I decided to buy this book because Keith John recommended it to me,and I was interrested in his father's history. As a dutch girl I didn't know much about LWJ and the history of music in Detroit,but to my surprice I did know most of the musicians mentioned in the book. It also gives a great insight in how life used to be for african americans after the Great Migration. It is a great read starting with his childhood,his rise to fame and his tragic death in jail. It gives a personal insight into his turbulent life,I can see where Keith John got his energetic,loving personality and beautifull voice. The book is complimented by a lot of great pictures most of them provided by the John family. If you are interested in musical history and learning more about this legend,this is the book for you. It was long overdue!
It was about time someone wrote a book about a truly innovative and convincing singer. However it is never too late to wave the flag for an outstanding musician with too short a life to reach all possibilities that his talent would have allowed. Hopefully this book will turn the public's attention to Willie John's music, at least motivate some radio people to play a couple of his songs.
The book is well written, rich in details, yet regrettably cannot really reveal the odd and depressing circumstances of Willie John's death at Walla Walla State Prison.
In all honesty I knew Little Willie John better for other people's versions of his earlier hits (Peggy Lee's 'Fever', Peter Green's 'Need Your Love So Bad', Little Milton's 'Grit's Ain't Groceries) than I did for his own work. On reading this very accessible book (read in one day) I understand more about his meteoric rise to fame, if not fortune. Understandably, since most of those interviewed are family and friends, it's stronger on his rise than on his fall to drug and alcohol dependency. There are echoes of the careers of Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke too. Well worth buying if your interested in the birth of soul music.