Books: Music Men
● By Aimee Cormier
By Ray Saadi—Book Editor
THE HANK WILLIAMS READER (Oxford, $37.76 USD), JERRY LEE LEWIS (Harper, $27.99)
From Hank’s “Lovesick Blues” to Jerry Lee’s “Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On,” we’ve been blessed with the music of two iconic singers of Country and Rock and Roll. These two books tell their stories in wonderful detail.
The Hank Williams Reader is an outstanding collection of newspaper and magazine articles extolling his short and meteoric career, but only after his death. Now, 61 years since he died mysteriously in the back of a Cadillac convertible on New Year’s Day at only 29, editors Patrick Huber, Steve Goodson and David M. Anderson have culled 60 of the most interesting and informative articles about the man, his life and the 500 songs he wrote. Fascinating.
On the other hand, Jerry Lee Lewis, our own Louisiana star still lives and performs foot stomping favorites like “Whole Lotta Of Shakin’ Goin’ On,” the song that made him a star. His is a fascinating story told by the one writer who could do him justice. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rick Bragg fills this colorful bio from the boy at five tentatively exploring the piano to the man today nearing 80 sitting atop it and banging out “Great Balls of Fire” with his feet. He’s had a troubled life but still has a Lotta Shakin on to do.