"Ted Anthony takes us on a journey into the very soul of America and what a grand trip (in both senses of the word) it is. Here is a book to savor one not just for folk music fans, but for anyone interested even faintly in the American journey. His book long awaited, Ted Anthony has fulfilled all expectations with Chasing the Rising Sun. Tracking a single, haunting lyric from folk tradition to popular song, from Kentucky to Kansas, across country and ocean, Ted Anthony offers a journey into the soul of America."
Ed Cray, author of Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie
"Chasing the Rising Sun documents the lineage of one of the great songs in the English language, providing a vivid panorama of American folk music and perhaps most important a smart analysis of the modern collision between oral and commercial cultures. Ted Anthony has written a valuable and revealing book."
Benjamin Hedin, editor, Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader
"Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head? Ted Anthony shows what happens when instead of ignoring it, you follow that tune wherever it leads. From Alan Lomax to Eric Burdon, from Andy Griffith to Martin Scorsese, from Georgia Turner to John Lennon, he conjures a real sense of connection and community. Chasing the Rising Sun is the kind of book that will stick in your head, too."
Allen St. John, author of Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument
"Ted Anthony tells his tale with such intensity you can think his quest isn't merely for the song but for the house itself."
Greil Marcus, author of The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice
"Page by page, I was drawn into the 'Rising Sun' the history, the people whose lives it changed, the incredible story of its travels across this country and around the world. Readers will find this story engrossing, and true, and ongoing a story without an end."
Jean Ritchie, folksinger, songwriter, and author of Singing Family of the Cumberlands
"Lovingly researched background on a more-fascinating-than-you-can-ever-imagine song...the author makes a case for the song's importance with such passion and skill that many will ultimately be persuaded...rich, complex history."
In his search for the song's origins, Anthony, a journalist with The Associated Press, probably raises more questions than he answers. There is no consensus on whether the ballad's mournful narrator is a man or a woman, or whether the foreboding house of its title refers to a bar, a brothel or a prison. Yet our intrepid author rambles through plenty of memorable adventures, even if his intended mission turns out to be a bust.
The New York Times
The song "House of the Rising Sun," which became a chart-topping hit in 1964 by the Animals, has a murky history, said to have originated in Appalachia, maybe New Orleans and perhaps even England, as well as having a thriving universal afterlife among cover bands and karaoke singers. Anthony, an editor for the Associated Press, crisscrossed the globe in search of the twisted roots and many spreading branches of this lonesome ballad of unknown origins. The song's ultimate odyssey began in 1937 when folklorist Alan Lomax recorded a version by 16-year-old Georgia Turner Connolly in Middlesboro, Ky. Lomax published the lyrics as "The Rising Sun Blues" and from there it grew in popularity and was performed and recorded by many, including Bob Dylan on his first record in 1962. The story seems promising, but Anthony's narrative is an uneasy mix of memoir, dissertation-like detail (with tedious repetitions of multiple versions of lyrics), journalistic feature writing and esoteric trivia. Anthony at times unconvincingly adopts the authoritative voice of an American studies expert, and he also lacks the musical or poetic knowledge to dissect the song. This exploration will be of most value to those who share Anthony's unbridled obsession with this ubiquitous ballad. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
After hearing the Animals' famous rock'n'roll version of "The House of the Rising Sun" in a restaurant one night, journalist Anthony launched a personal quest to discover the true origins and meaning of the song. Over the course of this pursuit, he passed through the back alleys of New Orleans, over the hills of Kentucky, into roadside bars in Tennessee, and even down the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress. Interspersed among interviews with famous old folkies and their contemporary counterparts-from Eric Burdon of the Animals to the family of the late Appalachian folk singer, banjo player, and guitarist Roscoe Holcomb-are explorations of the larger significance of traditional, passed-down folk songs for the rural poor in the days before the advent of recorded music and the ways in which this innovation altered the cultural weight of these songs. This meticulously researched and extremely accessible book could easily be used for recreational reading. Recommended for public libraries as well as folklore and music collections in academic libraries.
Lovingly researched backgrounder on a more-fascinating-than-you-can-ever-imagine song. Pulitzer Prize-nominated AP reporter Anthony believes that "House of the Rising Sun," best known in the version recorded by British blues-rockers the Animals, is one of the most vital pieces of music in American history. So he crisscrossed the U.S. to find out all about the tune. His travels took him from a bar in Slemp, Ky., where he grilled the natives for firsthand information about folk/blues legend Roscoe Holcomb, to New Orleans, where he picked the brain of Animals frontman Eric Burdon. He met some fascinating characters along the way, but the hero of the story is musicologist Alan Lomax, who in 1937 "collected" what Anthony considers the song's most noteworthy early incarnation, a scratchy field recording of "The Rising Sun Blues" by 16-year-old Georgia Turner. Even Lomax, who made big claims for American vernacular music, might have been surprised to see Turner's two-minute version beget a 300-page book. Anthony spent more than $10,000 on CDs and currently owns 119 versions or derivations of the tune, including renditions by gospel stalwarts the Blind Boys of Alabama, Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat and the ever-popular Timo Kinnunen One-Man Band. His obsession may seem a little nuts, but the author makes a case for the song's importance with such passion and skill that many will ultimately be persuaded. Readers may not want 119 takes of "House of the Rising Sun," but after Anthony fills them in on its rich, complex history, they'll probably hit up iTunes for one or two. Or maybe even ten. Agent: Paul Bresnick/InkWell Management