Friday, January 30, 2009

Shelf Life: 'The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 10:55 PM

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GENRE: A brick-sized collection of music journalism from a decidedly Southern magazine

THE PITCH: Trendy bands and celebrity fluff pieces aren’t welcome here. OA editor and founder Mark Smirnoff wants this writing to pay “tribute to how music seeps into us."

BLUES SISTERS: The writing is most successful when it veers far from the confines of music history, like Carol Ann Fitzgerald’s memoir-ish tale of lesbian attraction and Bessie Smith. “I slept while she rubbed my back in motel beds. Her hands clenched and declenched, just shy of hurting. We burned candles that smelled like pumpkin pie. Bessie was on repeat,” she says.

SEX PISTOLS IN ATLANTA: Mark Binelli tells the story of the Sex Pistols’ first U.S. show at a strip mall in Atlanta. Afterwards the band heads to a bar, but Sid Vicious disappears into the night. “Vicious finally turned up at Piedmont Hospital,” Binelli explains. “After scoring some heroin, he’d gotten bored and carved the words GIMME A FIX into his chest.”

STEVE MARTIN ON FAILED MUSIC ASPIRATIONS: “Obsession is a great substitute for talent.”

ALLMAN BROTHERS IN MACON: John T. Edge quotes roadie Red Dog Campbell about Mama Louise Hudson’s soul-food restaurant, “At the H&H, they didn’t care if we were black, white, or purple. Mama didn’t say anything if we were trippin’ our asses off. Now, she might tell me to come in the back door instead of the of the front when I was messed up, but really she just fed us fried chicken and loved us.”

Read the rest here.

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