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A Thousand Honey Creeks Later
My Life in Music from Basie to Motown—and Beyond
Preston Love; Johnny Otis, pref.; George Lipsitz, intro.


1997 • 296 pp. 33 illus. 6 x 9"
Music / African-American Studies

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6320-0

"Love has a rare gift for storytelling, recounting details of his life with such focus and intensity that the reader can almost feel the bus bumping along the Midwest highways of the 1930s . . . [A] bittersweet love letter to the good old days." —Publishers Weekly

The rise of jazz and Motown seen through the eyes of a premier African American performer.

Preston Love's resume reads like a Who's Who of American music: member of the Count Basie Band during its heyday in the 40s, studio musician in Los Angeles, cohort of Jo Jones, Lester Young, Ray Charles, and Dizzy Gillespie, and back-up player for Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. In this autobiography Love shows that, while the music centers of New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Kansas City nurtured the development of those uniquely African American forms, jazz and the Motown sound, significant contributions were also being made by territory bands tirelessly performing in outposts like St. Cloud, Minnesota, Guthrie, Oklahoma, and Honey Creek, Iowa.

It was in the latter town where Love, a 15-year-old from the black ghetto of Omaha, made his musical debut. Captivated by the sweet alto sax sounds of Earle Warren, Love took up the instrument and within a decade was sitting in Warren's chair. But Love's personal odyssey is more than a chronicle of endless bus rides, bad crowds in backwater clubs, and feast-or-famine finances endured en route to the top. In a distinctive and passionate voice he outlines significant facets of African American history: the central importance of the family in musical development, institutional racism in American popular culture, and the interracial nature of the music world. He also describes the growth of the music industry, especially Motown, what he calls "the powerful colossus from Detroit." Love's story, told with uncanny memory and unfailing honesty, provides an important view into the career of a musician and the evolution of a major musical form.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"This book is unique in its broad coverage of a jazz musicianπs working life . . . The hard times and the good times are all spelled out here in arresting detail."—Stanley Dance, author of The World of Count Basie

"This remarkable and unique story is not merely an account of a musician's career -- it is also an important contribution to African American social history, to the history of the music business, and to our understanding of institutional racism in American popular culture. It is a pathbreaking work of social history written with a warmth, wit, and keen eye for historical detail."—Daniel Czitrom, author of Media and the American Mind

Preston Love, a distinguished musician and jazz/Motown authority, has received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Creighton University and the Urban League of Nebraska's National Prominence Award.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:54:23 -0500