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Buffalo's Book Club: "Dixie Lullaby"

Posted: Oct 01, 2007

Welcome to the first installment of Buffalo's Book Club. I figured, if Oprah can have one, so can I. The only thing is, I don't believe "O" and I will be recommending the same books. But then again, who knows?

Our first book is called Dixie Lullaby, written by fellow journalist Mark Kemp of North Carolina. We invite you to check it out and let us know what you think.


When I opened up my “goodie bag,” a bag of promotional materials and other fun stuff given to attendees, at the 2004 Americana Music Conference in Nashville, I was pleased as punch to find a copy of Mark Kemp’s book Dixie Lullaby inside. I had already caught the buzz around the internet about the book, and had planned to request a review copy when I returned home from the conference.

That night, back in my hotel room, I cracked the cover on what would turn out to be one of my all time favorite music books. Subtitled “A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South,” Dixie Lullaby was all that and more.

First of all, Mark Kemp, whose day job is at The Charlotte Observer, shares a lot of the same musical loves as me. I suppose we must be about the same age, and he grew up just up the road in Asheborro, North Carolina, a town that sounds quite a lot like my own birth place of Spartanburg, SC.

Kemp examines Southern rock music as a means to escape the racism that was thrust upon many of us all at birth. He paints a vivid portrait of life in the Carolinas during the Southern rock era of 1969-1979, with tips of the hat to founding fathers The Allman Brothers Band, as well as examinations of Dr. John, Capricorn Records, The Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the movers and shakers of the genre.

Kemp also moves headlong into the 1980’s, 1990’s and even into the 21st century, looking at the bands that followed in the footsteps of the originals, bands like R.E.M., The Black Crowes and The Drive By Truckers.

He blends Southern cultural commentary and memoir seamlessly, creating a magnificent and highly entertaining page-turner of a book.

So my challenge to you is to pick up a copy of Dixie Lullaby, read it, and come back to this page and add your comments and thoughts. I truly believe that if you love Southern rock like I do, you will love this book.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.

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