Friday, 25 September 2009

Music USA: The Rough Guide

A Coast-to-Coast Tour of American Music: The Artists, the Venues, the Stories, and the Essential Recordings
By Richie Unterberger

The Rough Guide to Music USA is a tour through the best of the country's popular music, giving you the story behind the sounds of more than twenty regions. Features of this unique handbook include:

* Critical overviews of the crucial performers and styles, from Appalachian bluegrass to New Orleans jazz, from New York klezmer to San Francisco psychedelia.
* Concise reviews of the essential recordings in every genre.
* Entertaining features on the key festivals and sights, plus behind-the-scenes accounts from key figures.
* Practical tips on the best music venues, radio stations, record stores, and publications in each locale.
* More than 150 pictures, including some rarely seen photos.


Phil Ochs, the "singing journalist," was for a time the leading protest folk singer after Dylan went into different areas, and wrote compassionate leftist commentaries with a serious attention to detail and a sometimes savage, sardonic wit. By 1967 he was in California doing rock and expanding his topics to the personal, although he didn't leave protest behind for good. Unfortunately he sank into mental illness in the 1970s, exacerbated by writer's block and a damaged voice, and committed suicide in 1976.

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