Alanna Nash
August 27, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

By the Seat of My Pants: My Life in Country Music

Current Status
In Season
Buddy Killen, Tom Carter
Memoir, Biography, Music

We gave it a D

Country-music mogul Buddy Killen started out life in bleak Alabama poverty, went on to play bass in Hank Williams’ band, became a successful record producer of lightweight talent (Ronnie McDowell, T.G. Sheppard), and built a budding Nashville song-publishing company into a $40 million empire. Along the way, he had a front-row seat for the early careers of Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. So why is By the Seat of My Pants: My Life in Country Music so lame? Because he trusted his story to Tom Carter, coauther of Ralph Emery’s best-selling Memories. Carter’s the Billy Ray Cyrus of biography. He may sell books, but as a writer, he’s as surface and as hackneyed as they come, describing the initiation into sex, for instance, as ”the first drink one takes from the well of romance.” By the end, he has made Killen look like a self-congratulating egotist, eager to settle old scores. And he has told the country-music audience they’re too stupid to deserve a well-written account of one of Music City’s biggest success stories. D

You May Like