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"Described as "the Bible for country music history and scholarship" on its original publication, it is quite simply the cornerstone--and a highly readable one at that--of any shelf devoted to the country's Southern/Western rural class music and should be in any library of America's music heritage." -- Texas Books in Review From reviews of the first edition: "The most accur "Described as "the Bible for country music history and scholarship" on its original publication, it is quite simply the cornerstone--and a highly readable one at that--of any shelf devoted to the country's Southern/Western rural class music and should be in any library of America's music heritage." -- Texas Books in Review From reviews of the first edition: "The most accurate, complete and serious study of country music ever published." -- Nashville Tennessean "It will stand as a basic source of reference [on] country music for many years to come-- probably forever." -- Stereo Review "A splendid book...impressively documented, and...beautifully written." -- Journal of Southern History From reviews of the revised edition: "[Malone] has done something that most readers thought was impossible and that is to actually improve what most of us thought was a perfect book." -- Country Music News "For almost two decades, Bill Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. has stood as the book in its field; this new edition secures that position. Scholars, music lovers, and general readers will all find it rewarding, whether for the first or second time." -- Journal of the West "A book to be read, re-read, and savored." -- Southwest Review Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music's folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio to the beginning of the twenty-first century. This second revised edition includes an extensive new chapter that continues the story from 1985 to 2000, along with anannotated listing of books and recordings which came out during that time.


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"Described as "the Bible for country music history and scholarship" on its original publication, it is quite simply the cornerstone--and a highly readable one at that--of any shelf devoted to the country's Southern/Western rural class music and should be in any library of America's music heritage." -- Texas Books in Review From reviews of the first edition: "The most accur "Described as "the Bible for country music history and scholarship" on its original publication, it is quite simply the cornerstone--and a highly readable one at that--of any shelf devoted to the country's Southern/Western rural class music and should be in any library of America's music heritage." -- Texas Books in Review From reviews of the first edition: "The most accurate, complete and serious study of country music ever published." -- Nashville Tennessean "It will stand as a basic source of reference [on] country music for many years to come-- probably forever." -- Stereo Review "A splendid book...impressively documented, and...beautifully written." -- Journal of Southern History From reviews of the revised edition: "[Malone] has done something that most readers thought was impossible and that is to actually improve what most of us thought was a perfect book." -- Country Music News "For almost two decades, Bill Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. has stood as the book in its field; this new edition secures that position. Scholars, music lovers, and general readers will all find it rewarding, whether for the first or second time." -- Journal of the West "A book to be read, re-read, and savored." -- Southwest Review Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music's folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio to the beginning of the twenty-first century. This second revised edition includes an extensive new chapter that continues the story from 1985 to 2000, along with anannotated listing of books and recordings which came out during that time.

30 review for Country Music, U.S.A.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hartzer

    This is not a fun read. But it is a detailed read. Malone knows the subject of old country music cold, but that is part of the problem. While this book gets 5 stars for scholarship and detail, it loses points for excessive detail and readability. It's great to learn the background of hundreds of early artists, but I'm afraid it is just overwhelming. If you don't know most of the artists here, it will be a muddle. An important work that could use some editing. This is not a fun read. But it is a detailed read. Malone knows the subject of old country music cold, but that is part of the problem. While this book gets 5 stars for scholarship and detail, it loses points for excessive detail and readability. It's great to learn the background of hundreds of early artists, but I'm afraid it is just overwhelming. If you don't know most of the artists here, it will be a muddle. An important work that could use some editing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Cash

    The ultimate one-stop-shop history of country music since 1968, Malone's book has remained a standard since its publication for a reason. The fact is, if you're interested in country music scholarship this is the place to start and continues to be an important document in the genre's scholarship. I finally read it for the first time in advance of Ken Burns's Country Music which features Malone as its only scholar, and I was glad to finally experience what it had to offer. I read the 50th anniver The ultimate one-stop-shop history of country music since 1968, Malone's book has remained a standard since its publication for a reason. The fact is, if you're interested in country music scholarship this is the place to start and continues to be an important document in the genre's scholarship. I finally read it for the first time in advance of Ken Burns's Country Music which features Malone as its only scholar, and I was glad to finally experience what it had to offer. I read the 50th anniversary edition that was updated to 2018 with an additional chapter by an Atlanta scholar on the current state of affairs in the genre. Overall, there is no comparison to be made with any other book on the subject to this one. Others focus on aspects of country music that may get a few pages here, but for a broad history this book is indispensable.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    All the critics seem to agree that this is the go-to book for a thorough and comprehensive history of Country Music and, as I haven't read anything similar, I found it to be so. I did not grow up with country music, but came to it late in life, so I had much to learn about this genre. Malone and Neal's book is considered by some to be Country Music's bible, and they certainly spare no effort to tell the story of this uniquely American art form. Country music is primarily southern in origin, with All the critics seem to agree that this is the go-to book for a thorough and comprehensive history of Country Music and, as I haven't read anything similar, I found it to be so. I did not grow up with country music, but came to it late in life, so I had much to learn about this genre. Malone and Neal's book is considered by some to be Country Music's bible, and they certainly spare no effort to tell the story of this uniquely American art form. Country music is primarily southern in origin, with important branches in the rural Midwest and California, and the music has numerous styles, both electric, acoustic, modern and traditional The number of famous artists and songs referred to are too numerous to mention, and the text is pleasantly readable. Reading this book is a bit like taking a college course in the history of this music.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dixie Diamond

