"As his memoir demonstrates, Otis was an important (and largely unheralded) pioneer of rock 'n' roll . . . His wonderful evocations of L.A.'s rock 'n' roll world and the 80-odd pictures documenting it make the book required reading for anyone interested in rock's history." Village Voice An intriguing memoir by the legendary bandleader. Legendary jazzman Johnny Otis has spent a lifetime at the center of L.A.'s black music scene as a composer, performer, producer, d.j., activist, and preacher. His energetic, anecdotal memoir, Upside Your Head! Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue, recalls the music, the great performers, and the vibrant culture of the district, as well as the political and social forces -- including virulent white racism -- that have shaped black life in Los Angeles. Resonating with anger, poignancy, joy, and defiance, Upside Your Head! is a unique document of the African-American musical and cultural experience. Upside Your Head! recalls a 50-year career when it seems Otis either encountered, discovered, or performed with every significant figure in the early days of rhythm & blues and rock 'n' roll, including Count Basie, Esther Phillips, T-Bone Walker, Big Mama Thornton, and Lester Young. Drawing on dozens of vignettes, personal photographs, and hours of taped interviews from the popular "Johnny Otis Show," Upside Your Head! offers a moving tribute to the black community that gave birth to L.A.'s rhythm and blues. His stories celebrate the true roots in black culture of a distinctive American music while lamenting its eventual appropriation by the dominant white society.
Upside Your Head! Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue
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