Best Amanda Petrusich books
Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records
Best price for this book: $ 4.72
Before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes, even before LPs or 45s, the world listened to music on fragile, 10-inch shellac discs that spun at 78 revolutions per minute. While vinyl has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, rare and noteworthy 78rpm records are exponentially harder to come by. The most sought-after sides now command tens of thousands of dollars, when they’re found at all.
Do Not Sell at Any Price is the untold story of a fixated coterie of record collectors working to ensure those songs aren’t lost forever. Music critic and author Amanda Petrusich considers the particular world of the 78—from its heyday to its near extinction—and examines how a cabal of competitive, quirky individuals have been frantically lining their shelves with some of the rarest records in the world. Besides the mania of collecting, Petrusich also explores the history of the lost backwoods blues artists from the 1920s and 30s whose work has barely survived and introduces the oddball fraternity of men—including Joe Bussard, Chris King, John Tefteller, and others—who are helping to save and digitize the blues, country, jazz, and gospel records that ultimately gave seed to the rock, pop, and hip-hop we hear today.
From Thomas Edison to Jack White, Do Not Sell at Any Price is an untold, intriguing story of the evolution of the recording formats that have changed the ways we listen to (and create) music. “Whether you’re already a 78 aficionado, a casual record collector, a crate-digger, or just someone…who enjoys listening to music, you’re going to love this book” (Slate).
It Still Moves
Best price for this book: $ 5.69
Part travelogue, part musical history, Amanda Petrusich’s It Still Moves outlines the sounds of the new, weird America—honoring the rich traditions of gospel, blues, country, folk, and rock that feed it while simultaneously exploring the American character as personified by its songs and landscapes. Through interviews, road stories, and rich music criticism, Petrusich traces the rise of Americana music from its early origins to its new and compelling incarnations—from Elvis to Iron and Wine, the Carter Family to Animal Collective, Charley Patton to Wilco. Ultimately, It Still Moves is a fervent attempt to reconcile the American past with the American present, using only dusty records and highway maps as guides.
Nick Drake's Pink Moon (33 1/3)
Best price for this book: $ 9.71
Pink Moon explores how Nick Drake's third and final album has puttered and purred its way into a new millennium. Features interviews with producer Joe Boyd, string arranger Robert Kirby, and even the marketing team behind the VW Cabrio commercial that launched the album to platinum status more than thirty years after its release.
Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt (American Music)
Best price for this book: $ 10.15
Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
Best price for this book: $ 17.22
In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race.
In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. Powers takes us from nineteenth-century New Orleans through dance-crazed Jazz Age New York to the teen scream years of mid-twentieth century rock-and-roll to the cutting-edge adventures of today’s web-based pop stars. Drawing on her deep knowledge and insights on gender and sexuality, Powers recounts stories of forbidden lovers, wild shimmy-shakers, orgasmic gospel singers, countercultural perverts, soft-rock sensitivos, punk Puritans, and the cyborg known as Britney Spears to illuminate how eroticism—not merely sex, but love, bodily freedom, and liberating joy—became entwined within the rhythms and melodies of American song. This cohesion, she reveals, touches the heart of America's anxieties and hopes about race, feminism, marriage, youth, and freedom.
In a survey that spans more than a century of music, Powers both heralds little known artists such as Florence Mills, a contemporary of Josephine Baker, and gospel queen Dorothy Love Coates, and sheds new light on artists we think we know well, from the Beatles and Jim Morrison to Madonna and Beyoncé. In telling the history of how American popular music and sexuality intersect—a magnum opus over two decades in the making—Powers offers new insights into our nation psyche and our soul.