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Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture

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From Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music. To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen through the prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—with illuminating results. Tracing a direct li From Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music. To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen through the prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—with illuminating results. Tracing a direct line from plantation field hollers to gangsta rap, author Kevin Phinney explains how blacks and whites exist in a constant tug-of-war as they create, re-create, and claim each phase of popular music. Meticulously researched, the book includes dozens of exclusive celebrity interviews that reveal the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of sharing the limelight. Unique, intriguing, Souled American should be required reading for every American interested in music, in history, or in healing our country’s troubled race relations. • Combines social history and pop culture to reveal how jazz, blues, soul, country, and hip-hop have developed • Includes interviews with Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, B. B. King, David Byrne, Sly Stone, Donna Summer, Bonnie Raitt, and dozens more • Confronts questions of race and finds meaningful answers • Ideal for Black History Month


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From Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music. To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen through the prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—with illuminating results. Tracing a direct li From Jim Crow to Eminem, white culture has been transformed by black music. To be so influenced by the boundless imagination of a race brought to America in chains sets up a fascinating irony, and Souled American, an ambitious and comprehensive look at race relations as seen through the prism of music, examines that irony fearlessly—with illuminating results. Tracing a direct line from plantation field hollers to gangsta rap, author Kevin Phinney explains how blacks and whites exist in a constant tug-of-war as they create, re-create, and claim each phase of popular music. Meticulously researched, the book includes dozens of exclusive celebrity interviews that reveal the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of sharing the limelight. Unique, intriguing, Souled American should be required reading for every American interested in music, in history, or in healing our country’s troubled race relations. • Combines social history and pop culture to reveal how jazz, blues, soul, country, and hip-hop have developed • Includes interviews with Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, B. B. King, David Byrne, Sly Stone, Donna Summer, Bonnie Raitt, and dozens more • Confronts questions of race and finds meaningful answers • Ideal for Black History Month

48 review for Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I read this book originally for a CORE capstone course on Post-WWII Youth Culture. In practice, the course became a music appreciation course (my professor is a lover of jazz and a noted music critic); still, the course was fun and we were exposed to a lot of music and film I otherwise would never have seen. Anyway, a lot of the material dealt with the musical debt (and certainly many others...) due to black culture by white. An enjoyable, informative page-turner, but I kept wondering if the auth I read this book originally for a CORE capstone course on Post-WWII Youth Culture. In practice, the course became a music appreciation course (my professor is a lover of jazz and a noted music critic); still, the course was fun and we were exposed to a lot of music and film I otherwise would never have seen. Anyway, a lot of the material dealt with the musical debt (and certainly many others...) due to black culture by white. An enjoyable, informative page-turner, but I kept wondering if the author proved his thesis, as did another reviewer. Personally, I think "How Black Music Transformed White Culture" is an overreach; "...Transformed White Music"; "...Influenced White Culture"; and/or even "On Black and White Musical & Cultural Exchange" would be more accurate. To be clear, I fully understand and acknowledge the African and African-American origins of American music, but no culture or subculture exists in a vacuum. It just seems a little too sociologically simplistic overall.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sam Orndorff

    I am extra white and I love black music. I hoped for a much stronger central thesis to support the subtitle but was no less entertained by the album review-style prose. There are enough interesting historical nuggets to keep you reading, especially if you love US social history. And it's definitely worth a read if you love Americana ("Roots") and Jazz. The author paints an inconclusive yet effective exposition on the centuries of white theft of black tradition. The concluding chapters were disap I am extra white and I love black music. I hoped for a much stronger central thesis to support the subtitle but was no less entertained by the album review-style prose. There are enough interesting historical nuggets to keep you reading, especially if you love US social history. And it's definitely worth a read if you love Americana ("Roots") and Jazz. The author paints an inconclusive yet effective exposition on the centuries of white theft of black tradition. The concluding chapters were disappointing, the author has a dangerously superficial (CNN style) understanding of the rich breadth of hip hop. I was also troubled by his usage of the term "wigga" [The word is racist. If white youth who act black are wiggers then what are black youth who act black??]. There probably exists a more authoritative text on this topic but I found it hard to put this one down despite that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ms W

    Ms. W: I've often wanted to take the UT or TSU 'History of Rock n' Roll' courses, but haven't squeezed it into the schedule or the budget yet...this book went a long way toward getting me started on that study on my own. One time local KGSR DJ, Kevin Phinney, writes a rich and well researched account of the origins and influences of everything from the 'Chitlin Circuit' to the earliest uses of 'sampling' in the development of rock 'n roll.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Interesting outlook on how African Americans transformed white culture with music during and after slavery.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Guilbert

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

  7. 5 out of 5

    Agymah

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

  11. 4 out of 5

    Annelisa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miller Combs

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wes

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Coe

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nick Capezio

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gilde

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael D.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thadra

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenna

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caesar Warrington

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mike Woodward

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian Davis

  25. 4 out of 5

    Yasheve

    nope

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dagoberto

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Saenz

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meesh

  31. 4 out of 5

    SUNY Potsdam College Libraries

  32. 5 out of 5

    Kira

  33. 5 out of 5

    Deecizzy

  34. 4 out of 5

    B.J.

  35. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  36. 5 out of 5

    Dom

  37. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

  38. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Smith

  39. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  40. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

  41. 4 out of 5

    Michael Strode

  42. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  43. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  44. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  45. 5 out of 5

    Howtobeterrell

  46. 5 out of 5

    Paola Reyes

  47. 4 out of 5

    Dee

  48. 5 out of 5

    J. J.

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