In the Sunday Times, Ben Ratliff reviews a book of great interest to me -- "All Hopped Up and Ready to Go," by UK music writer Tony Fletcher. As Ratliff notes, the book "aims to be something that the field of New York City pop-music studies really needs: a casebook of meaningful contact among its populations. The books intention ... is to show how New York’s cultural mix — primarily the black, Latino and Jewish parts of it — enabled its greatest music across a particularly fertile 50-year period, from 1927 to 1977."
An excerpt from the review:
Fletcher finds his groove in the '60s and '70s, with rock and disco, when the narrative bubbles along on outrageous anecdotes, aesthetic movements get charted with full prehistories, and minor players make basic and fascinating assertions. One comes to understand something about the way gay dancers at the Limelight gravitated toward melody over rhythm; and the lucky proximity, during New York’s bombed-out mid-'70s, of CBGB to dope dealers and Gem Spa. (You could show your face at the club, go fix up with heroin and egg cream, and return in time for the headlining band.)