Kenneth Ray Rogers traveled a long way from roots in the “projects” of Houston Texas. He knows what it is like to eat beans and rice for dinner, father a child while a senior in high school, suffer through multiple divorces, feel guilt over estrangement of his older children, and he was downright broke when most of us would think he was living well. His is a true rags to riches story of overcoming adversity with a lot of bumps along the road. Rogers got his start performing in a high school band called The Scholars, even though the band members were all C students.
Donald Spoto’s account of the Redgraves has the feel of a readable “intellectual” soap opera, for the talented Redgraves were well known for their work in the theatre and film world but their private lives were anything but conventional. There are many instances of infidelity, divorce, dysfunctional parenting, and the insecurities that resulted from these issues.
You might ask…what is Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret? Read this book and find out! Here’s a clue…most of the finished product from studio recordings was performed by behind the scenes session musicians. Some of those musicians ultimately became famous in their own right. Think Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, and Neil Diamond, to name a few. Hartman leads us through the stories behind Phil Spector’s wall of sound, and Sonny and Cher’s rise to fame with their signature song, I Got You, Babe.
Meredith Baxter was no stranger to show business. Her mother, Whitney Blake, was an American television/film actress who appeared in Hazel, Perry Mason, and multiple westerns over the years. Meredith’s Pasadena, California family life was highly dysfunctional. Her mother was distant and often was secluded behind a closed bedroom door which Meredith was forbidden to enter. After divorcing Meredith’s father, Blake married Jack, a militaristic man who meted out severe punishment to Meredith and her older two brothers. He also made unwelcome sexual advances toward Meredith.
Bergstein explains why women, in particular, absolutely love shoes. Even more than our clothing, shoes offers us a means to communicate who we are as individuals. But Bergstein goes beyond the stories of various cobblers who became famous for their footwear. She also describes the behind the scenes machinations that brought about the famous Ruby Slippers in The Wizard of Oz. They were actually silver in L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz but red would be more of a contrast against the yellow brick road filmed in Technicolor.