Rock & Roll Summer Reading

Rock & Roll Summer Reading

The Boy Who Cried Freebird: Rock & Roll Fables and Sonic Storytelling

by Mitch Myers
HarperEntertainment, 321 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Originally published last April in hardback, Mitch Myers' The Boy Who Cried Freebird shouldn't be judged by its title, but it takes more than genealogy to make a good writer. All Things Considered contributor, music collector, and Shel Silverstein's nephew, Myers attempts to rekindle the tradition of allegorical storytelling, but aside from lighthearted reads about Adam Coil's time travel (from the future to the Fillmore) and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," there's not much but bathroom fluff. The trite collection of music-related short stories, fables, and essays suffers from a bad case of last-line pathos: "It had been a long day," "So much for nothing," "The rest is history," etc. Myers riffs on every genre from jazz (Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington) to country (Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons) to jam (the Dead, the Dead, and the Dead), but good luck staying awake through his history lessons. Myers leans heavily on cliché, leaving nothing to the imagination: "And for an all-American boy to imagine escaping the pervasive barrenness, narrow-minded intolerance, and soul-killing humdrum of everyday Texas life, dreams just needed to be a little bit more down-to-earth." Baloney. Perhaps Myers would shine brighter reworking his uncle's Where the Sidewalk Ends.

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