Alex Abramovich

Alex Abramovich is writing a book about the history of American music.

From The Blog
8 May 2024

The Dallas Penn I knew was always figuring out new ways to use the internet, blogging and vlogging (about Ghetto Big Macs, bodegas, baseball stadiums, sneakers) before blogging or vlogging were much of a thing, and co-hosting a pioneering hip-hop podcast, the Combat Jack Show. He’d come a long way from his stomping grounds but never forgot them or left them behind.

From The Blog
4 March 2024

A meme bounced around Brooklyn last summer: ‘What if we kissed at the Tom Verlaine book sale?’ Verlaine, who formed and fronted the band Television, died on 28 January 2023. Over the years he had acquired fifty thousand books.

From The Blog
25 October 2022

Robert Johnson’s Complete Recordings came out in the summer of 1990. It sold so well that the phrase on a sticker attached to the cellophane became inextricable from Johnson’s legend: ‘This is where it all began.’ Bad history maybe, but good marketing.

The blues queens of the 1920s toured far and wide and sold millions of records. Their ‘empress’, Bessie Smith, appeared on Broadway and in movies. After her death in 1937, a memorial concert was held at Carnegie Hall. But Smith’s country cousins – ‘walking musicians’ – were lucky if they got recorded at all. ‘They were the offside,’ the...

From The Blog
25 April 2022

The first Siege of Sevastopol – a belated response to Russia’s first annexation of Crimea – took place in 1854-55. Tolstoy wrote about it in Sebastopol Sketches. Mark Twain referred to the battles in Innocents Abroad. Poems were written, paintings painted; eventually, movies were made. In 1856, Henry Worrall, a musician and artist, published ‘Sebastopol’, a ‘descriptive fantasie’ for the parlour guitar. ‘This piece is intended as an imitation of military music,’ he wrote. ‘The Harmonics in single notes imitate the Bugle. The Harmonics in chords imitate a Full Military Band at a distance.’ Readers were instructed to retune their instruments:

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