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Our Own Sweet Sounds by Robert Cochran

Subtitled “A Celebration of Popular Music in Arkansas,” this slim but proud volume successfully bridges the gap between the coffee table and academic library shelf. Cochran, a celebrated scholar, covers the various styles of past and present Arkansas musicians, supplanting the text with excellent photographs and other illustrations befitting a project originally designed as a museum exhibit. While one could wish for more than 86 pages of actual text, a good deal more coherent and satisfying reading is here compared to what can be found in many of the seemingly endless number of regional music surveys that roll down the literary highways.

Jazz and blues fans will enjoy the capsule sketches of Louis Jordan, Alphonso Trent, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Bill Broonzy and many other worthies. In addition, Cochran provides handsome introductions to performers from the other genres, presenting them all with considerable skill and insight.

Originally Published