Don’t Waste Precious Time

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader August 23, 2021 Darlin’ please write me, don’t waste precious time   Or you’ll have an empty old mailbox like mine You wouldn’t be wrong if you called Tom T. Hall a country songwriter and stopped with that. He was, after all,...

The Doobie Brothers—From the Top  

By John Eskow Playboy August, 1980 Looking ill at ease in their tuxedos, The Doobie Brothers strode onstage at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony to receive a thunderous ovation and four of the little golden gramophones that signify overwhelming success in the record...

The Notorious Libby Holman

By Jon Bradshaw Vanity Fair March, 1985 When Libby Holman arrived in Manhattan in 1924, it was a bold and brassy town, devoted to the pleasure of pleasing itself. Prohibition—“the Great Foolishness,” as the gossip columnist Lucius Beebe called it—was in effect, but it...

The Day the Soul Train Crashed

By Stephen Fried Philadelphia Magazine June, 1983 The Sound: A tight, simple rhythm, pulsing, throbbing. A smooth, cool guitar lightly plays a handful of notes, but just the right notes. The feel is subtle, complex; a combination of what is right about jazz, what is...

Bruce Springsteen and the Secret World

By Fred Schruers Rolling Stone February 5, 1981 Bruce Springsteen, in the abstract, is just the kind of guy my little New Jersey hometown schooled me to despise. Born seventy-seven days apart, raised maybe fifty miles apart, this beatified greaser and I grew up...

Do You Know Vegas?

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire August 1982 The way Wayne Newton explained it to me, it all started with a post-midnight punch-out in a private suite at the Frontier hotel. Wayne is knocking them dead in the Frontier’s showroom when these two wise guys swagger onto the...

The Ballad of Willie Nelson

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair November 1991 The night before I left for South Texas to join Willie Nelson as he went back on the road again to sing for the I.R.S., I had dinner with a woman from L.A. who’d known him. She told me a fascinating story about Willie Nelson,...

Melancholy Baby

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire October 1985 Let’s get sad. Let’s get very, very sad. Let’s get profoundly sad. Let’s talk about the saddest songs ever sung. In fact, let’s not just talk about them. Let’s get inside them. Let’s crawl inside the very chord structure of...

Oedipus Rocks

By John Eskow New Times May 29, 1978 Karl Wallenda plunges to his death, and the man beside me booms out “Gawd!” In the slow-motion TV replay, Wallenda’s last-second grab for the wire seems to sum up everyone’s will to live, in one gesture. Then he falls. It’s a...

Elvis Costello is Angry and Convincing

By Fred Schruers Circus June 22, 1978 It’s 1:30 am in the Bootlegger Lounge in Syracuse, N.Y. Elvis Costello, the one with the owlish stare and the spitting mad vocals, the man whose songs may be the worst thing that’s happened to feminism since Jack the Ripper,...

Forever John Prine

By John Schulian The Stacks Reader April 8, 2020 When I heard that John Prine lay dying in a Nashville hospital, I couldn’t help wondering if he had found time beforehand to fill out his 2020 census questionnaire. It was hardly the kind of reverent thought the moment...