book Archive

Book Review: Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker

If you’ve been living and paying any attention to the human condition, you understand that people are complicated. We’re inconsistent, unpredictable, messy creatures. And even if one focuses on the “special” ones – those who excel at one thing or another, who are led up as exemplars of some sort – what’s inevitably found are

Book Review: Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes

Sidestepping tired allusions to Boston‘s Tom Scholz, Guns’n’Roses and Chinese democracy, Boys Don’t Lie: A History of Shoes was a long time coming. Author Mary Donnelly began work on the book several years ago. Lots and lots (and lots) of interviews would form the basis of this exhaustive and supremely well-researched tome, and then various

Book Review: 400 Saturdays, An Anthology of Vinyl Folklore

It’s actually a great idea for a book. 400 Saturdays: An Anthology of Vinyl Folklore is described on its (exceedingly well-designed) cover thusly: “In the spirit of Studs Terkel‘s Working…an intimate look into the active listening experience.” And across some nearly two hundred pages, K. Johnson-Bair shares verbatim transcripts of the vinyl reminiscences of about

Album Review: Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra – For the Baby Doll

In and of itself, eclecticism is neither a good nor bad characteristic. Consistency may in fact be (as Ralph Waldo Emerson sorta-said) the hobgoblin of a little mind, but it helps sell records. People like knowing what to expect. Not everyone wants adventurism with their rock’n’roll. But some of us welcome the musical curve ball.

Book Review: Louder Than Hell

For journalist-authors, there are myriad ways to tell a story. The easiest – and often most effective – is to write the story as narrative, and insert quotes from those who were there to supports the assertions made in said narrative. It’s a tried-and-true method that works, and readers can follow it. But there’s another

Book Review: Vinyl Lives II

James Goss‘ 2010 book Vinyl Lives was built around a series of interviews the author conducted with owners of independent record stores around the country. Woven together, these individual stories painted a picture of the state of this niche market. Consistent themes developed; chief among these was the idea that owning and operating a record

Book (P)review: Boys Don’t Lie – A History of Shoes

On my desk at the moment is a pre-release Kindle copy of Mary E. Donnelly‘s long awaited book about the Zion, IL powerpop group. Shoes began their recording career in the 1970s and continue to present-day; in fact they’ll be making a relatively rare live appearance soon, at this year’s SXSW. (If you’re going to

Book Review: 101 Essential Rock Records

I’m predisposed to like a work such as Jeff Gold‘s new book, 101 Essential Rock Records: The Golden Age of Vinyl from The Beatles to the Sex Pistols. Anything that connects with my interest in music and words-about-music has a better than even chance of finding favor with me. But this book is special beyond

Book Review: The Me Generation…By Me

As someone who (a) is a writer and (b) grew up immersed in the pop culture of the 1960s, Ken Levine would seem ideally suited to write a book about that decade. That he’s a comedy writer (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier and host of other well-known shows) would suggest he could deftly weave humor into such

Book Review: Dick Wagner – Not Only Women Bleed

I’m decidedly old-school about any number of things. I prefer vinyl records to CDs (and CDs to mp3 files), and real books to e-books. But when I learned that famed and legendary guitarist/composer Dick Wagner had penned a book about his life in music, and that Not Only Women Bleed would be available only in