Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Authors: Gary U.S. Bonds with
Those who know anything about rock history know about Gary U.S. Bonds two eras in the spotlight. Back in the late '50s, early '60s, he was an R&B singer known for calypso-flavored twist records and singles like "New Orleans" and his Number One hit, "Quarter To Three." In those days, he toured England headlining shows that included the early Beatles. Two decades later, he had a major resurgence when Bruce Springsteen gave him hits like "This Little Girl" with backing by the likes of Steve Van Zandt and the E Street Band. But Bonds career continues to the present day which means the story of a performer born June 6, 1939 is more than that of a singer popular every20 years or so.
Raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Gary Levone Anderson came up in the segregated south before there was anything called rhythm and blues. He didn't know anything about performing on stage until the legendary Sam Cooke gave him some tutoring about moving around and not standing still. He toured with the likes of B. B. King and broke out of the genre he was known for to co-write "She's All I Got," a major record for country singer Johnny Paycheck in 1972. He was with Rick Nelson when the former teen heartthrob experienced the garden party he'd immortalize in his own autobiographical tune.
Of course, to enjoy a musical autobiography, it helps if there are not only good stories to tell but good story-telling. Having had the opportunity to interview the engaging Bonds last year, I was delighted to hear and feel his personality from start to finish in his memoir. On stage, Bonds knows how to entertain; that intuitive gift transfers to his conversations and, gratefully, his writing. Yes, we get a slice of rock history only Bonds can tell. But he's also candid about his life and family, his missteps and lessons learned. He's a man who enjoys life and his enthusiasm comes through his very fast-paced, no-nonsense account of over 50 years in show business.
The story is augmented with an introduction by E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt and some 80 photos of the Anderson family over the years. I've already used the word "engaging," but I can't think of another adjective to better that descriptor. There are few Founding Fathers of rock still around to tell the tale, so Bonds' new memoir is a welcome addition to any music library. It's a story worth knowing, especially when delivered by someone really enjoying sharing his rich well of experiences.
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