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'Good Booty,' A Book That Should Come With Its Own Warning Label

<em>Good Booty</em> by Ann Powers
Good Booty by Ann Powers

You know how some CDs come with a warning label reading "not for kids" or "explicit material"? Ann Powers' latest book Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Musicshould come with its own warning label – "Warning: read this book and you will never hear music the same way again!"

Part of the book is about where music and sex intersect. Ann — full disclosure, who is NPR Music's critic and correspondent — writes about giants like Madonna, Prince, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Elvis Presley, Britney Spears and Beyoncé. But aside from assessing the stars, one of the things Ann does so brilliantly in Good Booty is shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes of music history. Ann begins the book in the 19th Century in Congo Square in New Orleans where the slaves who were brought to America from Africa carried with them the rhythms, ideas and feel that would eventually lay the foundation for what we now think of as American music — from jazz to ragtime to rock 'n' roll. That's just one example of how Good Booty is as much about race as it is about sex.

Ann Powers covers more historical music ground in Good Booty than we could possibly ever get to on the radio, but I hope you enjoy listening in the player above as we try to scratch the surface of this comprehensive and incredibly thoughtful work of art.

Copyright 2021 XPN. To see more, visit XPN.

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.