Debut albums are among the cultural artefacts that capture the popular imagination especially well. As a first impression, the debut album may take on a mythical status, whether the artist or group achieves enduring success or in rare cases when an initial record turns out to be an apogee for an artist. Whatever the subsequent career trajectory, the debut album is a meaningful text that can be scrutinized for its revelatory signs and the expectations that follow. Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself: Essays on Debut Albums tells the stories of 23 debut albums over a nearly fifty year span, ranging from Buddy Holly and the Crickets in 1957 to The Go! Team in 2004. In addition to biographical background and a wealth of historical information about the genesis of the album, each essay looks back at the album and places it within multiple contexts, particularly the artist’s career development. In this way, the book will be of as much interest to sociologists and historians as to culture critics and musicologists.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: the first cut is the deepest, George Plasketes; Lubbock or leave it: Buddy Holly, Norman Petty and The ’Chirping’ Cricket, George H. Lewis; Good time rollers: Little Richard and Huey ’Piano’ Smith, B. Lee Cooper and William L. Schurk; Joan Baez: the classic 1960s folk heroine, Jerome Rodnitzky; From Roger and Out into Dang Me/Chug A Lug: Roger Miller’s debut, Don Cusic; Midnight in Memphis with the wicked Pickett, B. Lee Cooper; Jackson C. Frank: play the game of carnival, Edward Whitelock; What time has told me about Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left, Kevin Holm-Hudson; The voice of 'the quiet one': George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Ian Inglis; ’That’s it’: Willis Alan Ramsay, the ballad of a cosmic cowboy, George Plasketes; New York Dolls: ’Ridin’ right on the subway train’, Thomas M. Kitts; Warren Zevon: Asylum IconocLAst, George Plasketes; ’Chasing after vengeance’: Elvis Costello’s initial aim, David Janssen; Alive on Arrival from meridian to Manhattan: Steve Forbert as Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and the next ’new Dylan’, George Plasketes; Ready for the House: Jandek’s inert unveiling, Nicole Marchesseau; Rickie Lee Jones: ’acquired a cool and inspired sorta jazz’, George Plasketes; Metallica kills, Deena Weinstein; ’ I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life’: Pearl Jam’s Ten and the road to authenticity, Marcello Giovanelli; LeAnne Rimes Blue: a country star in the making, Sarita M. Stewart; Third Eye Blind: reluctantly voicing the 1990s, Joshua D. Hillyer; Dap-Dippin’ independent tradition: the rebirth of rhythm and blues, Andrew G. Davis; Pilfering the past or postmodern punks?: The Libertines’ Up the Bracket, Micah Rueber; Cinematic fantastic sampledic funky found-sound sifting: The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike, George Plasketes and Rivers Plasketes; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
George Plasketes is Professor of Radio-Television-Film & Popular Culture at Auburn University in Alabama, USA. He is the author of B-Sides, Undercurrents and Overtones (2009) and editor of the cover collection Play It Again (2010), both part of the Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series.
'...A book for music enthusiasts, including those with some musical background, and record collectors and aficionados...Recommended.' Choice ’This volume is the first sustained critical discussion of the general nature and significance of debut albums. All are original essays, written exclusively for the collection, with their authors bringing a diverse range of critical and creative perspectives to their selected debut. In addition to accessible musical analyses of the 23 albums included, each is placed within a wider production context, including the role of the music industry, and considered in relation to time and place, genre, and the artists’ subsequent work. This is a sometimes surprising but always instructive and thought provoking selection of essays, which will encourage greater attention to an important but previously largely neglected topic.’ Roy Shuker, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and author of Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice (Ashgate 2010)