An author and university professor whose books include scholarly works on the Beatles and Bob Dylan, William McKeen here tackles the role of popular music in American culture. Beginning with the emergence of rock in the 1950s, and including the meteoric rise of artists such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, McKeen examines the growth of the recording industry while incorporating the social and intellectual history of the country.
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Informative But Factually Flawed In Some Respects
The author describes the roots of Rock 'n Roll from the time of Charlie Patton forward to 1960s. There is the obligatory nod to Robert Johnson. Various genres of music from blues to country to gospel have an influence on an emerging musical format. In addition to artists like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddly, Buddy Holly, there is coverage of DJ's, record producers, songwriters, and managers who are described in this account. The lecturer often indicates the influence particular musicians had on those who followed.
Any collection of articles by Lester Bangs. Audible has many biographies and autobiographies of musicians.
The author and narrator are the same and the presentation is in lecture format. The lecturer is polished and easy to follow.
A movie could probably not be made of this subject.
Audible usually provides an accompanying booklet in PDF for with a Modern Scholar title but fails to do so here.The lecturer makes some grating errors and omissions. Johnny Cash did not put tissue paper under the strings of his guitar to achieve his sound. Country music of that era did not feature drums so Cash would put regular paper under his guitar strings to mimic the snap of a snare drum. Les Paul is mentioned as a pioneer who made electric guitars and experimented with multi-track recording. However, completely unmentioned was Leo Fender who had a far greater influence. Leo Fender made the first electric bass guitars that truly give rock music its drive and its rhythm. His Stratocasters and Telecasters are used by more musicians than Les Paul guitars. Finally, Leo Fender made wonderful amplifiers to suit the needs of musicians, including the need for distortion and reverb.
- Nikoli Gogol
Well researched and accurate