One thing you had to say for Johnny Angel, he didn't do anything halfway. When he decided at an early age to become a louse, he didn't settle for being an ordinary one. He had a genius for it.And he used that genius all the way up the long dirty climb from two-bit drummer in a mixed band to Top Cat of America's pop music empire — and God help any man — or woman — who got iOne thing you had to say for Johnny Angel, he didn't do anything halfway. When he decided at an early age to become a louse, he didn't settle for being an ordinary one. He had a genius for it.And he used that genius all the way up the long dirty climb from two-bit drummer in a mixed band to Top Cat of America's pop music empire — and God help any man — or woman — who got in his way.ANGEL'S FLIGHT is a rich, authentic, inside story of what it takes to make it big in the world of juke boxes, the supper clubs and the rock-and-roll TV bandstands....
|Title||:||angel s flight|
|Number of Pages||:||175 Pages|
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angel s flight Reviews
This book was originally published in 1960 by Gold Medal.It features a be-bop, hep-cat, gone-daddy-gone first person narrative.Our narrator is a jazz musician - a bass player keeping the rhythm somewhere close to the ground and the episodic tale of woe he has to unload unfolds over two and a half decades and twice as many variants of Jazz, from Trad to Bop and beyond.As paperback original noir-thrillers go, this one is an epic with a cast of thousands and a dash of the macabre....A lot of jazz men won't admit it, but a classical background never hurt a guy's style none. A lot has been made of the African rhythm and blues tonality elements of jazz. But without European atonated melody, Dad, all you've got is a lot of cats beating on hollow logs.This was Lou Cameron's 1st novel. He would go on to write hundreds more novels. He created the long running "Longarm" Western series of paperback originals under the house name "Tabor Evans".I don't know if it's fair to blame my joining up on the girl with the lavender eyes. I guess I'd have gotten into the war sooner or later anyways. Just about everybody did. If you were around at the time, you know about the war. If you weren't, you might look through about two hundred back issues of Life, or read Tolstoy. He said everything there is to say about war and this is a story about music.So smoke a cigarette or something while you picture the time lapse and join me along about the spring of '46 in the rest room that used to be under Duffy Square.If you're intending to read the Black Gat edition from Stark House Press, please don't read Gary Lovisi's excellent introduction until you've finished the novel.
This book was doubly hard to put down. Not only is the story compelling, but the language is so lively you’re anxious to see what surprises the next paragraph will bring. It’s sort of like Dashiell Hammett on steroids, except the focus is not on crime, but on the jazz scene of the '40s and '50s.A Gold Medal original back in 1960, it's been out of print ever since. Until now. The book I read was a cool new edition from Black Gat Books, a new line of mass market paperbacks from Stark House Press. (And be advised--this ain't your father's mass market pb. The premium paper is bright white, and the book feels mighty substantial in your hand.)Our hero for this one is Ben Parker, a bass player striving to make his way in the music business without selling his soul to the devil or the mob. On the flip side is one of the most purely evil dudes you’ll meet anywhere in fiction—a psychopath who calls himself Johnny Angel. Near the end of the book, Angel boasts that the only crimes he has yet to commit are incest and treason. And he’s not finished yet.Parker and Angel represent the two extremes of the music business. Parker is a true talent, scrupulously honest and in it for the love of music. Angel is a blood-sucker, leeching off the talent of others and using every dirty trick imaginable to get rich and rise to the top.The title of the book comes from a fictional song (stolen by Johnny Angel, natch) and named after the two-block-long railway that ran up and down L.A.’s Bunker Hill. While reading the book, I saw a news report that the railway, closed for safety reasons in 2013, would soon be back in service. Cool.The novel follows Ben Parker’s career as a player, a band leader and record producer. At almost every turn, Johnny Angel rears his ugly head, performing new acts of infamy. Along the way, we meet torch singers, composers, drug addicts, mob thugs, movie producers, dirty deejays and an artists’ model who can’t her clothes on. We also get inside looks at the evils of payola, the birth and death of bop and