book Archive

Book Review: Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues

One need not dig very deep into the collected history of popular music to discover tales of artists who’ve been ripped off, gotten the short end of the stick, been robbed or gotten screwed. And for a long list of reasons – many of which have to do with our country’s history of racism –

Book Review: The Evolution of Mann

Lately I’ve been mulling the age-old question: what makes a bandwagon-jumper? Pop music’s history is filled with examples of bands and solo artists who have adopted stylistic u-turns in a naked bid for the commercial brass ring. Perhaps The Bee Gees are the most celebrated example: though they started out as a Beatles-lite sort of

Book Review: Experiencing Jazz

As part of my expanding odyssey of discovering the art form called jazz, I bought a book in December 2012, a title called Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz, by John Szwed. It was good, but left me feeling that the task of guiding a novitiate (one such as myself) into

Book Review: Lunar Notes

Lunar Notes is not a Great Book, nor do the requisite few hours spent with it reveal anything that suggests the author’s intention that it be so. What it is is a look into one man’s experiences as a member of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band during their most musically fertile period. In this slim and

Book Review: Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Imagine that you’ve just sauntered into a dimly-lit if friendly- vibed barroom. You’ve positioned yourself at a barstool and settled in to enjoy a leisurely drink to cap off a long day. A guy next to you offers a cordial hello, and you respond in kind. You like your space, but you’re not averse to

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… Bill Kopp: One area you didn’t spend a lot of time on was the studio sessions. You didn’t avoid them, for sure, but neither did you get into deep detail about the recording. Howard Kaylan: That’s the most boring shit in the world! I can tell you, but it doesn’t matter.

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: I’ve read a lot of Jeff Tamarkin‘s work, and I’ve had a long conversation with you. So one of the things that impressed me about Shell Shocked is how perfectly it reflects what I expect to be your “voice.” He’s essentially invisible, which I’m sure was the plan. Can

Funny You Should Mention It: Howard Kaylan’s Shell Shocked (Part One)

Autobiography or no, Howard Kaylan is an engaging, colorful character. His life story is full of highs and lows, but his highs and lows were set against the backdrop of being on one of the 1960s more popular bands (The Turtles) and then as part of the mad ensemble known as Frank Zappa‘s Mothers. In

Book Review: Beatles With an A

‘Tis the season for two things, at least: the annual holidays, and new Beatles-related products of note. Just this week, for example, the long-awaited (and delayed) release of the 2CD set On Air, a collection of BBC radio broadcasts (music and banter) from the band’s early days. As for me, since I have the (cough)

Album Review: Woody Guthrie — American Radical Patriot

Most Americans know the name Woody Guthrie. What they know of him beyond that – and/or their opinion on what he means to popular culture and music – varies widely. He’s an often misunderstood character, and as so often happens, human tendency toward a sort of reductionist thought tends to try and simplify him, to