Country music has come of age. It has a rich history in American life,
and until now its story has never been told. Covering its earliest
development in the 1920s to its present glittering status, this book is
at once the definitive encyclopedia and history of country music, and an
engaging, opinion-filled, knowledgeable story written with verve and insight
by one of the country's leading scholars of Americana.
The background of all the major performers in country music, their greatest
hits, fascinating anecdotes about their childhood, their rise to, or fall from,
fame, the truth behind publicity releases and general rumorit's all here,
from Roy Acuff to Tammy Wynette. Over the past twenty-five years, Mel Shestack
has talked and listened to everybody from Spade Cooley to Barbara Mandrell, from
Haywire Mac (the first recorded cowboy and the author of "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum")
and the immortal Hank Williams to the contemporary stars. He has watched
the late Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins perform, argued with Montana Slim,
and met scores of performers in the course of writing this book and traveling with them for
Country Music magazine. Here also is the Nashville story: some of the friendships,
the arguments, the nights, and the fly-by-night record mogulsa sharp
critical look at every school of country music, and the meaning of some of
country music's most memorable and best-loved songs.
From country music fans everywhere, city and country, from Boston to Nashville,
San Francisco to L.A., here is absolutely the best and most entertaining
book you could own.
Here, then, is the real why of country music: why a performer is famous, the
theme of his music, and where he fits in the country-music world. A discography
of every major hit of each performer is included.
Melvin Shestack was formerly an editor with The Saturday Evening Post
and True magazine. He has written numerous articles for Playboy, Penthouse,
and Esquire, and was a producer for CBS News. He was formerly a contributing
editor of Country Music magazine and lives in a converted old factory building
in New York City.