PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... bristles with photos, maps, deeds, census reports and graphics of every kind to back up their authoritative account of Johnson’s birth, training, travels, tragedies, triumphs and contributions to roots music. To all popular music, really ... [Johnson] succeeded not by signing a contract offered to him by a sooty stranger but, as Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow show down to the last detail, by starting from an early age to listen, steal from others and play without ceasing.
MixedThe Washington PostStops being a tell-all and becomes a DIY guide to successful branding. There’s actually not a lot about music here ... The last few chapters of My Love Story will remind you why you should never ask an older person how they’re doing ... this is the only book I have ever read in which the last page is an organ donor form. Once again, Tina leaves nothing to chance.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...an indispensable guide to American pop music and a damned fine read ... every page of Good Booty is a reminder that it takes countless heavenly bodies to make a galaxy ... Good Booty is nothing if not comprehensive. It’s all here, from gospel and swing to soul, punk, grunge and rap. On the surface, the common denominator might seem to be sex, the search for the anatomical Holy Grail of the book’s title...Really, though, this is a book about play. It’s about nonsense, about how this music 'contained all the ugly and problematic things about sex as well as its pleasures, demonstrating how yearning and sensual release could reduce a person to gibberish' ... The best thing about “Good Booty” is that it reminds us that the right song shows us how to be somebody in a way that’s not possible with any other art form.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalMr. Fletcher gives Pickett’s other big songs the same treatment, and readers of this biography would do well to listen along on YouTube as the writer takes them through each hit as it starts, swells and comes to an end that is somehow both startling and inevitable. Journalists who write about sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll often find it easier to focus on the sensational aspects of the industry than on the music itself, but Mr. Fletcher, the author of books on Keith Moon, the Smiths and R.E.M., gets it right.
PositiveThe Washington Post...a compassionate yet clear-eyed study of the iconic country star ... it’s to his credit that [Ribowsky] gets as close to Williams as any writer could.
Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman
MixedThe Wall Street Journal...as plain-spoken as its title. Here the band’s presiding genius wanders over the terrain of his life as a son, father, husband and supremely gifted musician, describing what he remembers in a childlike tone ... there is in Brian Wilson’s poker-faced acceptance a reminder to take life as it comes. Part of the charm of his account is the way he drops little moments into the story with no preamble and then moves on with no follow-through.