We recently talked to author Burt Feintuch, author of the recently released Talking New Orleans Music, and asked what his favorite music reads are. "My list, thanks to my being an academic, may be a little odd compared to some," said Feintuch, but we think you'll find them fascinating nonetheless. Here's what Burt recommends.
Music Endangerment: How Language Maintenance Can Help
by Catherine Grant. (Oxford University Press, 2014)
Grant, an ethnomusicologist in Australia, has written a provocative and useful book, proposing ways to address the increasing concerns that local and indigenous music traditions are increasingly fragile and imperiled. She is inspired by linguists who work with endangered and disappearing languages.
Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke
by Peter Guralnick (Little, Brown and Company, 2005)
Nobody does this kind of book better than Peter Guralnick, and I especially love the way he situates Sam Cooke in the world of Chicago’s black gospel music. The book is about Cooke, of course, but it’s about far more than one artist.
Joe Scott: The Woodsman-Songmaker
by Edward D.Ives (University of Illinois Press, 1978)
Born in 1867 in the Canadian Maritimes, Joe Scott was a dissatisfied farmer, a woodsman, a river-driver, a dreamer on a grand scale, and a maker of songs that chronicled life in the lumber camps of Maine and New Brunswick. Folklorist Sandy Ives’s book is remarkable in how the author brings this remote figure to life, helping us appreciate his art, and making us think about creativity in very local kinds of settings.
Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music, 1977-1980
by Dwight DeVaneand Blaine Waide,. Dust-to-Digital, 2012.
This Dust-to-Digital production reverses the format we associate with CD releases. It’s a two-CD set, but the notes are in the form of a substantial book with the CDs inside. Dwight DeVane and colleagues did landmark field recordings of black music in Florida, issuing and LP set back in the 1980s. There’s a great deal of rare, exciting, and moving music here, and the book, with chapters by the compilers and blues scholar David Evans, does an excellent job of putting it into cultural and historical context.
Reds, Whites, and Blues: Social Movements, Folk Music, and Race in the United States
by William G. Roy (Princeton University Press, 2012)
Studies of the US folk song revival are appearing with some frequency these days, and Roy’s book is an especially interesting example in that he brings sociological theory to bear on what these days is becoming a familiar story, and he thinks hard about how issues of race played out in that sweeping musical movement.