Alabama tends to get short shrift among music writers—who’ve spilled no small amount of ink on music that’s come out of Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta. That’s a situation The Oxford American’s latest music issue all but rectifies: It has essays, stories, and investigations by Carl Wilson, Franklin Bruno, Greil Marcus, Dan Baum, and John Jeremiah Sullivan, and an accompanying CD that’s crammed with intriguing and/or totally obscure recordings by Alabama musicians.
The disc kicks off with an introduction by country-music great Charlie Louvin and contains music by Hardrock Gunter, the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Dinah Washington, Sam Dees, Nat “King” Cole’s older brother, Eddie, and an unknown (but truly fantastic) country-blues singer named Dan Pickett. The magazine features a corresponding essay for every one of the tracks: All are super-informative, more than a few are beautifully written, and the whole package is well worth its $11 asking price.
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