Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 27, 2008 - Music - 272 pages
2 Reviews

The years from about 1950 to 1970 were the golden age of twang. Country music's giants all strode the earth in those years: Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, George Jones and Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. And many of the standards that still define country were recorded then: "Folsom Prison Blues," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Mama Tried," "Stand by Your Man," and "Coal Miner's Daughter."

In Sing Me Back Home, Dana Jennings pushes past the iconic voices and images to get at what classic country music truly means to us today. Yes, country tells the story of rural America in the twentieth century—but the obsessions of classic country were obsessions of America as a whole: drinking and cheating, class and the yearning for home, God and death.

Jennings, who grew up in a town that had more cows than people when he was born, knows all of this firsthand. His people lived their lives by country music. His grandmothers were honky-tonk angels, his uncles men of constant sorrow, and his father a romping, stomping hell-raiser who lived for the music of Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the other rockabilly hellions.

Sing Me Back Home is about a vanished world in which the Depression never ended and the sixties never arrived. Jennings uses classic country songs to explain the lives of his people, and shows us how their lives are also ours—only twangier.

 

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User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

I really wanted to like this book and some of it is very moving and some of it is a good introduction to basic facts about country music, but mostly I think Jennings had a chance to write a unique ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - auntieknickers - LibraryThing

All this time I've thought I was a swamp Yankee. After all, my parents grew up fairly poor, with no electricity until after World War II; I visited and even lived in houses with outhouses as recently ... Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar 1957
3
HILLBILLY FEVER Country Music 195070
8
HUNGRY EYES
24
ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DOLLAR
36
DIXIE FRIED or My Old Man Was a BeerDrinking StockCarDriving Rockabilly Daddy
48
CRAZY
65
RING OF FIRE
78
THERE STANDS THE GLASS
90
KING OF THE ROAD
155
LONG BLACK VEIL Ghosts Murder Orphans and Worse
165
IM SO LONESOME I COULD CRY
177
ILL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS WORLD ALIVE
187
I SAW THE LIGHT
197
LOVESICK BLUES The Past Present and Future of Country Music
211
Discography
223
Bibliography
235

DONT GET ABOUT YOUR RAISIN
104
SING ME BACK HOME
119
FOLSOM PRISON BLUES
129
AMOS MOSES
142
Acknowledgments
241
Index
243
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Dana Jennings, a native of New Hampshire, is an editor with The New York Times. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

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