'Don't Get Above Your Raisin' by BILL C. MALONE       BOOK-B-MALONE

'Don't Get Above Your Raisin' by BILL C. MALONE BOOK-B-MALONE

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(University of Illinois Press 2002 Softbound). Bill Malone, author of the ground-breaking classic COUNTRY MUSIC USA and one of the very finest writers on the music, has a brilliant new book here that is a must reading for anyone with an interest in the phenomenon that is "Country Music". A native Texan and a professor who has taught history at several major universities. Malone explores with insight the complex and often contradictory aspects of music as part of Southern working class culture. In several wonderfully put together chapters, he deals with the themes of religion, patriotism, humor, labor, home and family, and regional or local nostalgia and pride and how they are interact in creating this distinctly unique form of music. Some 70 pages of notes, that often mention specific country recordings, are about as fasinating as the text itself. Never heavy handed, Malone writes in a straightforward manner and calls a spade a spade. It's a book that is hard to put down. .