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Memoirs Of The Original Rolling Stone

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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    Pacific Book Review, November 9, 2010

    "A rolling stone gathers no moss," is the proverb which defines the term, and when it comes to music everyone first thinks of the British rock band, the blokes with their tongue sticking out. But back in the 1950's and throughout the 60's, Andy Anderson picked up his guitar and formed a group, the Rolling Stones. Grown out of the cotton fields of Mississippi and into a legendary rock `n' roll group, they rolled from gig to gig, down the back country roads in supped up cars, often with their instruments in tow. This was the start of the new sound called Rockabilly, when musicians such as Elvis Presley were being discovered and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Great Balls of Fire. A time when Buddy Holley, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson, Sam Cooke and other legendary musicians all topped the charts.

    "In Memoirs of the Original Rolling Stone," Anderson nostalgically brings his life, his stories and his personal reflections to the reader with the insertion of scores of photographs describing how it was to be a rock star. With the help of Erika Celeste and other contributors to the writing, the reader is brought back to the "Black & White Days" of entertainment with the good-clean-fun "Frat" parties, school dances and grass root musical gatherings. Andy Anderson tells the insider's view of his dynamic off-beat lifestyle as a traveling musician of the Rolling Stones and the Dawnbreakers.

    One incident which I found quite novel is when the group played at the Sigma Chi house at the University of Alabama. Anderson wrote, "Now Snake-eyed Mamas no ordinary song - there's a sort of a dance that goes with it, in which the guys would link their arms and jump in unison." He goes on talking about the energy of the music when, "In the next moment people were tumbling to the floor, crashing and landing on top of each other as the sound of something ripping to shreds shifted everything a good half-foot. All was quiet as we tried to clear our drunken minds of the cobwebs. What had just happened? Millions of stars in the night sky were winking down at us. What the hell?" Anderson realized the hole was in the ceiling and the outer wall of the building had shifted off its foundation opening the roof. "Talk about tearing down a place, boy they sure tore it down that night!" surmised Anderson.

    But not all was fun and frolic. Life had its lessons. Andy lost his brother Brooks, his younger brother at the age of 28 from cancer. Andy wrote, "I realized that life is so very precious. I couldn't occupy my mind with things that really didn't matter. I could no longer con myself into being something I wasn't and didn't want to be. ...Brooks taught me more about life. He taught me to be humble and give more than I take."

    "Memoirs of the Original Rolling Stone" is filled with lots of name dropping, some self-patronizing stories, but the reader can differentiate as Andy Anderson constantly strived to delicately balance egotistical versus historical information. The book deals with his indulgence within the ebb and flow of the music industry, then onward to Hollywood, TV and eventually to an unfortunate welding accident where Andy lost a part of his middle finger, ending his musical career. It reveals good stories of interest to not only fans but to all that have an appreciation for the history of rock `n' roll.

    "Memoirs of the Original Rol

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    Memories from One of the Godfathers of Rock and Roll

    Memoirs of the Original Rolling Stone is the story of one of the godfathers of the "rockabilly" sound: a joining of rock and roll and country music. Authors Andy Anderson and Erika Celeste shine a bright light on a group of musicians who helped form the foundation of rock music. Andy Anderson was the smooth, handsome leader of the original Rolling Stones based in Mississippi. Anderson was strongly influenced by his mother who played the piano, sang and composed songs. This book contains short essays and pictures of Anderson's life from childhood through his adulthood as the leader of two bands. Anderson's music career began in 1951 after his mother suggested that he could out perform a country band they had watched on television. With her encouragement, Anderson taught himself to play the guitar and soon found himself playing local talent shows. The Rolling Stones band was formed during Anderson's years at Mississippi State College. Their first hit was "Johnny Valentine." In the book he reveals pranks that the group members played on each other and talks about the shows they performed that included Elvis and other acts that became well known. Anderson mixes both personal and professional experiences in the book, speaking candidly about his reaction to the deaths of his mother and younger brother while also discussing the success of his music career and his adventures in Hollywood while attempting to cultivate an acting career. The author allows for balance in the telling of this story by including the memories of band members from the two groups he lead: the Rolling Stones and the Dream Breakers. Both groups had core members but also several musicians who rotated in and out of the groups. While the author does not go into detail about how the Rolling Stones ended and the Dream Breakers started, what comes across clearly to the reader is Anderson's passion for the music that both groups produced and the lifelong friendships that were cultivated. Anderson lists the names of former members who have passed away signifying his continued devotion to all of his band mates. Memoirs of the Original Rolling Stone reminds the reader of the multiple layers of history that are a part of the foundation of American culture. It also gives credit to the less celebrated groups that helped to establish rock and roll. Too often bands like the Rolling Stones and the Dream Breakers are forgotten; their contributions not shared with the current generation. Anderson and Celeste offer a history lesson that has the potential to enlighten many generations of music lovers to come. Melissa Brown Levine for Independent Professional Book Reviewers

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