Music
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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The Beautiful Music All Around Us
Field Recordings and the American Experience
Stephen Wade
The Beautiful Music All Around Us presents the extraordinarily rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and...
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Always in Trouble
An Oral History of ESP-Disk', The Most Outrageous Record Label in America
Jason Weiss
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' in New York City to document the free jazz movement there. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Albert Ayler...
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...
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Violence Girl
East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story
Alice Bag
The proximity of the East L.A. barrio to Hollywood is as close as a short drive on the 101 freeway, but the cultural divide is enormous. Born to Mexican-born and American-naturalized parents, Alicia Armendariz migrated a few miles west to participate...
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Winner of the National Book Award. Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...
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Quadrivium
The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology
Anthony Ashton, Miranda Lundy, John Martineau,Dr. Jason Martineau, Daud Sutton
The quadrivium—the classical curriculum—comprises the four liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is...
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Girls to the Front
The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
Sara Marcus
In the early 1990s a group of friends in Olympia, Washington decided to tell the world what it felt like to be young and female in America. Through consciousness-raising meetings, zine exchanges, and numerous kick-ass all-girl punk bands, with the...
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The Vulture
Gil Scott-Heron
Digging the rhythms of the street, where the biggest deal life has to offer is getting high, this hip, fast-moving thriller relates the strange story of the murder of a teenage boy called John Lee...
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Delta Blues
The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music
Ted Gioia
“The essential history of this distinctly American genre.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution In this “expertly researched, elegantly written, dispassionate yet thoughtful history” (Gary Giddins), award-winning author Ted Gioia gives us “the rare...
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Sun Ra
Interviews & Essays
John Sinclair
Composer, bandleader, pianist and space philosopher, Sun Ra was a unique individual and one of the most colorful and enduring of musical legacies, transcending time, place and culture. From the mid 1950s until his death in 1993, Sun Ra led The...
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The Rest Is Noise
Listening to the Twentieth Century
Alex Ross
In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties...
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Lady Sings the Blues the 50th Anniversary Edition
William Dufty, Billie Holiday
Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday's rough-and-tumble Baltimore...
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Jazz Poems
Ever since its first flowering, jazz has had a powerful influence on American poetry; this scintillating anthology offers a treasury of poems that are as varied and as vital as the music that inspired them.From the Harlem Renaissance to the beat...
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A Love Supreme
The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
Ashley Kahn
Few albums in the canon of popular music have had the influence, resonance, and endurance of John Coltrane's 1965 classic A Love Supreme-a record that proved jazz was a fitting medium for spiritual exploration and for the expression of the sublime...

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