Chinaberry Sidewalks-Rodney Crowell

  • Title: Chinaberry Sidewalks
  • Author: Rodney Crowell
  • Released: 2011-01-18
  • Language:
  • Pages: 272
  • ISBN: 0307594203
  • ISBN13: 978-0307594204
  • ASIN: 0307594203


From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Singer-songwriter Crowell's upbringing in Texas had all the prerequisite elements of a hardscrabble country music story--drinking, guns, fistfights, fierce spankings, infidelity, Pentecostal preachers, fishing, love, hate, laughter, tears, sex, drugs, and of course, music. But Crowell's storytelling abilities and narrative flair elevate this book far above the average music memoir. Born in 1950 to a blue-collar, hard-drinking, country-singing father and religious mother, Crowell lived in Jacinto City, east of Houston, in a shoddily constructed house cursed with leaks, mosquitoes, and vermin. He recalls hurricanes, fishing trips, rock throwing fights, and bow-and-arrow mishaps, all with the enthusiasm of a hyper 10-year-old pedaling at full speed (something he and neighborhood kids did when following the "Mosquito Dope Truck," a DDT spraying vehicle that they chased on their bicycles). Crowell touches on his early musical influences, including a Hank Williams concert when he was only two, and an outdoor show by Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash in a thunderstorm, as well as his first time playing music with his father's band. It's not music that's at the heart of this book, however, but his loving and turbulent relationships with his parents and their often strained but deep love for one another. (Jan.)
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From *Starred Review* Crowell is among the best storytellers to emerge from Nashville. Up to now, he told his stories in song, but with this heartfelt memoir, he can now be called a writer of the first order. Houston, where Crowell grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s, was a city full of characters found in stereotypical country songs: hard-drinking fathers and long-suffering mothers singing along to the beer-soaked ballads of Hank Williams. But this is not fiction; Crowell actually lived the life, soaking up its exhilarating and disturbing atmosphere. Crowell is unsparingly honest, yet there is an admirable restraint here, too. He clearly loves his family, accepting their bountiful deficiencies even when he criticizes them or wishes them harm. He can now see the kind of lives his parents wanted to live, and how they fell woefully short. He calls his father an enigma and savant; he admires his mother, who suffered from double dyslexia and epilepsy, for her towering instinct for survival. But he also discusses lighter topics, such as his early days in a rock ’n’ roll band, making for an exceptional memoir. --June Sawyers pdf
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