From Library Journal
While readers know that Texas is a mighty big state that has produced plenty of great music over the years, they may well be unprepared for the sheer number of musicians who were either born or spent their formative years there. Just about every musical genre has had more than its share of Texas influence: country from Gene Autry to LeAnn Rimes, blues from Blind Lemon Jefferson to Stevie Ray Vaughn, and rock from Buddy Holly to the Butthole Surfers?not to mention folk, jazz, disco, soul, rap, and even easy listening. Journalist Koster, who claims to have an immense record collection, presents an enormous amount of material in an engaging, humorous manner, helped along by frequent sidebars highlighting a "Criminally Underrated Artist" or a "Guitarist Who Changed Modern Music." This book is indispensable to any library where there is interest in music history, and Texas librarians who fail to purchase it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.?Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Texas is a big place that has produced a lot of music and musicians. Consequently, a wide-ranging survey such as this contains some very brief sketches and some omissions. It would otherwise probably be an unwieldy book. Still, one wonders about the Texas-ness of the likes of Sly Stone, Steve Miller, and Steven Stills, all of whom came to pop fame while associated with other regions of the country. Because Koster seemingly includes every noted musician who ever drew breath in the Lone Star State, his coverage of such too obscure Texas notables as Omar and the Howlers, Greezy Wheels, and Jerry Jeff Walker is briefer than it ideally might be. The treatments of Leadbelly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mance Lipscomb, etc., etc., are a treat, though, even if a reader may wish for greater depth and more detail. Koster set out in this fast-paced, pleasantly and informally written survey to just chronicle the contributions of Texas and Texans to the American musical heritage. At that, he largely succeeds. Mike Tribby