Music critic Goldman's ( The Lives of John Lennon ) no-holds-barred essays, most near-antiques from the late '60s and early '70s, bear witness to the heady origins and disillusioned outcomes of the original hippie, glitter rock and disco trends. He describes Elvis Presley as a burlesque dancer who inspired Dionysian frenzies; views Ray Charles as the first musician to ``sacriligiously blend gospel and blues''; praises the Who's rock opera Tommy ; and considers jazz artist Miles Davis the first creator of psychedelic music. Hindsight lends new meaning to such emphatic statements as ``Acid-rock is the closest approximation yet to an authentic white soul,'' and, from 1974, ``History will not pause long over . . . Led Zeppelin195 .'' Goldman knowledgeably analyzes the transition from blues to R & B to soul, and exults in nights at Harlem's Apollo Theater; however, his clear admiration of black culture suffers from dated '60s terminology and many of his comments on ``the Negro'' would be unacceptable today. This evocative collection, by turns jubilant, cynical, visionary and misguided, reminds '90s hipsters of their musical forebears. (May)
Most of the pieces in this collection were written while Goldman was a rock critic for establishment journals like Life and New York magazine from 1968 to 1971. Like the reporter in Bob Dylan's ``Ballad of a Thin Man,'' Goldman knows something is happening but he's not sure what it is. While often contemptuous of rock music and musicians, he occasionally gushes over someone like an overheated Tiger Beat reader. Jim Morrison comes in for much praise, not only as a singer and songwriter, but also for ``his strong classically formed head . . . his sensuously curved lips'' and his ``faun-like sexuality.'' Since a Morrison biography is next for this Kitty Kelley of the rock scene, his impressions in 1968 are intriguing. The pieces on jazz and blues have an objectivity not found in the rock articles and are quite good. Libraries expecting the controversy of Goldman's Elvis (St. Martin's, 1991) or The Lives of John Lennon (Morrow, 1988) should save their money for the Morrison biography.-- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa .