book Archive

Book Review: Wounds to Bind

The 1960s music scene was populated with people who – if they survived – have tales to tell. First-hand witnesses to (or participants in) the social and cultural upheavals that changed the way we looked at the world; movers and shakers in the development of new and groundbreaking musical forms: those are the stories we

Book Review: The Next Elvis

There have been countless books written about Elvis Presley and/or the early years of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. But a new book by someone who was there (for a time, at least) sheds some new light on the tiny yet famous and incalculably important label. Barbara Barnes Sims‘ The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom

Book Review: One Way Out

The members of The Allman Brothers Band – and there have been many – tend to think of themselves as a jazz band. The onstage interplay owes, they argue convincingly, more to a jazz players’ aesthetic than to the comparatively aimless, noodling approach employed by a “jam band.” That surprising fact was but one of

Book Review: Power Pop Prime, Vol. 3

Powerpop fans are in some ways like metal fans. They – or shall I say we – are hardcore fanatics of a narrow slice of the pop music spectrum, and the rest of the world looks on wondering what the fuss is all about: “What’s the appeal?” I come here today not to try to

Book Review: Bob Dylan, American Troubadour

Allow me to begin with some relevant disclosure: I’m much more a “music guy” than a “lyrics guy.” I can know the words to a song – sing along with them after a fashion, even – and not give much more than a passing thought to the meaning behind (or intent within) the lyrics. There

Book Review: Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques

People like sensational stories. It’s an unfortunate fact, because the public’s focus on the superficial and lurid often obscures a deeper, nuanced story beneath. Barry Cleveland is not one of those people who is satisfied – or even interested – in the shallow, sensational stuff. Thank goodness for that, because his book Joe Meek’s Bold

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