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City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Nelson George

In his vivid and charming memoir, novelist and screenwriter George (Hip Hop America) recounts incidents from an eventful life that has ranged from a tough upbringing by his single mother in Brooklyn in the 1960s to a career of assorted writing gigs in … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Nelson George
Publisher: Viking Adult
1 review about City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life...

I Love Music, Any Kind of Music

  • Jul 14, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
Nelson George, music critic, journalist, film writer, novelist and producer has written a memoir, City Kid: A Writer's Memoir of Ghetto Life and Post-Soul Success. In it he explains how he came to love the music that became his life's work. Born in 1957 in New York City of parents whose families hailed from Virginia and North Carolina, his love for music came naturally. His mother, Arizona Bacchus was an independent, fun-loving music playing, dancing young woman, who raised her son and daughter, Andrea, after her husband, Nelson Elmer George, abandoned the family. The Samuel J. Tilden projects in Brownsville, Brooklyn was home to George and his family for several years. It was there where his mother gave house parties and played the Soul music of the 50s and 60s on her hi-fi stereo. "Pretty Woman," "Mr. Postman," and various other tunes would entertain George for hours. When his mother's friends came over, he would put on a show in his pajamas dancing his heart out. Mornings the family listened to Soul at Sunrise, a radio music show out of Cleveland, Ohio hosted by DJ Eddie O'Jay, who would later head up the group, the O'Jays. The few times George saw his dad, he was taken to some dive where blues and jazz were playing.

Comic books, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Baldwin occupied bookish George's time. He excelled in English and writing and thought one day he would write the Great American Novel. When he was in his teens, his mother moved them out of the projects to another part of Brooklyn. In his senior year of high school, he worked in an intern program at the Brooklyn Phoenix, a weekly newspaper where he learned to hone the journalism craft. He then attended St. John's University all the while writing for different venues including The Amsterdam News. He also attended parties and nightclubs writing music reviews. Along the way he became friends with the group Run DMC and Russell Simmons, who was a party promoter at the time. He would later move to Los Angeles, where he worked with Quincy Jones, and worked on several screenplays and wrote a number of nonfiction and fiction titles.

But New York is home to George. He has lived all over the city; Queens, Fort Green and other areas and the City is as much a character in the story of his life as the people he met on his journey. George has struggled to maintain a relationship with his father, who was among other things, a small-time drug dealer and he also had a tenuous relationship with his sister, Andrea. Music lovers and those who enjoy reading about the New York entertainment scene will enjoy living vicariously through the eyes of a man who knows music backwards, forwards sideways, and all ways. George gave a great presentation to a room full of people at Marcus Book Store in Oakland this past spring. A nice addition for memoir collectors.

Dera R. Williams
APOOO BookClub

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