It Was All Right: Mitch Ryders Life in Music by James A. MitchellSongs performed by Detroit rocker Mitch Ryder, such as Devil with a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly and Jenny Take a Ride are among the most well loved of the twentieth century, but his fascinating life story is unknown to many. It Was All Right is a portrait of Ryder built on firsthand road stories-a rock-and-roll travelogue that is also an insiders look at fame and popular culture in America.
Born in 1945 in Hamtramck, Michigan, Ryder has been in the music business for 47 years, made more than two dozen albums worth of recordings, and given upward of 8,000 performances. In It Was All Right, author James A. Mitchell has collected an impressive array of anecdotes from Ryders extraordinary life in music, including Ryders stories of his first gigs in Greenwich Village clubs, singing with a black trio in the early days of the civil rights movement, jamming with Jimi Hendrix, and attending private parties thrown by the Beatles. Mitchell also chronicles Ryders more recent career, as he struggled to regain his popularity among American audiences after the 1970s and returned home to the Detroit music scene in the 1980s.
In all, Ryders abundant commentary and Mitchells easy narration combine to give readers a fast-paced tour of a turbulent musical journey that is still unfolding. Whether blending musical genres or dabbling in political activism, Ryders one-of-a-kind experiences will intrigue music fans and anyone interested in musical or cultural history.
Although decades later he remains a rock legend, Ryder is no longer as recognized as he once was. Nonetheless, he continues to perform, often to rave reviews, write critically acclaimed songs, and thrill his cult audience. Ryder was born William Levise, Jr. As a child, he lived in the suburbs of Detroit, but as he was prone to discipline problems, summers saw him shipped off to live in the city with his grandmother. In , a year-old Levise emerged on the burgeoning Detroit rhythm and blues scene. The Village, considered one of the soul clubs, featured music that, local lore has it, made the walls bulge and the streets quake.
Ramped-up, rocking Motor City soul! Mitch Ryder regularly took it to the limit, on record and especially onstage. Born with the unassuming name William Levise, Jr. Later his family moved about 20 miles north to the suburb of Warren, where young Billy regularly tuned in AM , WJLB, for the hottest rhythm and blues sounds. Profoundly influenced by what he heard, and the fact that so much of it originated right there in Hitsville, U. It quickly became obvious he possessed the chops to pull it off. While still in high school he sang with a band, The Tempest , a good way to get his professional feet wet in some of the area's nightclubs.