The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16399 Message #662628
Posted By: Joe Offer
04-Mar-02 - 03:12 PM
Thread Name: Songbooks: A Basic Folk Library
Subject: Book Review: READING LYRICS
Well, I suppose it isn't folk, but I think it's appropriate for folk musicians to know the songs of Tin Pan Alley. I just came across a book called Reading Lyrics, edited by Robert Gottlieb and Robert Kimball (Pantheon Books, 2000). The dust jacket blurb says the book has "more than a thousand of the finest lyrics from 1900 to 1975. A celebration of our greatest songwriters, a rediscovery of forgotten masters, and an appreciation of an extraordinary, popular art form."
The lyrics appear to be strictly from American songwriters, the so-called "standards." I don't see any folk or blues, or rock 'n' roll. There are songs I love to sing. I know the tunes, but the lyrics help my fading memory. I'm sure I'll spend hours singing my way through this gem of a book.
Gottlieb has another book called Reading Jazz but I don't know anything about it. Kimball edited The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart, along with similar books on Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, and Irving Berlin. The Kimball books tell the stories behind the songs, and include lots of great photos. Reading Lyrics doesn't have the photos and has only biographical information about the songwriters - but the selection of songs is terrific.