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Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical: The Life of Dorothy Fields (Broadway Legacies) [Hardcover]

Charlotte Greenspan
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Sep 2010 Broadway Legacies
Dorothy Fields was best known as a lyricist, one of the few women who played a central role in the great period of American popular song from 1920 to 1960. Fields first became prominent writing the lyrics for Cotton Club shows in Harlem in the late 1920s and 1930s, and her most successful collaboration was with the great songwriter Jerome Kern. Her role as a music creator in a world dominated by men makes a fascinating and unusual story- with particular interest for woman today. Dorothy Fields first became prominent writing the lyrics for Cotton Club shows in Harlem in the late 1920s and 1930s, which included such songs as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," and "On the Sunny Side of the Street." Her most successful collaboration was with the great songwriter Jerome Kern on three 1930s films, including the incomparable Swing Time with Rogers and Astaire, which produced such classic songs as "The Way You Look Tonight" and "A Fine Romance." Fields also collaborated with such prominent composers as Sigmund Romberg, Fritz Kreisler, Harold Arlen, Burton Lane, Arthur Schwartz, and Cy Coleman. Her lyrics were colloquial and urbane, sometimes slangy and sometimes sensuous. Her role as a music creator in a world dominated by men makes a fascinating and unusual story- with particular interest for woman today. Greenspan further discusses Fields in relation to other women songwriters and lyricists of the time.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (16 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195111109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195111101
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.8 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,023,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

A fine and entertaining biography ... (Judith Flanders, The Times Literary Supplement.)

About the Author

Charlotte Greenspan is a musicologist and pianist who has written extensively on music and film. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NO LYRICS, NO LIFE. 30 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover
This is a very bland book about a fascinating figure and I have to agree wuth the Arthur Boehm review. Dorothy Fields fails to come alive in this book. Her son and daughter are thanked profusely for their help but the book can still inform us that remarkably little is known about their father, Dorothy's second husband. Wasn't the author allowed to ask them what he was like? Unfairly perhaps, I couldn't help feeling there were things about Dorothy and her family we just weren't being told.

And whatever the problems with copyright, a book about a lyricist that doesn't include a single one of her lyrics in full is a bit like a book about an artist which doesn't include a single reproduction of his/her paintings.
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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who WAS Dorothy Fields? 21 Oct 2010
By Arthur Boehm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's good to have this engaging and informative work, which gives descriptive due to a great sweep of American musical history--from the early twentieth-century to near its end.

The problem is that its central character remains something of a bit-player in the otherwise rich narrative. Who WAS Dorthy Fields? Her psychology? Her work methods? What did her lyrics do and HOW? How, actually, did she navigate a field almost exclusively controlled by men? What of her personal life?

Alas, Greenspan has, for whatever reasons (perhaps due to a dearth of revelatory materials) scrimped in addressing these basic questions and similar others. Slowly, the reader's interest wanes.

By all means buy this book if you care about the American musical. But don't expect to learn more than a summary amount about one of the great practitioners of its craft.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn"t really tell us much about Dorothy or her lyrics 9 Dec 2010
By Carol Page - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book tells us very little about the person Dorothy Fields - her thoughts and feelings, her methods of working,& most of her private life is usually tossed off in a few sentences at best. After reading this book, I had very little idea about her as an actual human being. Worse yet, Dorothy Fields WAS A LYRICIST! And a great one! And yet there are very few of her lyrics presented here to illustrate just how good she was! The book will be in a discussion of some of her shows and songs, and the reader is left aching to actually see the lyrics she wrote. This book is a major disappointment.
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