    Really interesting book, but get the 2002 edition if you can. This is pretty out-of-date.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike Parkes

    I'm a huge fan of classic country music (basically anything before the transition to "bro-country" that began in the early 90s), so I should have enjoyed this book a lot more than I actually did. I agree with many other reviewers that the book feels more like an encyclopedia, sacrificing readability and broader insights on developments in the genre for the sake of squeezing in more artists. I recommend the Ken Burns documentary as a better intro to the genre - you can then use this one more as a I'm a huge fan of classic country music (basically anything before the transition to "bro-country" that began in the early 90s), so I should have enjoyed this book a lot more than I actually did. I agree with many other reviewers that the book feels more like an encyclopedia, sacrificing readability and broader insights on developments in the genre for the sake of squeezing in more artists. I recommend the Ken Burns documentary as a better intro to the genre - you can then use this one more as a reference work.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Armstrong

    Quite disappointed in this offering. Such a fascinating topic but the book was very very dry. I suppose that's a product of being an academic history of country music has such a fascinating history it shouldn't be as boring as it was in this book. So much focus on early singers and niche singers. Maybe it would have been better to stick to the big names and focus on them a bit more. But usually you get a paragraph or two on the big stats and pages and pages on people you've never heard of. Quite disappointed in this offering. Such a fascinating topic but the book was very very dry. I suppose that's a product of being an academic history of country music has such a fascinating history it shouldn't be as boring as it was in this book. So much focus on early singers and niche singers. Maybe it would have been better to stick to the big names and focus on them a bit more. But usually you get a paragraph or two on the big stats and pages and pages on people you've never heard of.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mickey McIntosh

    Everything you have always wanted to know about country music is here. From its beginnings to the present, every form, and every country music artist is here. Originally published in 1968, I suggest grabbing the 50th anniversary edition because a lots happened in country music since then. If you're unto music books and music history, make room on your shelf for this Everything you have always wanted to know about country music is here. From its beginnings to the present, every form, and every country music artist is here. Originally published in 1968, I suggest grabbing the 50th anniversary edition because a lots happened in country music since then. If you're unto music books and music history, make room on your shelf for this

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dwight

    Finally got through this one. In a lot of ways, this is a better encapsulation of country music than the recent Ken Burns' docuseries "Country Music." But I'd recommend both for a fairly complete look at this uniquely American musical genre. Finally got through this one. In a lot of ways, this is a better encapsulation of country music than the recent Ken Burns' docuseries "Country Music." But I'd recommend both for a fairly complete look at this uniquely American musical genre.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonny Brick

    The inspiration for the Ken Burns PBS series, this is the Ur-text on country music. The new edition includes Beyonce, while other additions to the 1968 text emphasise the rise of stadium country and the urban cowboy. Every country fan should invest in this, which treats hillbilly music like opera.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    My only problem with this book is that you could tell someone else wrote the final chapter and it was in a totally different style.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Herwin Tros

    very complete, but overall to positive for every artist.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zach Fulbright

    An excellent reference tool for country music scholars and enthusiasts alike -- a 'who done it' of country music. If you aren't looking for every detail of every aspect of everything country music, you may want to look elsewhere... but if you are, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. The prose has a narrative quality to it that makes reading enjoyable, while at the same time filling you with every detail imaginable. I recommend picking up this one up! Just make sure you get the most recent edition; it has been An excellent reference tool for country music scholars and enthusiasts alike -- a 'who done it' of country music. If you aren't looking for every detail of every aspect of everything country music, you may want to look elsewhere... but if you are, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. The prose has a narrative quality to it that makes reading enjoyable, while at the same time filling you with every detail imaginable. I recommend picking up this one up! Just make sure you get the most recent edition; it has been updated several times.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fabio

    The main problem of this book is that it seems an encyclopedia. For every decade, the biography of the most important country singers or groups is traced and the best songs are mentioned. It becomes a short sequence of artists that, once you are at the end of the chapter, you have already forgotten. What's the point of reading an essay, if after reading it you don't remember anything? The most interesting part of the book is the bibliography where lots of other books, both generic and specific, ab The main problem of this book is that it seems an encyclopedia. For every decade, the biography of the most important country singers or groups is traced and the best songs are mentioned. It becomes a short sequence of artists that, once you are at the end of the chapter, you have already forgotten. What's the point of reading an essay, if after reading it you don't remember anything? The most interesting part of the book is the bibliography where lots of other books, both generic and specific, about the subject are mentioned, so that you can delve more into the world of country music.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Guff

    If you can read and skip over the authors bias and lack of facts to support his conjecture, he actually does site and provide real insight into early country music origins. So skim, and read the facts, not the opinions. About 1/3 of this book is readable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karlyn

    The definitive history of Country Music...approaching the book with little background knowledge of country music, Malone kept me captivated the entire way through.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    The book that started it all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Russell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Will Wyatt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mahlon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dejo

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hope Schwartz

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Burns

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blake Boldt

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott Meredith

  25. 5 out of 5

    Oscar Zermeno

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ty

  27. 4 out of 5

    Will Damron

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juha

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aoife Fahey

  30. 4 out of 5

    Logan Brackett

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