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This title in other editions

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears

by

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears Cover

ISBN13: 9781568584072
ISBN10: 1568584075
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Johnny Cash's 1964 concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian is certainly one of the finest (and most underrated) records of his career. D'Ambrosio's book A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, while well-researched and mostly fascinating, is perhaps somewhat mistitled. Though Cash's album, devoted to the vicious and unfair treatment of indigenous peoples, is the pivot upon which the narrative depends, a majority of the book is spent relating the not-unrelated tales of Peter La Farge (a folksinger who wrote five of the album's eight songs), the native rights and civil rights movements, and the reemergence of the folk scene (Guthrie, Seeger, Dylan, etc.). Little room (or, maybe, room not ample enough) is devoted to Cash and his truly singular album. While Bitter Tears was met with a combination of disregard and reproach, the album did meet with some success, eventually climbing to number two on the country charts and 47th overall. There is much to like in D'Ambrosio's book, and it is evident that he is fond of the subject and excited to have been able to write about it. For any well-read music lover, Cash fan, or folk devotee, many of the facts and faces will be familiar. Woven together, the story of converging movements is intriguing, and D'Ambrosio's portrait of an era is vivid and well-constructed. A Heartbeat and a Guitar is not, however, so much a biography of Johnny Cash as it is a memoir of a chapter in American history rife with great change and upheaval.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A Heartbeat and a Guitar tells of the collaboration of two distinct yet connected musicians — iconoclast Johnny Cash and pioneering folk artist Peter La Farge — and the album they created, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. It also tells of the unique personal, political, and cultural struggles that informed this album, one that has influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.

D'Ambrosio has interviewed dozens of Cash's and La Farge's friends, family, and collaborators, including surviving members of his band, his producers, and Pete Seeger and Kris Kristofferson, creating a dramatic picture of both an era of radical protest and the making of one of the most controversial and enduring works of political pop art of the 1960s.

Review:

"...a rare and extraordinary work thanks to D'Ambrosio's exceptional and masterful storytelling.... D’Ambrosio’s work, like Cash himself, is highly original and a force to be reckoned with." Johnny Western, musician and longtime emcee of The Johnny Cash Show

Review:

"This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices." Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker

Review:

"I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time." Howard Zinn

Synopsis:

The untold story of the making of Johnny Cashs most controversial album, Bitter Tears

About the Author

D'Ambrosio is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and photographer. He is the founder/director of La Lutta New Media Collective, a media/activist production group based in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Susan Jacobson, November 22, 2009 (view all comments by Susan Jacobson)
this is a part of johnny cash that history seems to have missed. there was nothing about this album--Bitter Tears-- (which people tried hard to censor) in Walk the Line. this is a good story about a great artist. (and i have never even been a country music fan) :)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781568584072
Subtitle:
Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears
Author:
D'Ambrosio, Antonino
Publisher:
Nation Books
Subject:
Popular
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Pop Vocal
Subject:
Country musicians -- United States.
Subject:
Cash, Johnny
Subject:
General
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - Country & Folk
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Copyright:
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Publication Date:
20110503
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
296
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 10 oz
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Country » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Country » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 296 pages Nation Books - English 9781568584072 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Johnny Cash's 1964 concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian is certainly one of the finest (and most underrated) records of his career. D'Ambrosio's book A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, while well-researched and mostly fascinating, is perhaps somewhat mistitled. Though Cash's album, devoted to the vicious and unfair treatment of indigenous peoples, is the pivot upon which the narrative depends, a majority of the book is spent relating the not-unrelated tales of Peter La Farge (a folksinger who wrote five of the album's eight songs), the native rights and civil rights movements, and the reemergence of the folk scene (Guthrie, Seeger, Dylan, etc.). Little room (or, maybe, room not ample enough) is devoted to Cash and his truly singular album. While Bitter Tears was met with a combination of disregard and reproach, the album did meet with some success, eventually climbing to number two on the country charts and 47th overall. There is much to like in D'Ambrosio's book, and it is evident that he is fond of the subject and excited to have been able to write about it. For any well-read music lover, Cash fan, or folk devotee, many of the facts and faces will be familiar. Woven together, the story of converging movements is intriguing, and D'Ambrosio's portrait of an era is vivid and well-constructed. A Heartbeat and a Guitar is not, however, so much a biography of Johnny Cash as it is a memoir of a chapter in American history rife with great change and upheaval.

"Review" by , "...a rare and extraordinary work thanks to D'Ambrosio's exceptional and masterful storytelling.... D’Ambrosio’s work, like Cash himself, is highly original and a force to be reckoned with."
"Review" by , "This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices."
"Review" by , "I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time."
"Synopsis" by ,
The untold story of the making of Johnny Cashs most controversial album, Bitter Tears
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