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NEW BOOK. Tunes of the Twenties by Robert Rawlins

Publicat in: 02.10.2016, 06:10AM
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
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Etichete: Robert Rawlins, Tunes Of The Twenties
NEW BOOK. Tunes of the Twenties by Robert Rawlins
Tunes of the Twenties is the first book of its kind to tell the stories behind the classic songs of the Jazz Age. With a Foreword by Vince Giordano (Musical Director for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire), this colorfully illustrated book embarks on a musical journey through the era of speakeasies, gangsters, and hot jazz. Robert Rawlins discusses each of the 250 songs in his previous publication The Real Dixieland Book, and takes readers backstage to share the intriguing, sometimes unbelievable stories associated with their publication and subsequent history.
Robert Rawlins is Professor of Music Theory at Rowan University, where he has taught for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Rutgers University. Robert plays the clarinet, saxophone, and flute and has been a professional musician his entire life. He has worked with hundreds of entertainers and is a former member of the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra. Robert remains active as a performer of traditional jazz in the Philadelphia area. 

978-0-996-59490-5  paperback  294 pp106 illustrations  $24.99  Dec. 2015

Praise for Tunes of the Twenties:   

·         "Tunes of the Twenties" is the perfect history book for music of this era."
–Denis DiBlasio, International Clinician and Performer
·         "Tunes of the Twenties! This great new book by Robert Rawlins is essential reading for every song lover!"
--Chris Calloway Brooks, Owner/Director, Cab Calloway Orchestra 
·         "Tunes Of The Twenties is filled with fascinating and well-researched tales about the origin and history behind the classic material."
--Scott Yanow, American jazz reviewer, historian and author
·         "An outstanding work. I wish I had had it to consult when I was writing my jazz standards book."   
--Ted Gioa, American jazz critic and music historian
·         " I can think of no other book that, so perfectly, captures the humor, sensitivity, depth and understanding of this musically rich decade in America."
--Ed Polcer, Jazz Cornetist
·         "We all delight in these old songs. It all gets better when you know how and why they were written and what it all meant at the time."
--Jim Cullum, Jazz Cornetist
·         "Rawlins' writing style combines seriousness and deep knowledge of the subject with much humor, making it easy to read while being highly rewarding."  
--All About Jazz
·           "A publication that is a welcome addition to literature commenting on the history of popular song." 
—Jazz Journal

Sample Entry

 I Can’t Give You Anything but Love (music: Jimmy McHugh, lyrics: Dorothy Fields, 1928): 

The 20s were the busiest years the Broadway theater ever had. Nowadays, perhaps 40-50 different shows will open per season. In 1928, more than 250 shows opened on Broadway. In the midst of all that activity, if a show ran a few hundred performances, it was considered very successful. Blackbirds of 1928 ran for 518 performances, making it the longest running all-Black show of its time.
Certainly the popularity of “I Can’t Give You” contributed to the success of the show, and vice versa. Surprisingly, the song was not an instant success. According to Fields, sometime before Blackbirds, she and McHugh overheard a conversation between a poor couple standing in front of Tiffany’s window, with the man saying “Gee, Honey, I can’t give you anything but love.” She claimed that they rushed home and completed with song within an hour. But they had no use for it just then, so they put it on the shelf. Early in 1928, McHugh convinced impresario Harry Delmar to let them contribute songs to his revue Delmar’s Revels. Among the songs they contributed was “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love.” The song was not well received on opening night, and Delmar hated it, supposedly telling them, “Take your song and get it out of the theater.” They tried one more time with Blackbirds and this time the magic worked. “I Can’t Give You” was the major success of the show. It became a runaway hit in 1928 and remains one of the most durable and beloved songs in the American Songbook. It can be heard on Cheek to Cheek, the 2014 Grammy Award-winning album by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

Contact The Author:
Robert Rawlins is available for phone interviews on radio, virtual book club appearances, and appearances by Skype.  He can be contacted at 856.313.2914or

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