaustive history of Afro-Cuban jazz, the folk revival, punk, or disco. Rather it shows you how those genres (and others) were formed in and by the city. It sketches a lot of fascinating connections between musicians and industry folks, and once a genre has really taken hold and a few groups have had hits, the book moves on, because that's when the story becomes less of a local phenomenon and more of an international one (and in most cases, a familar story).
I looked forward to the chapters on Brill Building pop, Greenwich village folk, and punk; I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much the other chapters, particularly the early ones, captured my interest. Fletcher doesn't fall prey to the hyperbole that I find brings down a lot of music writing, but he writes with enthusiasm and wit. I was moved to check out some of the acts that I wasn't familiar with.
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Format: Paperback
Tony Fletcher has written a comprehensive and exhausting tome of the music from the streets of New York that any aficionado should have on their shelf. Beginning with the big band sounds of the 30s and extending through the development of rap, Fletcher presents an interesting and inclusive picture of the evolution of practically every music genre as it transcended the Big Apple.

From Count Basie and Fletcher Henderson to Tito Punete; from The Ravens to Billie Ward and the Dominoes; from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan; from the Lovin' Spoonful to the Velvet Underground; from the Fugs to Blondie...Fletcher covers them all...but don't forget about the locations (the Savoy, the Loft); the promoters (Morris Levy, Alan Freed); the composers (Josh White, Leiber and Stoller); the DJs (Murray the K, Nicky Siano)...whew!!

"All Hopped Up and Ready to Go" isn't a listing of people and places. It's a well-written narrative that goes on and on with fascinating facts and stories surely to delight anyone wanting to know about the music instrument and its creators. There is certainly too much information here to digest, but it's a great and worthwhile read you are certain to go back to...if for no other purpose then to hear the songs and see the people he refers to on "YouTube"!!
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There are a lot of "golden ages" when it comes to the various music scenes in NYC. Many of us did not have the privilege of standing stage-side when the likes of the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, DJ Kool Herc, Dizzy Gillespie, the Stillettos, or Blondie first took an audience under their spell. With a reading of All Hopped Up and Ready to Go, one no longer needs to feel that they missed out. Tony Fletcher goes right to the source on the many different music scenes and he speaks with individuals who were on the front lines of many a music battle as well as the more underground players. Mr. Fletcher weaves one musical storyline into another as the tales of these musicians bleed over into the lives of the next takers of the rhythmic baton. For this reader, the early disco houses and the burgeoning rap scene gave tons of knowledge. And I can never get enough of the punk scene centered around CBGBs and Max's Kansas City. You can tell the author loves his subject and that makes it all the more fascinating for us. Highly recommended!
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