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Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock Paperback – July 1, 2014
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''It's nice to get a book which ticks off many things on a wish-list. First of all the book explains a Rock genre which I didn't fully understand. Next, it details the importance of The Allman Brothers which I did not previously fully appreciate and lastly it has sizable biographies of my favorite Southern bands---Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet . . . With mini biographies of the key bands of the genre plus piecing the whole story together, is certainly a one-stop shop for all things Southern.'' --Fireworks magazine
''This book, written by Scott B. Bomar (with a forward by The Marshall Tucker Band's Doug Gray) is the most comprehensive book written to date! The book has 282 pages of pure reading pleasure as well as hundreds of photographs. Much of the text comes from dozens of original interviews that chronicles the birth and growth of Southern rock . . . I assure you, it is not a book that you'll only read a few pages each sitting; once you start, you'll want to keep on turning the pages.'' --Southern Fried magazine
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This coffee table size soft-cover book is filled with information on every page. This is a good quality book--the paper is a creamy matte and the graphics are crisp and bright. The font is a bit small for older eyes (like mine) but there's so much information that a larger typeface would've made the book even larger, so it's okay. Plus there's a ton of period photographs, ads, album covers, and other ephemera from the era. Another nice thing are the occasional sidebars highlighting a particular band/musician that gives a better understanding of this type of music. There's a Forward by Doug Gray (Marshall Tucker Band) and an informative Introduction. There's a list of sources used but no index. The chapters are laid out in a roughly chronological historical order for an overview about how the music constantly morphed into what we know as southern rock.
The bands Bomar talks about include all the usual groups you'd think would be here--Allman Bros./Allman Joys/Hour Glass, Sea Level, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Marshall Tucker, ZZ Top, The Outlaws, Elvin Bishop, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, etc. But he also wisely includes a number of lesser known bands (if you're not a fan of this music) like Hydra, Grinderswitch, Cowboy, Point Blank, Wet Willie, Area Code 615, Barefoot Jerry, and Eric Quincy Tate. Bomar begins his overview with early music like country blues, and r&b, and talks about a number of the (then) pioneers of the music. But the main body of the book really begins with the Allmans and their various early bands, and how the music began to take off after they became well known.
There's also a look at Capricorn Records and Phil Walden, who was so important in helping southern rock bands gain recording contracts and publicity. In just a few pages (in two sections) the story of Capricorn Records is laid out and tells how Walden built the label and then why it crashed. But in between, the label released many of the best albums of the genre. Informative sidebars include looks at Eric Quincy Tate, Tony Joe White, The Winter Brothers Band, Bobby Whitlock, Point Blank, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, and Sea Level.
And I can't say enough about the photos (many rarely seen), color reproductions of many album covers, ads, posters etc. These add immensely to the depth of the book. Another nice feature is listing the band members for all the groups in the book which helps greatly as time goes on and things and people are forgotten--especially for the lesser known bands. Taken as a whole Bomar has written an in-depth book that looks at a unique genre of music and used all the visuals to help readers understand and enjoy this music. Me--I'm going to put on albums by Hydra, Cowboy, and Eric Quincy Tate--and relive some great times and music from the past. As I said --if you like this music, and want to know more about it--get this book. Another good book that focuses on southern rock is "Rebel Yell", by Michael Buffalo Smith. It's an oral history of the music from interviews he did over the past 25 years with bands like the Allman Bros., Lynryrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, and The Charlie Daniels Band. Worth checking out.
Even the introductory chapters, tracing the evolution of rock and roll, were interesting and insightful, without feeling lecture-y. My favorite section was short but sweet- it focused on the one band mentioned that I was a genuine fan of- .38 Special. When I finished that chapter, I immediately went to YouTube to watch old music videos of "Hold On Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." Any book that makes me do my own outside "research" on a topic I thought I didn't care about is well worth checking out.
Again, an excellent book.
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I’ll certainly be checking out some of the bands I wasn’t familiar with. Bravo!
Solita efficienza Amazon.