Hi everyone and welcome to my first book review! I’m very excited about this because it’s for a book that is an area of subject that I enjoy..Rockabilly Music.
I was contacted by the author Sheree Homer to see if I would mind doing a read over and review of her book ‘Dig that Beat! Interviews with Musicians at the Root of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘. I quickly jumped at the chance and after a bit of slow start due to my work schedule I was finally able to sit down and read this fantastic book.
About the Author:
Sheree Homer was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During her formative years, her mother introduced her to rock and roll, thanks to her impressive 45 rpm record collection. Sheree became a fan of Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. She discovered rockabilly music and its artists in 2001. A year later, she attended her first rockabilly festivals, the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Rockin’ 50’s Fest in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After the spectacular Stomp and graduation from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside with a degree in writing, she decided to start her own rockabilly magazine. She desired to give recognition to the forgotten foot soldiers of rock and roll. Eight issues followed. In 2006, she began writing for the largest rockabilly/roots magazine in the country, Blue Suede News. Catch That Rockabilly Fever: Stories of Life on the Road and in the Studio is her first book (Source).
Dig that Beat Overview:
Disc jockey Alan Freed coined the term “rock and roll” in the 1950s. Rooted in rockabilly, rhythm and blues, country and western, gospel, and pop, the genre was popularized by performers like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Rock and roll’s originators and revivalists continue to entertain crowds at roots music festivals worldwide. This book presents stories about performers’ lives on the road and in the studio, along with the stories behind popular songs. Informative biographical profiles are provided.
Foreword written by Smilin’ Jay McDowell. Thirty-nine artists are profiled: Buck Owens and his Buckaroos, Rusty York, Bobby Crown, Sleepy LaBeef, Eddie Bond, Miss Mary Ann, Lil’ Esther, Mars Attacks, Dale Hawkins, James Intveld, Rosie Flores, Janis Martin, Conway Twitty, Billy Swan, Leroy Van Dyke, Vernon Taylor, Andy Anderson, Alton and Jimmy, Eddie Angel, The Paladins, Ronnie Mack, Ray Campi, Big Jay McNeely, The Orlons, Clyde Stacy, Al Ferrier, Don Woody, Alvis Wayne, Glenn Honeycutt, Ace Cannon, Dodie Stevens, Robin Luke, Carl Dobkins, Jr., Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms, Jai Malano, Jerry King and the Rivertown Ramblers, Billy Hancock, Junior Marvel, and Jack Baymoore.
As a blogger who enjoys a good piece of vintage history, you can’t get any better than this book, especially if you are interested in the roots of Rock n Roll. Each section is like a mini detailed biography of each artist featured in the book and you literally FEEL like you are living in the moment being described.
Some I knew and some I will be honest I never heard of till this book and now I’m richer in knowledge for reading it. It was also really cool to see how the rockabilly/rock n roll world seemed to become smaller and smaller as you read each bio and discovered that Buddy Holly was friends with Dale Hawkins and Dale was friends with Eddie Cochran etc etc. Cool tidbits like that.
Sheree also does a great job of bringing you bios of the artists from the early days right thru to musicians of today, so that you can get a real idea of how the music is evolving and growing. Some of the modern day artists featured were: Jai Malano and Lil’ Esther ( to name a few).
I actually had the pleasure of hearing Jai Malano, at VIVA a little while back with her band at the time ‘The Royal Rhythmaires’. If you want to hear a powerful voice, then you need to listen to Jai..WOW! My friend and I were in the back of the room and could not see the band come on and then all of a sudden we heard this voice that was a mix of the Blues and Soul and it instantly captivated us. We never left the dance floor that night and that record with Jai on it, is on repeat in my car.
One of my favorite sections was on Janis Martin who I have been plugging away on a blog post for a while now (I just ADORE Her). The details on her career were just marvelous and made me appreciate her music even more than I already did. There is just something about getting an insight look into their lives/careers that really changes how you listen to the music.
In the end, I 100% recommend this book as it was engaging, informative and darn right interesting. If you love Rockabilly and Rock N Roll history (or just a lover of music) then pick this book up today. AND as a special bonus at the end of the book, Sheree has painstakingly put together a selected Discography of the artists featured, so you don’t have to try to figure out what music each artist played, it is already done for you. Fantastic!
Where to buy?