Just finished reading ON THE ROAD WITH THE OAK RIDGE BOYS:40 Years of Untold Stories and Adventures by Joseph S. Bonsall, tenor singer for the group and now I am listening to the "Boys" on Pandora as I write this review. What can I say? It was like a long, comfortable conversation (one-sided) with a friend. I know one thing for sure; hubby and I are taking in THE OAK RIDGE BOYS CHRISTMAS CONCERT that comes to Wisconsin Dell's Crystal Palace each season. It's been on my bucket list for a while, and after reading this book, I won't put it off any longer.
Bonsall tells us how he came to the group, shares what life is like on the bus, and reveals what "old friends" in the music business truly influenced their careers. One chapter I especially liked was about how the group has interacted with the fans over the years, actually developing long lasting friendships with several fans, including one fan in her nineties. I also enjoyed the chapter about their relationship with President George H. W. Bush (41); coincidentally I read those pages as I listened to the television report of his recent fall and hospitalization. Bonsall talks about his upbringing and his parents a little, and it was enough that I now need to get his earlier book G.I. JOE AND LILLIE, a tribute to his parents. While searching for that title, I've discovered that Bonsall is quite a prolific author, having written both children's books and other nonfiction titles. Prevalent throughout ON THE ROAD is Bonsall's genuine faith which shows in what he says and how he has treated others. Of course, Bonsall HAS to write about ELVIRA, the song that everyone recognizes. Today we say that it went "viral"; Bonsall says it better when he says it went Elviral!! The book ends with a upbeat chapter which again stresses the importance faith has played in Bonsall's life and the group's success. As he says, the group always wants to entertain, but more important is their hope that they touch our lives. To longtime Oak Ridge Boys fans, I suggest you read this book. You will enjoy a visit with someone you know well. For those, who, like me, know the group, but haven't fully followed their career, the book may lead you to wanting to hear more.
The only criticism I have for this book is that I wish it was available as an audiobook with Joe Bonsall himself reading. Please Joe, can you fit some time into your tour schedule to record a version? I can just imagine countless fans, couples even, listening to you share these warm collection of reminiscences. Perhaps you could even intersperse a song or two. I received an ecopy of this book from NETGALLEY for review purposes. All opinions are mine.