Feature

Also of interest...in musical renegades

Satan Is Real by Charlie Louvin; The Last Holiday by Gil Scott-Heron; Fug You by Ed Sanders; The Book of Drugs by Mike Doughty

Satan Is Realby Charlie Louvin (Igniter, $23)The story of the Louvin Brothers is “as sad a tale of country stardom as any out there,” said Wayne Bledsoe in the Knoxville News Sentinel. On stage, the old-time country duo could harmonize like no other group, but behind the scenes, theirs was a real-life Cain and Abel story—a push and pull between the straitlaced Charlie and the hard-drinking Ira that ended in breakup and tragedy. “Like their music,” this barroom-style account by Charlie, who died at 83 last January, is “classic stuff.”

The Last Holidayby Gil Scott-Heron (Grove, $25)The Last Holiday, is a singular triumph, one last act of love from the man often called ‘the godfather of hip-hop,’” said Michael Schaub in NPR.org. Gil Scott-Heron, best known for black-power political tunes, including “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died at 62 last year, but left behind this fascinating memoir, written in “charming, unforced prose.” Unfortunately, he left out mention of his late-life struggles with addiction and HIV, and the book suffers for the lack of candor.

Fug Youby Ed Sanders (Da Capo, $27)Ed Sanders is a bohemian polymath, said Ben Ratliff in The New York Times. Testifying at the Chicago Seven trial in 1970, he identified himself as a “poet, songwriter, leader of a rock-’n’-roll band, publisher, editor, recording artist, peace creep.” Sanders’s “funny, instructive, nourishing” new memoir recounts a life filled with countercultural wit and mischief, from his stint fronting the Fugs—a “sort-of rock band”—to running the subversive Peace Eye bookstore in New York’s Greenwich Village.

The Book of Drugsby Mike Doughty (Da Capo, $16)Mike Doughty knows what readers of rock memoirs want, said Steve Almond in The Boston Globe. With “lacerating candor,” the former front man for the 1990s band Soul Coughing chronicles how narcotics helped him escape the pressures of minor rock stardom but transformed him into a zombie. Doughty’s account offers an “eloquent summation of junkie life.” By the end, he “actually manages to make the Dionysian dream of rock ’n’ roll sound like a real drag.”

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