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Country - The Biggest Music In America
By Nick Tosches
Stein and Day
258 Pages
ISBN:  0-8128-2067-6

Buy this Book

This is a book about country music and its brilliant bastards, blues and rock 'n' roll; about the clammy hands of the music business and the great, wild voice of America.

Radiant with historical detail, rare photos, and with tales of madmen and fakers, killers and redneck seers, Country explores the most intriguing aspects of popular music: the evolution of country music from 17th century British balladry; how black men metamorphosed country music into the blues; the birth of rock 'n' roll; the story of the recording industry from Edison to the present; and much more. There's even a chapter devoted to erotic country records, a genre unknown or overlooked by other writers. (One singer of dirty hillbilly songs went on to become Governor of Louisiana.)

Country's factual richness is the result of years of research: interviews, record-company archives, unpublished manuscripts, fan magazines, and a wealth of music. But the book is more than a history: motel-room whispers and warm, wet gossip are revealed to slake the hunger of everyone who hungers for a Nashville Babylon. (Which country star murdered his wife? The answer's in the chapter "You're Going To Watch Me Kill Her.")

Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Spade Cooley, Jimmie Davis, Roy Acuff, and a thousand others are here, in one of the most valuable and provocative books ever written about popular culture. A lot of people have been waiting for this book; they won't be disappointed.

Nick Tosches has written about music for Rolling Stone, Esquire, The Village Voice, Creem, Penthouse, Oui, Country Music, The New York Times, and many other publications. Born in Newark, he's worked in New York, and now lives in Nashville.