Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book review by K. Curtis Lyle.

There was an anxiety in the Devil At The Confluence Headquarters these past few weeks. We had been informed that K. Curtis Lyle was reviewing the book for the St Louis American newspaper.

The award-winning culture critic, Lyle was a founding member of the Watts Writers Workshop in 1966 in Los Angeles, California. He came to St. Louis in 1969 to help establish the African-American Studies Program at Washington University, where he was poet-in-residence. He has recorded records with the late Julius Hemphill, performed widely as a poet and has been anthologized in collections of jazz poetry. His books include: Drunk on God & From Out Of Nowhere, Nailed Seraphim and Electric Church.

It wasn't the job-interview, blind-date, rabbit test kinda anxiety because honestly, everyone who has replied after getting their copy has been enthusiastically happy and many have ordered more copies. It's just that we were really excited and honored that Curtis would give his thoughts on our project.

The review came out on the streets in the Christmas Eve issue of the St Louis American. 
Mr. Lyle digs the book.
In his hip and scholarly style he analyzes the methodology of the book and nails the larger purpose of the project. He gets it and tells it - the reason we did this book and the meaning of what this book represents.
Here are some excerpts:

"Each personage – from producer to club owner to blues giant to scene characters – is investigated, analyzed, probed in depth, placed in correct chronological and intellectual order. We are clearly told who did what when and what apparent difference it made – what effect it had on the history and social development of the music."

"Along the way, Belford challenges many items of conventional wisdom about the music with historical research and good common sense. Just as St. Louis has unfairly been relegated as a backwaters of the blues, however, a locally published book by a St. Louis author is not likely to garner the international attention it deserves. But if Belford’s research and reasoning could get anything approaching the play of Ken Burns’ documentaries or Wynton Marsalis’ pronouncements, the cultural discourse about American music would be shifted onto more solid and factual ground."

A more insightful review could not have been wished for. 
Thank you Mr. Lyle. 
And that second quote reveals our aspirations for 2010.

Happy holidays,
Devil At The Confluence.

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