book Archive

Book Review: Rip it Up: The Specialty Records Story

BMG Publishing launched a series of books, the RPM Series, a few years ago. Superficially similar in scope to the 33-1/3 series, these volumes are designed to chronicle the history of some of music’s most important record labels. Gillian Gaar’s World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story is among the best, as it traces the

Musoscribe’s Best of 2019: Books

I’ve read ten music-related books this year (one of those, Billy Vera’s Rip it Up: The Specialty Records Story I’m still reading and will review soon). I enjoyed all of them to varying degrees, but a few stood out. If you’re thinking of a belated Christmas gift for someone – or just a good read

Boxed Set Review: Land of 1000 Dances

Though there were certainly earlier examples, the era of the lavish boxed set began a few decades back; it more or less coincided with the CD era. And it persisted well into the 21st century. In the last few years, it seems to have trailed off, though superb exceptions to that rule continue to pop

Book Review: The Show Won’t Go On

Popular culture has long held a fascination with death. The old “death and taxes” saw about it being one of life’s inevitabilities speaks to the importance we place upon it. And that fixation – mixed with fear and dread – has manifested itself in all forms of artistic expression. Against that backdrop, a book that

Book Review: “Echoes” by Glenn Phillips

For nearly fifty years, guitarist Glenn Phillips has been making music that defies classification. First with the Hampton Grease Band, and later as a prolific solo artist and active contributor to the works of others, Atlanta-based Phillips has continued to confound those who would apply labels to his music. And now with the release of

Book Review: There Was a Light

I’m a voracious reader. My tastes run decidedly toward nonfiction, but I like a good narrative. And that’s been the case since I was very young. What I never could get into, however, was reading plays. My thinking is that plays are written to be performed, not read (unless you’re an actor, of course). A

Book Review: A Voice of the Warm

Every so often, some of my Facebook friends and I engage in a little game. You might call it Dreadful Earworms: we try to outdo each other by rattling off the titles of some of the most annoying, saccharine, maudlin and just downright awful songs. If you’re a boomer (or perhaps even the child of

Book Review: Begin the Begin: R.E.M.’s Early Years

Considering the influence which the group exerted on popular music – most notably in the category once known as “college rock” – it’s remarkable how much little of consequence has been written in book form about R.E.M. Many books have focused on the music scene in Athens, but few dug into the personalities of the

Book Review: Bruce Iglauer’s ‘Bitten by the Blues’

Launched in 1971, Chicago-based indie label Alligator Records would grow to become one of the most significant forces in the commercial revitalization of blues. Founded by Bruce Iglauer (who remains at the label’s helm to this day), Alligator has been at the forefront of support for blues artists old and new. Iglauer’s new memoir, Bitten

A Conversation with Laura Davis-Chanin, Author of ‘The Girl in the Back’ (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… I thought that your citing the Rashomon effect was really effective. Since the book has come out, have you heard — either directly or indirectly —from any of the characters in it that, “Hey, that’s not the way I remember it”? Oh, my God. You have no idea. We had a