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Big Boss Man: The Life and Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed [Paperback]

Will Romano , Jimmy Reed

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2006 Book
(Book). Alcoholic. Epileptic. Technically challenged. Jimmy Reed nevertheless overcame these roadblocks to become perhaps the most successful R&B/pop cross-over artist of the '50s with songs like "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City." Musicians, family members, and those whose lives Reed touched offer revealing and heart-wrenching insights into this now-revered bluesman. While Reed's alcoholism was no secret, its effect on his musicianship is less understood. This engaging book tells the real story that until now has not been told.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books; Softcover edition (Aug. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308780
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #488,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read Nov. 9 2006
By LBWheels457 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book looks at the life of Jimmy Reed. His music was and still is wonderful and very influencial. This book tells of his troubles of trying to make it to his successes to comebacks and all of the struggles he faced inbetween. It's a fascinating story that is very historical in it's content, but also a captivating read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Big Boss Book On The Big Boss Man! Sept. 16 2007
By Frederick J. Decker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The miraculous progress in blues scholarship over the last 20 years or so continues with this book about the great Jimmy Reed. There were virtually no liner notes on Jimmy Reed albums, so a well researched book like this one fills in much needed information. The bonus of a book like this is the circular effect of reading it. Jimmy Reed's music draws you to the book, and reading the book sends you back to the music to hear musical observations the author points out. The end result is a better appreciation for music you already loved!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard life marked by the blues July 12 2013
By Hassan Awan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jimmy Reed has a lot in common with other Blues greats like BB King, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. After all, they were all farm hands who had a talent for music and were, unbeknownst to themselves destined the shape and form of blues music. Reed had a unique offering to the music world, in that all his songs featured the same Eddie Taylor shuffle and it was Jimmy's voice, lyrics and harp playing that set songs apart. The stories behind individual songs are amazing, as they were in the biographies of other greats like Wolf and Keith Richards. Jimmy's simple playing left him rather unknown after his death while the younger generation was singing songs of praise for the more famous BB King, Wolf and Waters. However, I was led to Reed's direction by Keith Richards, who in his autobiography alludes to Reed as a major influence and a wizard of simplicity. Like many artists, Reed was also exploited by those around him including recording contracts which effectively deprived him of most recurrent earnings. His wife's role in his career is truly unique among musicians as she was there in the recording booth to help him remember the lyrics (something you can hear on a number of songs). She also wrote a few of the songs and took care of him in testing times like his epileptic fits which would eventually consume him. Reed was surrounded by coworkers who saw him through his grave alcoholism and epilepsy. These included Al Smith, Eddie Taylor and of course Mama Reed among others. Reed was featured in the top charts more than any other blues great as his songs appealed to a wider audience despite being based on the same shuffle. Reed was obviously a simple man, prone to a lot of drinking and strongly dependent on his friends for everything but in the process he did not lose their affection for him. His popularity declined towards the end of his career amid changing labels, rock and roll revolution and rifts within the band as Eddie Taylor (apparently THE sound of the band) decided to tread his own path. Jimmy left the world just as he was making a come back with an album and tours; his financial plight was also not very strong at the time however subsequent legal quagmires would lead to beneficial settlement for the Reed estate. I am very grateful for Keith Richards for leading me to Reed's direction and this book is truly a gem about an under-appreciated blues great.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BOSSMAN OF THE BLUES March 28 2012
By W J. LANE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book just for hardcore Jimmy Reed fans! If you can't sing along on every Jimmy Reed song ever recorded don't bother!
But if you are a Jimmy Reed fan, you need this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Reed - just the best! The Atomic Roots Orchestra May 5 2013
By John A. Williamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jimmy Reed - An American Poet in song - his music stired 50's Teens to their core. Jimmy Reed parties, kids on the floor with their record players, intrepeting his poetry. This book gives us a view into the heart and soul of Jimmy Reed and his music. Little Rain Fallin' Little clock keep a makin' time! Tell it Jimmy! A great book!
John Lee Williamson, The Atomic Roots Orchestra
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