Arthur, is without question the greatest free magazine operating in the US today. The level of writing and the material covered in its pages is unequalled by any other outlet. Did I mention it was free? Yeah, it’s free.
After closing down for a few months, Arthur returned stronger than ever. It still includes the always useful Thurston Moore/Byron Coley review section alongside countless cartoons and counter-culture history.
This latest issue, number 32, includes an interview with country music historian Eddie Dean about the forward to Pure Country: The Leon Kagarise Archives, which he penned.
During the ‘50s and ‘60s Leon Kagarise, a photographer travelled around the south visiting nascent music festivals. That time in country music history was witnessing a shift from folks playing in isolated hollers to performing on the radio – the Grand Ole Opry by this time was one of the music popular radio shows in the country.
Kagarise documented what he saw, the players he heard and the crowds he was a part of. Included in the book are images of Johnny Cash, June Carter, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, Hank Snow, The Stanley Brothers and countless others.
The sheer breadth of this work, spanning time and disciplines (country, bluegrass and folk should all be considered to have different origins and histories) places it amongst the more complete and useful historical works of American Music. And while it’s not quite the visual equivalent of the Anthology of American Folk Music, it comes pretty darn close.