"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

“Today’s Special is Memphis Soul Stew…”

I’m reading George PelecanosSoul Circus. No surprise, the novel is a fine, intense read. One of the things that strengthen Pelecanos’ writing is his love of music. A typical Strange/Quinn novel has a soundtrack ranging from soul to hip-hop to Morricone western scores, and Soul Circus is no exception. Thanks to that title and the old Motown tapes Strange listens to in his car, I’ve had King Curtis’ song “Memphis Soul Stew” stuck in my head for the last couple of days. It’s a good song, so I’m not complaining. Hip-hop ain’t my bag, though; I’m not familiar enough with it to get a track jammed in my skull.

I love books that are steeped in music, from Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments to William Gay’s Provinces of Night or Anthony Neil Smith’s The Drummer. What songs have gotten stuck in your head lately? Is that good or bad? What put them there?


Scott Parker said...

Pelecanos went even further with Hard Revolution which was sold with a CD of tunes picked by GP himself. Michael Connelly did the same thing with Harry Bosch and jazz a few years back, too. I like the idea of a soundtrack running through a novel. It helps with the mood and feel of a book. It also reveals character. As for what songs are in my head? Well, I have a six-year-old so it's various Veggie Tales songs. On the more adult-oriented front, the main riff from Chicago's "South California Purples" is currently jamming in my head.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Now I wish I'd bought HARD REVOLUTION in hardcover instead of mass market paperback.

I should add that "Memphis Soul Tew" isn't mentioned in SOUL CIRCUS (at least, not as far I've gotten so far). It was just one of those odd and uncontrollable connections my brain makes.