Bards of the Bayou

By John Ed Bradley GQ June 1991 Tipitina’s in the warm blue fog, squatting beneath a crescent moon so sharp and clean you could shave a wild hog with it. Art Neville enters the famous New Orleans honky-tonk wearing a hipster’s suit and studded leather boots, his wife,...

Louis

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 Louis Armstrong, summoned by King Oliver, came up to Chicago in the summer of 1922, Buster Bailey reports that “Louis upset Chicago. All the musicians came to hear Louis. What made Louis upset Chicago so? His execution, for one thing,...

In Conversation: Rich Cohen

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 22, 2016 Rich Cohen writes books that are hard to put down. From Tough Jews and The Record Men to his hilarious memoir, Sweet and Low: A Family Story, to the hearty—and heartfelt—appreciation of the 1985 Chicago Bears, Cohen is...

The Dreamer Deceiver: The Reno Trial of Judas Priest

By Ivan Solotaroff The Village Voice September 4, 1990 By the banks of the Truckee River, under a nearly full moon, a tall, vaguely Hispanic-looking man with beautiful shoulder-length black hair, a foot-long beard, and a plump, perfectly relaxed body comes over to...

Furry’s Blues

By Stanley Booth Playboy April 1970 “By now there must be in the world a million guitar virtuosos; but there are very few real blues players. The reason for this is that the blues—not the form but the blues—demands such dedication. This dedication lies beyond...

The Power and the Glory

By Nelson George The Village Voice May 8, 1984 March 1983—In the motel’s living room two women in their late thirties, wearing much too much makeup, and clothes too tight covering too much flesh, hovered over a hot plate, concerned that everything would taste right...

Who Killed Jaco Pastorius?

By Pat Jordan GQ April 1988 He was just another bum bleeding to death in an alleyway at four o’clock in the morning. He lay motionless on the concrete, as if sleeping, his tangled shoulder-length hair ringed by a halo of blood. He lay there peacefully for a while, in...

Lady Day

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1974 Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, at Birdland in New York. Coming down the stairs I heard a crackling, stunning trumpet cadenza, brilliant in content as well as in its reckless virtuosity. And yet it wasn’t Dizzy. I looked at the stand and...

The Grandeur of Elvis

By Greil Marcus From Mystery Train 1975 These days, Elvis is always singing. In his stage-show documentary, Elvis on Tour, we see him singing to himself, in limousines, backstage, running, walking, standing still, as his servant fits his cape to his shoulders, as he...

Express Trane

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 Coltrane, a man of almost unbelievable gentleness made human to us lesser mortals by his very occasional rages. Coltrane, an authentically spiritual man, but not innocent of carnal imperatives. Or perhaps more accurately, a man, in his...

The Rise and Fall of the Beatles

By Nik Cohn From Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom 1969 Next came the Fab Four, the Moptop Mersey Marvels, and this is the bit I’ve been dreading. I mean what is there possibly left to say on them? In the beginning, I should say, the Beatles were the Quarrymen, and then they...

Janis Joplin

By Ellen Willis From The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll 1980 Janis Joplin was born in 1943 and grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. She began singing in bars and coffeehouses, first locally, then in Austin, where she spent most of a year at the...