CRY: THE JOHNNIE RAY STORY by Jonny Whiteside

Whiteside, longtime L.A. Weekly music scribe, has written an exhaustive bio on the 1950s cry baby king, Mr. Johnnie Ray, crooner of such slit your wrists classics as "Coffee and Cigarettes," "Little White Cloud," and of course, "Cry." The author takes you through the childhood hearing loss, the singer's start in the R&B black and tan joints, the bisexual trysts which landed Ray in heaps of trouble with the tabloids of the day, and the long-running love relationship with New York's reigning poison pen columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, who found herself inexplicably attracted to this relatively socially graceless hillbilly. Whiteside's thorough research reveals the real character of the enigmatic Ray through interviews with many of his contemporaries, but at times Cry is overwritten and shoddily edited (words misspelled and sometimes capitalized for no apparent reason—hey, it's a book, spell check at the very least); nonetheless, it is of value to serious Ray and fifties oeuvre fans.

-Hope Urban

AMAZON

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