"What self-respecting person can listen to Patsy Cline's 'I Fall to Pieces'
a nervous breakdown? Cline, the hayseed Judy Garland, wrung suffering out of
she sang just so we could unleash our own most self-pitying emotions along with her
enjoy a good, healthy musical catharsis that's a lot cheaper than psychotherapy . .
Cline) was hardly the vulnerable waif offstage, pining for all those creepy men
ing to tell them off. Patsy didn't pretend. She was a tough cookie with the
mouth of a truck
driver, a down-home gal . . . with an undeniable magnetism that allowed her
to project the
emotions of songs like 'Crazy' . . . Thoroughly researched . . . tells
the story of a woman
who just wanted to get ahead, be a serious country diva on her own terms . . . The
some raw nerves . . . A full portrait, not a Hollywood portrait . . . I find
it hard to shake off
some of Nassour's darker revelations . . ."
~ Michael Musto, Details
|"Patsy Cline's immortal voice sings in the biography Honky
|Angel. It all leads to that terrible nose-dive of
the four-seater plane . . .
|and it brings tears streaming down your face just like the
|streamed down hers when she sang those sad
| dang-you' ballads with all her aching heart . . . It
may be hokey, but
|the 'spirit' of the mean-as-a-polecat-sweet-as-a-kitten
girl who just
|wanted to play the (Grand Ole) Opryand make enough money
|forget her past, lives on. Victim. Vamp. Vixen. Virginia
|(Patsy Cline) deserved to be called all three . . . The
| emerges is larger than life, yet still
intimate. Honest and respectful."
~ VIRGINIAN-PILOT, Norfolk
| "(Ellis) Nassour has drafted
an intelligent, extremely detailed look at
|the singer's career . . . an honest,
gritty look at '50s and '60s Nashville . . .
|Fueled by extensive interviews with Cline
contemporaries such as Dottie West,
|Loretta Lynn and the ever-so-quotable Faron
Young, readers get a candid look
|at what it took for Cline to become a Country
and Western star . . . The book is
|packed with details on how Cline
developed her vast, angelic sound . . . It
|makes you feel just how great a loss Cline's
death was to American pop music.
|She was an archetype, as important in her way
as Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith
|or Aretha Franklin. Nassour's take on her
life is a worthy entry into
|the ranks of entertainment biographies."
~ PHOENIX GAZETTE, William Porter
Weekly - Publishers Weekly
This memorable biography of one of country music's most
enduring legends is a totally new spin on the author's original biography of the country
music legend Patsy Cline [Patsy Cline: An Intimate Portrait, 1981 and updated in
to Ellis Nassour, Cline (1932-1963) was the first woman to demonstrate that country music
could appeal to a wide audience. Bold and ambitious, she was a free-living, earthy
performer whom producers sometimes found difficult to work with. She apparently had few
close friends, but she showed generosity to any number of people, particularly talented
young women singers such as Dottie West and Loretta Lynn. Her long-term association with
producer Bill McCall was, financially, ``probably the single biggest mistake Patsy made in
her professional life,'' claims Nassour, but he gives McCall great credit for promoting
Cline's career. Although Cline died in a plane crash 30 years ago, her musical influence
|Amazon.com Reviewer: Jack.
Canfield@camcare.com from West Virginia
"Ellis Nassour manages to show the struggle Patsy Cline went through to make it
to the top, from her high school days in Winchester VA to her too early death at 30 in a
crashed airplane in Tennessee. Lovers of good music who can sing every note of every Cline
song, and mimic each break in that unique voice, will learn she grew up collecting Kay
Starr records, worked her way around the VA-WV-MD fraternal club circuit, wasn't always
popular in her home town and cut a wide path for female country singers to follow. She was
a country singer when country was country. But she was also the first to use strings and
when Owen Bradley added Floyd Cramer's piano to those famous recording sessions, the real
Patsy Cline sound matured in the style still heard around the world today. Well
documented, good photos, immensely readable."
Among the most adored female singers of our time was Patsy Cline, a woman who,
according to her friends and enemies alike, had a foul mouth, a kind heart and, above all,
a golden voice. Ellis Nassour traces a true rags-to-riches story as he details how
Cline--born Virginia Hensley in Gore, Virginia, in 1933 -- broke hearts, enraged
songwriters and producers and delighted fans. Cline's never-ending search for stardom --
which sometimes led to losing friends and lovers -- and her incredible zest for life even
during difficult times keep the book exciting throughout. Nassour, who obviously knows his
territory, successfully "proves his thesis" that Patsy Cline was the first
female country singer to cross the line into pop and blues. The author's insights are particularly effective because, in compiling his information, he
spoke with dozens of Cline's contemporaries, many of whom gave conflicting stories
regarding specific events. The tale of Cline's tragic death in a plane crash with two
musician friends and her manager is told with poignancy. Especially touching is the last chapter, which is devoted to the reactions of her
two young children, her mother, her husband and her friends, and how all of them managed
life without Patsy.
~~ Mary Frances Wilkens