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Upside Your Head!: Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue (Music/Culture) [Paperback]

By Johnny Otis (Author)
Our Price $ 16.96  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 93605  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   212
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 1993
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819562874  
EAN  9780819562876  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Legendary jazzman Johnny Otis has spent a lifetime at the center of L.A.'s black music scene as a composer, performer, producer, d.j., activist, and preacher. His energetic, anecdotal memoir, Upside Your Head! Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue, recalls the music, the great performers, and the vibrant culture of the district, as well as the political and social forces -- including virulent white racism -- that have shaped black life in Los Angeles. Resonating with anger, poignancy, joy, and defiance, Upside Your Head! is a unique document of the African-American musical and cultural experience.

Upside Your Head! recalls a 50-year career when it seems Otis either encountered, discovered, or performed with every significant figure in the early days of rhythm & blues and rock 'n' roll, including Count Basie, Esther Phillips, T-Bone Walker, Big Mama Thornton, and Lester Young. Drawing on dozens of vignettes, personal photographs, and hours of taped interviews from the popular "Johnny Otis Show," Upside Your Head! offers a moving tribute to the black community that gave birth to L.A.'s rhythm and blues. His stories celebrate the true roots in black culture of a distinctive American music while lamenting its eventual appropriation by the dominant white society.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Johnny's THE MAN  Mar 18, 2009
One of the true heroes of popular American music. Johnny knew everybody and has a depth of understanding and experience of the Black musical scene (and isn't all American music ultimately Black music?) that is unsurpassed. He's the only Black man I know of whose parents were Greek. I love this guy and love this book.
A unique R&B Literary Perspective  Mar 2, 2009
This a book deserving of wider recognition. Upside Your Head !, written by Johnny Otis, was first published in 1993 but time has not diminished the merit of the subject matter. The author is a living R&B legend. His musical milestones are simply to numerous to list in this review. Throughout the book,the author provides riveting and vivid accounts of the African American musical contributions within the Rhythm and Blues genre. His detailed and lively profiles of the artists, tours, clubs and music business throughout the twentieth century are entertaining and insightful. Aside from his musical career,the author is a civil rights activist, pastor, painter, sculptor and successful business man and farmer.
All these elements play an integral part in his compelling story of the historical evolution of the Central Ave/L.A. African American cultural scene. His observations and personal experience on the impact of racism throughtout the second half of the twentieth century is especially thought provoking. His writing is particularly effective when it addresses the abuse and injustices experienced by the author, his family and fellow performers.
The pictures generously displayed throughout the book reflect a joy of being part of a musical movement that continues to resonate throughout the twenty-first century. The book provides the curious with an opportunity to explore the origins and artistic creative level of West Coast Rhythm and Blues. Upside Your Head!,is a richly rewarding reading experience.

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