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Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

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By the bestselling author of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll and Last Train the Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this dazzling new book of profiles is a culmination of Peter Guralnick’s remarkable work, which from the start has encompassed the full sweep of blues, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll. It covers old ground from new perspectives, offering de By the bestselling author of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll and Last Train the Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this dazzling new book of profiles is a culmination of Peter Guralnick’s remarkable work, which from the start has encompassed the full sweep of blues, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll. It covers old ground from new perspectives, offering deeply felt, masterful, and strikingly personal portraits of creative artists, both musicians and writers, at the height of their powers. “You put the book down feeling that its sweep is vast, that you have read of giants who walked among us,” rock critic Lester Bangs wrote of Guralnick’s earlier work in words that could just as easily be applied to this new one. And yet, for all of the encomiums that Guralnick’s books have earned for their remarkable insights and depth of feeling, Looking to Get Lost is his most personal book yet. For readers who have grown up on Guralnick’s unique vision of the vast sweep of the American musical landscape, who have imbibed his loving and lively portraits and biographies of such titanic figures as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Sam Phillips, there are multiple surprises and delights here, carrying on and extending all the themes, fascinations, and passions of his groundbreaking earlier work. One of NPR’s Best Books of 2020 One of Kirkus Review/Rolling Stone’s Top Music Books of 2020 One of No Depression’s Best Books of 2020


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By the bestselling author of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll and Last Train the Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this dazzling new book of profiles is a culmination of Peter Guralnick’s remarkable work, which from the start has encompassed the full sweep of blues, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll. It covers old ground from new perspectives, offering de By the bestselling author of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll and Last Train the Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this dazzling new book of profiles is a culmination of Peter Guralnick’s remarkable work, which from the start has encompassed the full sweep of blues, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll. It covers old ground from new perspectives, offering deeply felt, masterful, and strikingly personal portraits of creative artists, both musicians and writers, at the height of their powers. “You put the book down feeling that its sweep is vast, that you have read of giants who walked among us,” rock critic Lester Bangs wrote of Guralnick’s earlier work in words that could just as easily be applied to this new one. And yet, for all of the encomiums that Guralnick’s books have earned for their remarkable insights and depth of feeling, Looking to Get Lost is his most personal book yet. For readers who have grown up on Guralnick’s unique vision of the vast sweep of the American musical landscape, who have imbibed his loving and lively portraits and biographies of such titanic figures as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Sam Phillips, there are multiple surprises and delights here, carrying on and extending all the themes, fascinations, and passions of his groundbreaking earlier work. One of NPR’s Best Books of 2020 One of Kirkus Review/Rolling Stone’s Top Music Books of 2020 One of No Depression’s Best Books of 2020

30 review for Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    It was a good book. At times I found this book rather tedious, but I don't think it was entirely the books fault. I'm not a full on fan of country, but other parts in this were really fascinating and well done. Especially since I enjoy music and wanted to learn more about it and the evolution. Disclaimer: Won this through a goodreads givewaway; that did not influence my review in any way. It was a good book. At times I found this book rather tedious, but I don't think it was entirely the books fault. I'm not a full on fan of country, but other parts in this were really fascinating and well done. Especially since I enjoy music and wanted to learn more about it and the evolution. Disclaimer: Won this through a goodreads givewaway; that did not influence my review in any way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim Willse

    Vintage profiles and reflections on a variety of mostly blues, R and B, and country artists by a guy who's spent his whole life writing about them. Vintage profiles and reflections on a variety of mostly blues, R and B, and country artists by a guy who's spent his whole life writing about them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Billdorsey

    I received this book from Goodreads giveaway. I've read about half of it. The short pieces cover a lot of ground from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, looking at influences of the artist and the author's interactions with some of the modern musicians. Some of the pieces are more interesting than others; I found the piece about Colonel Tom Parker pretty funny. As a musician, I found some of the pieces offered new insight into their history and artistic process. If you are a fan of old blues and coun I received this book from Goodreads giveaway. I've read about half of it. The short pieces cover a lot of ground from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, looking at influences of the artist and the author's interactions with some of the modern musicians. Some of the pieces are more interesting than others; I found the piece about Colonel Tom Parker pretty funny. As a musician, I found some of the pieces offered new insight into their history and artistic process. If you are a fan of old blues and country music, and the origins and evolution of the music, you would probably enjoy much of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Author Peter Guralnick returns to his roots and sheds new light on the Southern Rhythms and Blues. He reminds us that art is fueled by culture. The true lover of Blues will enjoy this biographical story of the music, artist, and culture that surrounds it. A must-read for true blues fans.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim Eggensperger

