cover image And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey

And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey

Studs Terkel, . . New Press, $25.95 (301pp) ISBN 978-1-59558-003-0

In this enjoyable, informative collection of 40 interviews, Pulitzer-winning oral historian Terkel recalls his venerable radio program, The Wax Museum, which premiered shortly after the end of WWII in 1945, profiling composers, entertainers and impresarios of nearly every type of music. In a stirring introduction, Terkel explains his love affair with music, which began when he was a boy and culminated with this daily radio show, where Terkel used a diverse playlist to spark dynamic chats with opera divas Edith Mason and Rosa Raisa, rockers Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin, world musicians Ravi Shankar and Andres Segovia, jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, folk singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and others. Insightful and daring, Terkel always asks the right questions, whether culturally or musically. Most scintillating are the occasions when Terkel provokes his subjects to weigh in on controversial topics (as when composer Leonard Bernstein comments, "What would American music or culture be like if there were no black people here?"). Although perhaps not as strong as some of Terkel's weightier works (e.g., The Good War: An Oral History of World War II ), this volume is nevertheless effective oral history, demonstrating an expert journalist's ability to let his subjects speak. (Sept. 1)