The Big Boss Man: The Life and Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed

Overview

(Book). Alcoholic. Epileptic. Technically challenged. Jimmy Reed nevertheless overcame these roadblocks to become perhaps the most successful R&B/pop cross-over artist of the '50s with songs like "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City." Musicians, family members, and those whose lives Reed touched offer revealing and heart-wrenching insights into this now-revered bluesman. While Reed's alcoholism was no secret, its effect on his musicianship is less understood. This engaging book tells the real story that until now has not been told.

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Overview

(Book). Alcoholic. Epileptic. Technically challenged. Jimmy Reed nevertheless overcame these roadblocks to become perhaps the most successful R&B/pop cross-over artist of the '50s with songs like "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City." Musicians, family members, and those whose lives Reed touched offer revealing and heart-wrenching insights into this now-revered bluesman. While Reed's alcoholism was no secret, its effect on his musicianship is less understood. This engaging book tells the real story that until now has not been told.

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Editorial Reviews

Downbeat
Big Boss Man will spark new appreciation for a complex man ... . Romano also does well scrutinizing Reed's recordings.
Harp
Romano lays out this consummate tale with authority and an admirable briskness, his exhaustive research augmented by dozens of contemporary interviews and old ones Reed himself gave ...
Time Out Chicago
Will Romano’s Big Boss Man: The Life & Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed (Backbeat) dispels the myths, casts some light on popular folktales ... and uncovers hard truths that even die-hard fans wouldn’t know.
Library Journal
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, blues musician Jimmy Reed drew bigger crowds and sold more records than contemporaries such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. Since his death in 1976, however, Reed has fallen into relative obscurity. With this first comprehensive biography, Romano, a contributor to Bass Player, Modern Drummer, and the New York Post, attempts to remedy that. Unfortunately, there are flaws: musical explanations could be clearer and Romano's interviews with fellow musicians and family members yield conflicting recollections. That means that the "real" Jimmy Reed and his importance in the blues world of the mid-20th century remain a bit cloudy. While this book may not rank with the better recent blues-related biographies e.g., James Segrest and Mark Hoffman's excellent Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf it will at least beat back the shadows surrounding Reed. Better suited for casual readers than serious researchers, it is recommended for public libraries with blues-related holdings. James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879308780
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,382,272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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