Author Ray Robertson is a passionate music fan, and this book contains biographical portraits of thirteen outsider artists who changed modern music. Robertson has listened carefully to most or all of the music by these artists. Some of them are obscure or forgotten, like Gene Clark of the Byrds, while others, like Little Richard, will be well known and familiar to most readers.
The genres covered include blues music, singer-songwriters, country-rock musicians, and blues and rhythm artists. The writing style is accessible, and enjoyable. Because the author is primarily a novelist each chapter begins with a quote from an English poet or novelist. The quotes are of variable relevance.
Books about music function best when they draw the reader into the music. This book certainly meets that standard. Every reader will have his or her own opinions about the relative importance of these artists although most of them are at least interesting, if not quite as important as the author maintains. Lives of the Poets (with Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Rock & Roll is a good book that music fans will likely find fun to read.
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