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Mr. Thompson grew up in Philadelphia. His father was a pioneering doo-wop singer who later toured on the oldies circuit. His mother was a singer and dancer who ran a clothing store. The whole family sometimes went on tour, like a groovier version of the Partridge Family. From a young age, he sat behind the drums.
To this day, when he is making a new Roots record, he admits, “I write the review I think the album will receive and lay out the page, just like it’s a Rolling Stone page from when I was 10 or 11.”
This is among the reasons Mr. Thompson and his book are so likable. He thinks and sounds the way you think you’d like to think and sound if you were a rock star: funny, self-deprecating, a bit awe-struck.