    Great book on many levels. Good insights and stories about music and musicians.but also tremendous insights into the writing life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ben Ricketts

    Wow. I read this book slowly (essay-by-essay) between reading more linear, involved books. This book not only opened my eyes to musicians I was totally unfamiliar with (like Dick Curless) and inspired me in my own musical creations (admittedly nothing like any of the artists profiled within), but it also made me see these artists through truly enthusiastic and excited eyes. Peter Guralnick loves music the way his subjects love music. He loves music the way we all do when we first discover those Wow. I read this book slowly (essay-by-essay) between reading more linear, involved books. This book not only opened my eyes to musicians I was totally unfamiliar with (like Dick Curless) and inspired me in my own musical creations (admittedly nothing like any of the artists profiled within), but it also made me see these artists through truly enthusiastic and excited eyes. Peter Guralnick loves music the way his subjects love music. He loves music the way we all do when we first discover those artists that blow our minds as children. And Guralnick gives me faith that I’ll never hit the bottom of that well; there is always something else to discover. Guralnick’s profiles are moving and compelling, and the final two chapters will leave you feeling all kinds of ways. I recommend this book to fans of music, biography, or just good and passionate writing. This book was a gift, and I’m very glad to have received it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Phil Gray

    Captivating assembly of essays and interviews from the past fifty years of a writing life. I have every published book by Peter Guralnick (even the novel) and love them all, partly because our musical tastes overlap so much. If you like classic blues, country and soul you are on safe ground here. A departure from the usual range of subjects is the focus on two authors, both new to me: Lee Smith and Henry Green, whose works I shall investigate in the future. Rich in detail, these portraits stimul Captivating assembly of essays and interviews from the past fifty years of a writing life. I have every published book by Peter Guralnick (even the novel) and love them all, partly because our musical tastes overlap so much. If you like classic blues, country and soul you are on safe ground here. A departure from the usual range of subjects is the focus on two authors, both new to me: Lee Smith and Henry Green, whose works I shall investigate in the future. Rich in detail, these portraits stimulate interest in the subjects and hopefully propel readers toward the recorded works of these great singers and musicians. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, but then I am a fan of fifty years standing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I am thrilled that I was sent this book as a giveaway. I was unfamiliar with the author and though have only skimmed the contents quickly-- reading parts of chapters though out the book-- the author's abilities as a writer provide insights and history in a personal and objective and unsentimental manner. If one is looking for tabloid like insights and quick little vignettes of popular musical artists or music personnel, then look elsewhere. Neither is this a book of music scholarship per say, bu I am thrilled that I was sent this book as a giveaway. I was unfamiliar with the author and though have only skimmed the contents quickly-- reading parts of chapters though out the book-- the author's abilities as a writer provide insights and history in a personal and objective and unsentimental manner. If one is looking for tabloid like insights and quick little vignettes of popular musical artists or music personnel, then look elsewhere. Neither is this a book of music scholarship per say, but an anthology by a thoughtful and intelligent historian and essayist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Renberg

    I would probably read anything the author had to say about music. This does not disappoint! I found something to like in each of the individual essays and came away knowing a little bit more about a variety of subjects. Well done!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Glorious, insightful, poignant. Might not be the ideal starting place, but if you love Guralnick's writing (as I do), you'll be very much at home. All of his books are essential, this one no less than the others. Glorious, insightful, poignant. Might not be the ideal starting place, but if you love Guralnick's writing (as I do), you'll be very much at home. All of his books are essential, this one no less than the others.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This is a fabulous, fabulous book from an author who respects the art (and self-regulated ethical boundaries) of both music and literature. Not easily found these days, so please pardon my standing ovation. Many thanks, Peter Guralnick.

  12. 4 out of 5

    PottWab Regional Library

    O

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Miller

    I loved Guralnick’s Elvis books. I didn’t love these essays. DNF.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    After the first 150 pages or so realized it would work better being read more episodically than straight through.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  16. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cushman

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg Goulette

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hilary Nelson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Monroe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

  25. 4 out of 5

    Łukasz

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tandi Cortez

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom

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