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Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, March 16, 2007, Music

Whiskey River (Take My Mind): The True Story of Texas Honky-Tonk

by Johnny Bush with Rick Mitchell

University of Texas Press, 272 pp., $24.95

Johnny Bush has a glorious story to tell. A pillar of Texas country music and close associate to Willie Nelson via his "Whiskey River," Bush's place in history is cemented. What's most engaging about his autobiography, however, is the way he tells it. Its conversational tone would make a perfect Book on Tape. Bush recounts his upbringing on the poor side of Houston, the wild times spent backing Nelson and Ray Price, his rise as a solo artist, and his survival of a rare vocal disorder that almost cut his career short, but he also dishes great bits on musicians who have crossed his path like Chet Atkins, Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, and Moon Mullican. Throughout, Bush rarely drifts off topic, which could have been a problem in his casual, off-the-cuff manner, making Whiskey River not only a quick, appealing read but an important glimpse into Texas music history. (Friday, March 16, Jovita's, 10:30pm)

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