the difference between hipsters and beatniks.Like me, Cameron is a fan of pop culture, and the book is peppered with references to such icons as Dick Tracy, Tom Mix, Jimmy Durante, Raymond Chandler, G-8 and his Battle Aces, Hopalong Cassidy, Lon Chaney, Tinker Bell, Elvis the Pelvis, Buck Jones, Jack Benny, Little Orphan Annie and the Wizard of Oz. It's a blast, in more ways than one.In the background, sort of on the edge of consciousness, World War II begins and ends and things heat up in Korea. Ben Parker does his part, and sums it up in four paragraphs:- - I don’t know if it’s fair to blame my joining up on the girl with the lavender eyes. I guess I’d have gone into the war sooner or later anyways. Just about everybody did. - - If you were around at that time you know about the war. If you weren’t, you might look through about two hundred issues of Life, or read Tolstoy. He said everything there is to say about war and this is a story about the music field.- - So smoke a cigarette or something while you picture the time lapse and join me along about the spring of ’46 in the rest room that used to be under Duffy Square.- - The world was once more safe for democracy, the American way of life, the girl next door and Mom’s blueberry pie. I’d changed my ODs for a new set of blue threads and the only way you could tell Benny Parker had been away was that I’d traded my left knee cap for a brand new silver plate, and three or four gray hairs were sprouting over each ear.Angel’s Flight was Lou Cameron's first novel, and I was pleased to learn he wrote many more – some thrillers, some westerns and some movie tie-ins. Among those I look forward to checking out are the first in the Longarm series (he went on to pen about fifty of them), the Stringer western series, and all thirty-six books of the Renegade western series (as by Ramsay Thorne). I have a lot of reading to do.
Book Review: Angel’s Flight by Lou CameronBefore his 2010 death, Lou Cameron was the author of over 300 genre novels. He was a post-war pulpster who specialized in tawdry action stories with tightly-wound plots. Think Longarm. Think Renegade. Lou Cameron knew his way around a standard story arc. This fact is what makes Cameron’s 1960 debut novel, Angel’s Flight, such a delightful curiosity. Although it was released as a Gold Medal crime novel - and was recently re-released by Black Gat Books - the story captures the tone and scope of literary fiction. Yes, it seems Lou Cameron started out aspiring to be serious author writing a serious book. And it worked. Although Angel’s Flight is a lean 233 pages, the story spans about 17 years time between 1939 and 1956 - from the Jazzy Great Depression to the dawn of Rock-n-Roll. Our guide through this era is our narrator, an honest and earnest journeyman jazzman named Ben Parker. Ben’s narration is written in a be-bop jazz lingo that was later adopted by James Ellroy in American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand. The prose sings throughout the readable novel. Parker’s foil is the vapid and conniving fellow jazzman, Johnny Angel, whose ambition for success well outpaces his musical talent. Like many of the colorful characters in Parker’s life, Angel comes and goes. He starts out as an irritant and evolves into an existential threat. Angel’s Flight is a real masterpiece of storytelling that holds your attention even though there isn’t much of a standard story arc. It feels like the literary equivalent of a Martin Scorsese movie - like Goodfellas or Wolf of Wall Street - that tracks a single character through the ups and downs of a remarkable life. This storytelling approach is surprising coming from Lou Cameron, whose body of work relied on an economical approach to plotting. Cameron’s knack for creating colorful characters is on high-display, and readers will come to adore Ben Parker and the women and friends who float in and out of his life. Although the novel has murders, mafia, payola, and betrayals, it’s doesn’t feel like a normal Gold Medal crime novel. It feels more weighty and significant - like a story of the Jazz age that needed to be preserved because it captured an important era in America’s cultural history. To that end, Black Gat Books has done America a real favor by preserving this piece of important art. Highly recommended.
Contrary what some people say, this is not a super grim bop noir (the protagonist is a trad/mainstream bassist!) but a jazz take on What Makes Sammy Run? Somewhat rambling and episodic, but the these defects are more than compensated for by brisk pacing, a vividly-realized mid century music background (heroin! Strike! Payola!), and concision no doubt due to the original publisher's (Gold Medal) constraints. Recommended.