Roadkill on the Three-Chord Highway: Art and Trash in American Popular Music

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Road Kill on the Three-Chord Highway is a new collection of Colin Escott's wonderful biographies of the legends of rock, rockabilly, and country. Escott is world-renowned for telling the stories not only of the major stars but the Tex Nobodies that populate the back alleys of American music. For every struggling singer or songwriter who breaks through, there are hundreds more who labor in the shadows, victims of bad luck, bad timing, or themselves.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rockabilly expert Escott (e.g., Hank Williams: The Biography) here promises to look at the "forgotten ones" of early rock'n'roll. He is most effective when chronicling the modest successes and crushing tribulations of rockabilly journeymen such as Sonny Burgess, Wanda Jackson, the Collins Kids, and Onie Wheeler and such country singers as Wynn Stewart and Vernon Oxford. But while the 14 profiles are uniformly well written and informative, a few of them seem forced and out of place in a book about early hit makers who quickly faded from public view. Fifties crooner and television personality Perry Como, pop singer Patti Page, rock icon Roy Orbison, and country legend Jim Reeves hardly seem to qualify as "roadkill on the three-chord highway" of rock'n'roll dreams. Despite his lack of focus, the author provides some interesting glimpses into the lives of musicians who helped form country music and rock'n'roll nearly 50 years ago. Recommended for music fans who want to expand their knowledge of rockabilly and country. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington Lib., Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415937825
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Escott lives outside of Nashville, TN. He is the author of Tattooed on Their Tongues: Journeys through the Backrooms of American Music and Hank Williams: The Biography, and coauthor of Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway, and Good Rockin' Tonight: The Sun Records Story. He has annotated over 500 recordings, and has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Grammy for historic documentation and an Lifetime Achievement Award from the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections), a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the history of recorded sound.

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Table of Contents

Part One: The Smoother Side of Town
1. Roy Orbison: Starlight lit my Lonesomeness
2. Perry Como: R.I.P.
3. Patty Page: Oklahoma Blues
Part Two: Labor
4. Jim Reeves: Say "Yes" to Rugs
5. Mitch Torok: When Mexican Joe Gave Up the Rumba
6. Ned Miller: From a Jack to a King
Part Three: Town Hall Party
7. Skeets McDonald: You Oughta See Grandma Rock
8. Wynn Stewart: Not Such a Pretty World
9. Wanda Jackson: Did She or Didn't She
10. The Collins Kids: Brokenhearted Ricky
Part Four: Memphis, Sun Records, June 1957
11. Sonny Burgess: The Wild Man at 70
12. Ed Bruce: Mammas Don't let your Rock Boppin' Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
13. Onie Wheeler: Onie's Unlikely Bop Postscript
14. Vernon Oxford: Too Country for Country
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