"Cousin Brucie" Morrow's and Rich Maloof's most recent book Doo Wop: The Music, The Times, The Era, will have an enormous effect and a major impact on music lovers, music historians and the conscience of American heritage chronicles at many levels, and for ad infinitum reasons.
The Visual Effect
The book is a delightful visual panorama of the life, the times and pioneers of America's most distinctive and meaningful musical era; the Doo Wop! The pagination is effective, the layout is spectacular and the artistic design of the book is magnetizing. From the front cover to the back cover, and from the inside front cover to the jacket of the book, rainbows of colors, superb half tone, full tone, duotone, color hue, multi-variations of photos coloration of every known color in the universe, rich and diverse fonts, headlines stylings, eye-catching montage of texts and superposed art on large pages, most unusual backgrounds flirting with bubbly and lively scripts and cleverly retouched vintage photos transmute this book into an oasis of photography splendors and a world-class book design. Grosso modo, artistically, Doo Wop: The Music, The Times, The Era is a gem. The book designers, David Perry and Jason Cring delivered a first rate, 5 star design/layout rarely witnessed, nowadays! They did a magnificent job!
On page 19, Cousin Brucie" Morrow stated: Unlike an encyclopedia, a music guide or a traditional account of history, this is a record of emotions and experiences." This statement is accurate to a certain degree, because the book is more than a record of emotions and experiences", for, it is a visual, illustrative, rich mini-thematic and biographical encyclopedia of the most important cultural, social, artistic, and musical times in America.
The book does not exclusively retrace the multiple facets and aspects of Doo Wop, as its title might suggest. Indeed, the book shed light on the persona, the aura, the known and unknown, the nostalgia, the origin of American music, important social-political events of the era (McCarthy saga on page 51), fashion (Page 302), the civil rights movement (Page 308), automat meals, Salisbury steak and carrots, and America's true beginning of fast food (Page 43), cars and Detroit goes Rock N' Roll, and how young Americans felt that cruising became a part of the American dream.", Morrow wrote: And cruise we did, with high tailfins that made us look like a school of sharks patrolling the boulevard." (Page 126), America's early child care revolution (Page 46), the golden age of television (Page 48), America's early children's television programs (Page 63), cartoons and comics and the comic codes (Page 68), the sitcoms after World War II (Page 72), America's early days of TV dinners with gravy, mashed potatoes and peas (Page 81, the authors referred to this phenomenon as TV Dinner; a star was born), most sparkling divas and legends of the screen; Marilyn Monroe (Page 83); France's great Brigitte Bardot (Page 212); Marlon Brando, the rebel and the wild one (Page 102); James Dean's true personality and probing the reasons women fell head over heels for him" (Page 116), the delicate subject of color barrier" of the era and Alan Freed's saga (Page 94), the invention of broadcast television news with Edward R. Murrow (Page 111), the domination of America's lifestyles of the masses and new face of popular culture (Page 113), the nostalgic days of the drive-in, and how true is what the authors wrote What a thrill, what a simple pleasure it was to go to a drive-in movie! The experience brought together so many rare and cherished opportunities: to be in the car, to be entertained, to have a private place." (Page 118), a feeling for American justice, strength and honor comes to life on page 140, when the authors discussed the Davy Crockett Craze...Even, Mattel's Barbie Doll debut is in the book (Page 193), and the race for space, and Russian Sputnik satellite is flying on page 196. And to add an academico-scholastic touch to the book, the authors included a Doo Wop Dictionary (Pages 327-331). And needless to say, Bruce Morrow's list of Top 140 Groups was needed and had to appear in the book (Pages 332-339).
Worth mentioning, the heart-felt introduction by the legendary Neil Sedaka who acknowledged the enormous contributions of Mr. Bruce Morrow to the world of music. Maestro Sedaka wrote: ...Brucie was wholesome, honest and almost childlike in his enthusiasm for the business...We eventually ended up living in the same apartment complex on Ocean Parkway for a period, taking our kids to the rides at Coney Island and for hot dogs at Nathan's. In all my travels, one thing remains true: No matter where you go, Brooklyn stays with you." In another paragraph, the great Neil Sedaka added: I can think of no better music industry icon to bring Doo Wop to life for readers of this book than Cousin Bruce Morrow. He was there at the beginning as an innovator, started many young artists on their careers, and to this day is a consummate communicator."
In 352 pages, Morrow with the collaboration of Maloof brilliantly succeeded in illustrating and candidly explaining the American psyche, culture, music, trends, celebrities, lifestyles, social events and one zillion aspects of what constituted the soul, fabric and essence of America's yesteryears. This is a fabulous book, rich in content and art, abundant with facts, memorable stories, data, lists of lists, illustrative history of the most cherished and nostalgic American musical era, lessons to learn from, and above all the message it conveys to contemporary generation. Doo Wop: The Music, The Times, The Era is one of the 10 best books of the year. Rating: 5 stars. Grab a copy. Perhaps two copies if you have a good friend who deserves a lovely gift. You will treasure this book for years to come.
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