TinyTimEternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim

Authors: Justin Martell, Alanna Wray McDonald (Jawbone Press)

Includes several mentions of a very young Jack Norton in this book. Most of the references relate to Jack’s friendship with his babysitter and neighbor – ukulele oddball Tiny Tim.

From the publisher: As Bing Crosby once put it, Tiny Tim represents ‘one of the most phenomenal success stories in show business’. In 1968, after years of playing dive bars and lesbian cabarets on the Greenwich Village scene, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bob Dylan and Lenny Bruce, the forty-something falsetto-voiced, ukulele-playing Tiny Tim landed a recording contract with Sinatra’s Reprise label and an appearance on NBC’s Laugh-In. The resulting album, God Bless Tiny Tim, and its single, ‘Tip-toe Thru’ The Tulips With Me’, catapulted him to the highest levels of fame. Soon, Tiny was playing to huge audiences in the USA and Europe, while his marriage to the seventeen-year-old ‘Miss’ Vicki was broadcast on The Tonight Show in front of an audience of fifty million. Before long, however, his star began to fade. Miss Vicki left him, his earnings evaporated, and the mainstream turned its back on him. He would spend the rest of his life trying to revive his career, with many of those attempts taking a turn toward the absurd. But while he is often characterized as an oddball curio, Tiny Tim was a master interpreter and student of early American popular song, and his story is one of Shakespearean tragedy framed around a bizarre yet loveable public persona. Here, drawing on dozens of new interviews, never-before-seen diaries, and years of original research, author Justin Martell brings that story to life with the first serious biography of one of the most fascinating yet misunderstood figures in popular music.

Release date: 9 February 2016.

NasdijjThe Boy and the Dog are Sleeping

Author: Nasdijj (Ballantine Books / Random House)

Includes an “Interview with the Author” essay written by Jack Norton – making him one of the youngest paid authors in Random House publishing history.

From the publisher: Nasdijj’s critically acclaimed, award-winning memoir, The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams, took the literary world by storm. “An authentic, important book,” raved Esquire. “Unfailingly honest and very nearly perfect.” Now, this celebrated Native American writer has given readers a powerful, brave, and deeply moving memoir of the unconditional love between a father and a son. Eleven-year-old Awee came to live with Nasdijj carrying a brown paper bag containing all his belongings, a legacy of abuse, and AIDS. But this beautiful, loving, and intelligent little boy also had enormous hope for his new life. The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping is the heart-rending but also joyous story of this untraditional little family, filled with love and laughter, but also with great pain, as Awee became progressively more ill. Nasdijj writes about their motorcycle trip to see the ocean for the first time, about baths and baseball, about Awee’s “big brother” Crow Dog, and his dog, Navajo, but also about the brutal realities of reservation life and the challenges of dealing with a sometimes hostile medical establishment that often lacks the knowledge to treat pediatric AIDS. In the end, Nasdijj must find his own way of alleviating Awee’s suffering—and of helping him maintain his dignity in the face of a disease that gradually robs him of himself. By turns searing and searching, lyrical and raw, The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping is ultimately transcendent—for in the end Awee got what he wanted most in his short life: a real dad.

Release date: 4 February 2003.

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WhereDeadVoicesGatherWhere Dead Voices Gather

Author: Nick Tosches (Back Bay Books)

Includes several mentions of a very young Jack Norton in this book. Most of the references relate to Jack’s interest in minstrel yodeler Emmett Miller. It was later acknowledged that Norton contributed to the research in this book.

From the publisher: A forgotten singer from the early days of jazz is at the center of this riveting book – a narrative that is part mystery, part biography, part meditation on the meaning and power of music.

From Publishers Weekly: Beyond a handful of recordings revealing early jazz-era blackface minstrel Emmett Miller as “one of the strangest and most stunning stylists,” some good press in the late 1920s and a few scattered recollections of a pleasant fellow who liked his whiskey, Miller has virtually escaped memory. But Tosches (Dino), a bestselling author and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, unearths this forgotten yodeling gem and excavates further still the creation, impact and demise of minstrel music. Neither tsk-tsking nor snickering at minstrelsy’s racial humor, Tosches uses Miller to examine this period of “musical miscegenation and cultural pollinations” and the folks who provided its soundtrack. In his race to get down the facts play dates, names, etc. some of the author’s characteristic fearlessness and quick humor is lost. But he was clearly wrong to call his obsessive venture a “mad labor for which no audience exists… grown now into… a book so bereft of commercial potential that not even I, who can skin a snake without its knowing it, can hope to con the most benighted and gullible of publishers into paying a decent dollar for it.” On the contrary, Tosches’s quest is irresistible, and many will, like the author, fall under the elusive yodeler’s spell. Forecast: Despite its obscure subject, the book to be advertised in Time, the New York Times Book Review and the Village Voice will be widely reviewed and will reach an audience far beyond jazz aficionados. Tosches’s wide-ranging pop-cultural subjects (e.g., country music, rock ‘n’ roll, Dean Martin, Sonny Liston) have made him popular, as evidenced by The Nick Tosches Reader (Da Capo), culled from his 30-year career.

Release date: 15 August 2001.

CountryTheTwistedRootsCountry: The Twisted Roots Of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Author: Nick Tosches (DeCapo Press)

Includes several mentions of a very young Jack Norton in this book which gives a historical look at the seedy underbelly of country music. Most of the references relate to Jack’s interest in minstrel yodeler Emmett Miller.

From the publisher: Celebrating the dark origins of our most American music, Country reveals a wild shadowland of history that encompasses blackface minstrels and yodeling cowboys; honky-tonk hell and rockabilly heaven; medieval myth and musical miscegenation; sex, drugs, murder; and rays of fierce illumination on Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others, famous and forgotten, whose demonology is America’s own. Profusely and superbly illustrated, Country stands as one of the most brilliant explorations of American musical culture ever written.

Release date: 22 August 1996.