As well as researching and writing best-selling non-fiction books, T.J. ENGLISH likes to explore other areas of the arts, most especially music. As a child of the Seventies, he is partial to R&B and Soul music but has also been a life-long lover of Blues, Jazz and Latin-jazz. Through his travels on various writing projects, he’s also become an aficionado of Afro-Cuban music, Brazilian, Jamaican, and African music.

Recently, English combined his story-telling talents with his love of music through the writing of song lyrics, including the collaboration on a song with the great New York-based musician/composer BENJAMIN LAPIDUS.

The genesis of the song took place at a small dinner party at the Brooklyn home of Ben and his wife Teresita. After dinner, over a bottle of Cuban rum, the conversation turned to the subject of roux, the base sauce for all New Orleans-style cooking, especially jambalaya and gumbo. Teresita, who along with being a professor of Puerto Rican history is an expert cook, explained how letting the roux cook over an extended period of time gives it a darker color and deeper flavor. Out of this discussion came the song, "THE SWEETER THE LOVIN’, THE DARKER THE ROUX".

T.J. wrote the lyrics in the mode of a classic New Orleans funk song. Lapidus put together a tremendous band that includes the legendary CANDIDO CAMERO, a 92 year-old Cuban conga player, Latin jazz impresario BOBBY SANABRIA on drums, Lapidus himself on guitar, the legendary organist FRANK ANDERSON, and an ass-kicking brass section. The vocalist is BOBBY HARDEN, a veteran of New York City’s R & B scene.

The song is on the new CD by Benjamin Lapidus entitled OCHOSI BLUES. It is the eighth CD for Lapidus, who has established himself as one of the most diverse and accomplished Latin jazz musician/composers in the U.S. You can download the song individually for a mere .99 cents or the entire album for $12.99.

The physical CD can also be purchased, which is highly recommended. The cover art features an original painting by DENNIS MARIO, and the extensive liner notes explain the origins of the songs and music and also identifies the many incredible musicians who took part in the recoding of OCHOSI BLUES.

Check with this website for future details about eclectic songwriting ventures and musical collaborations that feature the work of T.J. English.

Please support real music created by real musicians.


Whitey's Payback cover

A landmark anthology of crime journalism from acclaimed author T.J. English

Every World is a Corner, and Every Corner is a World...

The sixteen pieces collected in WHITEY'S PAYBACK represent my interest in crime as a vast ecosystem, a parallel universe to the social and economic system we observe in the upperworld on a daily basis.

In America, business, politics and crime are frequently intertwined; one can scarcely exist without the other. What is happening below the surface shapes the world as we know it. What is presented to the public is occasionally wrapped in bullshit and lies.

The pieces in this anthology are all basically about one thing: the pursuit of the American Dream. To the reader, the question is posed: How far would you go to achieve power and prosperity for you and your own? Some people, out of free will, dire circumstances, or temporary insanity make choices that take them to the wrong side of the law. Chronicling the path of misguided souls and devious minds has become a big part of my calling as a writer.

WHITEY'S PAYBACK is likely as close as I will ever come to writing a memoir. The subtitle could have been: What I Have Done With the Last 22 Years of My Life. The book is a statement, or manifesto, about doing this kind of work – crime reporting – using the articles as a means to illustrate the central thesis.

Throughout twenty-two years of crime reporting, one thing remains unchanged: the narrative is open-ended. Being a crime journalist is the gift that keeps on giving. As long as people continue to use the pursuit of the American Dream as a license to commit crimes, I will cover this beat.

Meanwhile, check out WHITEY'S PAYBACK. It will take you places you never even knew existed.

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For more than two decades, through non-fiction books and journalism, author T.J. ENGLISH has chronicled the American underworld. Starting with his debut book, THE WESTIES, and subsequent best sellers PADDY WHACKED, HAVANA NOCTURNE, and THE SAVAGE CITY, English's work has captivated readers and charted new territory. His latest book, WHITEY'S PAYBACK, is an anthology of his crime journalism, and once again top notch reporting and masterful story telling are on display. Readers expect nothing less from T.J. English, who, as an author, has practically created his own genre of underworld crime as social history. A former New York City taxi driver, English brings a rare combination to bear on his work: a feel for the streets but also rigorous research and scholarship, so that his books feel intimate and personal but also comprehensive and definitive. They reveal the Big Picture, and also tell the little stories within the Big Picture. Leading historian and author Luc Sante (LOW LIFE) has declared T.J. English "one of the great reporters of our time."

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The Complete Story of Whitey Bulger: T.J. English Reports

In PADDY WHACKED: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE IRISH AMERICAN GANGSTER (2005), T.J. English first wrote about James "Whitey" Bulger, putting his criminal career in the larger context of the Irish Mob in America. When Bulger, after 16 years on the lam, was apprehended in June 2011, English began writing a series of articles on the Bulger saga for Newsweek magazine. Those articles are included in WHITEY'S PAYBACK, a collection of T.J.’s crime journalism spanning the last two decades.

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T.J. English on The Daily Show

In the modern world of book promotion, publishers hope to land their writers a spot on national television. But the venues for authors on TV are dwindling. Oprah? One-in-a-million shot. Charlie Rose? Yeah, but who watches PBS. One of the early morning shows? Sure, but they give authors less than five minutes of air time. The gold standard is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. T.J. English has now appeared twice on Stewart's show, most recently in March 2011 to talk about THE SAVAGE CITY.
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The Westies and Born to Kill available now in ebook format

T.J. English’s first two books, THE WESTIES and BORN TO KILL, are now available in ebook format (Kindle, Nook, IPad, etc), published by Mysterious Press. To inaugurate the release of these two books, a short promotional video has been created Open Road Media. Here it is. For more information go to this link.

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Savage Realities documentary by Brandon Cotter

With the publication of THE SAVAGE CITY in March 2011, author T.J. English embarked on a vigorous promotional tour to promote the book. Among his appearances was an especially significant night at the Hue Man Bookstore in Harlem, at which English was accompanied by Dhoruba Bin Wahad, one of the primary subjects of THE SAVAGE CITY, and legendary Harlem journalist Herb Boyd. A young documentary filmmaker, Brandon Cotter, chronicled the event and turned it into an interpretive and provocative digital documentary that he calls SAVAGE REALITIES.

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Best Books of the Month: March 2011 by

Amazon's Best of March 2011


The Savage City
March 1, 2011

One part police procedural, one part historical narrative, T.J. English's The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge follows three different men caught in the fallout of New York City's most turbulent decade as race relations, corruption, and crime reached a stormy head. English traces the events that shook the city to its core during the '60s and early '70s, from the assassination of Malcolm X and the rise and fall of the Black Panthers, to the trial that exposed the multiple layers of corruption plaguing the city's police department. Woven throughout this narrative is the troubling story of George Whitmore, a young black man who was bullied into confessing to several of the city's gristliest murders--and who spent the next ten years attempting to prove his innocence and earn back his freedom. The Savage City is an expansive, remarkably detailed account of one of the most tumultuous moments in America's history, and of the lingering effects of the decade's injustices. --Lynette Mong's entire list of Best Books for March 2011: Click here