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2 review for Here I Stand: One City's Musical History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tom Shannon, Jr

    Bravo for journalist Sonya Bernard-Hollins for writing this informative book based on her research and interviews with many singers, musicians and nightclub owners in Battle Creek! Here I Stand is a non-fiction history of African-American music in Battle Creek. It traces the history of the city from its early years as a stop on the underground railroad up to current day. The author did a nice job in the first chapter of balancing regional history with what else was going on in the nation from th Bravo for journalist Sonya Bernard-Hollins for writing this informative book based on her research and interviews with many singers, musicians and nightclub owners in Battle Creek! Here I Stand is a non-fiction history of African-American music in Battle Creek. It traces the history of the city from its early years as a stop on the underground railroad up to current day. The author did a nice job in the first chapter of balancing regional history with what else was going on in the nation from the days of the abolitionists up through the civil rights movement and integration. After the first chapter, the rest is valuable music biographies of luminaries such as Jackey Beavers, Johnny Bristol, Wade Flemons, The Royaliers, Junior Walker, The Velvelettes, Bobby Holley, Jimmy Lynch, and Bill Dowdy & The Three Sounds. Many of them performed at the famous El Grotto Lounge, which is profiled as well. This filled in gaps in my musical knowledge significantly, and it was very rewarding to see confirmation in print of exciting stories that local Grand Rapids singers had told me about previously, such as the after-hours club in Albion which hosted "breakfast dances" that ended at daylight! There are pictures galore, a bibliography, discussion points, and an index. Fans of Motown, northern soul, jazz, and Michigan music will want to read this, and it's suitable for classroom use for middle school or greater.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

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