10 Best Music Books of 2015

From the stage to the page: The year's best memoirs, oral histories and more

'Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South,' by Charles L. Hughes
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10. 'Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South,' by Charles L. Hughes

In writing this narrative of a massive amount of music that emerged from the South in the 1960s and 1970s, Charles L. Hughes has taken on a formidable task, encompassing an abundance of musical history and challenging several predictable narratives. Over the course of this book, he touches on the growth of Stax Records, the birth of Southern rock, how country music became associated with political conservatism and the ways in which a trip to Muscle Shoals could jumpstart many a career. Certain musicians who found interesting ways to bring country and soul together — notably, Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, are rendered with particular vividness. T.C.