Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Against All Odds" by Eddie Ray (2012)


Elyshia Brooks                                              
Kreative Group, Inc.
T: 800-511-5410

For Immediate Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—He has been called a “national treasure.”  North Carolina native, Eddie Ray, the grandson of a former slave, gives readers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the burgeoning record industry of the 1950s and early 1960s in his newly released memoir “Against All Odds—The Remarkable Life Story of Eddie Ray.” 

Ray, now in his mid-80s, started as a stock boy for Decca Records in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was 18 years old and eventually rose to become vice president of Capitol/Tower Records in Hollywood, California, one of the top major record companies in the U.S., the first African-American in such a decision-making role.

But prior to this top post, he was first an extraordinary record sales and promotions man whom acquaintances still describe today as having “an ear for what would sell,” and “a commercial mind.”  It was during some 60 years in the commercial music business that Ray had a significant   impact on the careers of rising stars such as Rick Nelson, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Ernie Freeman, Mike Curb, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Sandy Nelson, Pink Floyd, and many others.
Ray also founded one of the first commercial music schools in the country and subsequently was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Tribunal in Washington, DC.
“Against All Odds—The Remarkable Life Story of Eddie Ray” takes readers on a journey from the rural foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina to the top executive suites of the dynamic music industry of the ’50s and ’60s. The book opens with a prologue dated October 3rd 2009 at the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where Ray was one of the first inductees.   He notes that the unusual venue of the ceremony is symbolic, indicative of the out-of-the-ordinary events in his life.
Readers will immediately be drawn in from the first chapter, which doesn’t start with his childhood, but a description of his life as a tapestry with people being threads woven through his experiences.  Readers will also learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of independent record companies—hundreds of them formed after World War II, opening the recording door for many artists, especially minority performers.  And most of all they will be inspired by Ray’s courage to take risks from his young life all the way through to his current years.

Robert Williams of “Rooftop Reviews” said of the book, “It was fantastic. In understated tones, he has delivered a living portrait of a time, though long gone, which still influences us until this very day. The book is all about taking chances and trusting your instincts in order to help make your dreams come true. It's the story of a family, raised in segregation, and yet still successful by virtue of hard work.”

Baby Boomers especially will enjoy this book that will evoke feelings of nostalgia as they think back to where they were when certain songs of the early Rock and Roll era became hits.  They will be fascinated by Eddie Ray’s connection with the success of mega-stars such as Fats Domino and Rick Nelson and names they may not immediately recognize, but whose works they certainly will. 

Music historians will appreciate learning about Ray who can be added to the “untold stories” of influential African Americans.  And African Americans will be inspired by his quest to open doors, courage to break racial barriers, and audacity to ignore the status quo. Even music students will find this book enjoyable as they read about the people who laid the foundation for the music business today.

“Against All Odds—The Remarkable Life Story of Eddie Ray” will inspire, inform, and immerse readers as they peer into the personal and professional experiences of his life.

This “living history” makes the book an important autobiography in that it preserves little-known facts about an industry that has had such a tremendous impact on American culture. 
“Against All Odds—The Remarkable Life Story of Eddie Ray,” written with Barbara Jackson Hall, is approximately 200 pages and available in paperback from Amazon.com.

Note from RT: This is the book which I reviewed here on December 5th. You can imagine how proud I am to have been included in this release, which will be going to many of the major newspapers across the country. My original review can be viewed at the following link;  


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