The only magazine to which I subscribe is Oxford American. It features the best of writing with an emphasis on the culture and traditions of the American South. Although I have never lived outside of Michigan, this quarterly journal of fiction, nonfiction and poetry never fails to include a quality of literature that makes me wonder whether my choice of residence is appropriate.
Annually, Oxford American turns its attention to Southern music, producing an edition that provides informative articles about musicians new and old, familiar and forgotten. A CD accompanies the issue that includes a track from each of the featured performers. The 7th edition has now arrived on newstands.
To describe this CD as eclectic is to risk understatement. The 29 selections include Lightnin’ Hopkins, Johnny Winter, Nat King Cole, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Presley, Al Green, and Buddy Holly. Among those new to me on this edition are Bubble Puppy, Cowboy Jack Clement, Joe Tex and Elita, Mary and Ella Hoffpauir. As with previous CDs in the series, there are familiar tunes and recordings that make you wonder how the artists failed to achieve worldwide and everlasting fame.
While the CD might be worth the price alone, the reader is treated to well-written articles about the musicians. I confess that, while I have listened to the music, I have only had an oppotunity to skim a few of the articles. Past issues have been a joy, however, and I have no doubt that the editorial standards have been maintained.
I suppose there are some who might think themselves too cool to enjoy a CD of Southern blues, bluegrass, jazz, country, rock, gospel and rhythm and blues. It will be their loss. At $9.95, this magazine and CD combination is a bargain.
For more information on this issue, you might wish to visit the Oxford American website.