Good books about music

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I'm going to Delaware for spring break to look at colleges, and it's going to be pretty boring. I'm making a run to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble's tomorrow to get stuff, and I was wondering if anyone knew of good books about music. We're going for fun to read here, since I need something that doesn't take too long to get into. I've already read Never Mind the Pollacks (which was great), and my closest Barnes and Noble's has Our Band Could be Your Life and that uncensored oral history of punk book that was on the OC three weeks ago.

WillSommer, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:18 (9 years ago) Permalink

Perfect Sound Forever
The Music's All That Matters
What Rock Is All About
Lipstick Traces
Just Kill Me
Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung
The Aesthetics of Rock

little ivan, Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (9 years ago) Permalink

Get the Lester Bangs books.

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:23 (9 years ago) Permalink

and Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

Please Kill Me was on the OC?

Please kill me.

Oh well. Read it anyway. It's amazing. And Our Band Could Be Your Life. If you're interested in criticism, check out Psychotic Reactions and Carbeurator Dung or anything by Lester Bangs or one or two Greil Marcus books (The Basement Tapes). I'd stay away from Camden Joy, contrary to popular opinion.

I need something that doesn't take too long to get into

But you're going to college, man! Just buy Adorno's Essays on Music and accept that the next 4+ years of your life are going to be like that mwahahaha...

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

Dave Marsh, The Heart of Rock & Soul (his 1,001 most important singles of the rock era, in bite-size nuggets)

Joseph McCombs (Joseph McCombs), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:43 (9 years ago) Permalink

Love Saves the Day and Can't Stop Won't Stop by Tim Lawrence and Jeff Chang, respectively.

I also enjoyed Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and there's the ever-classic Generation Ecstasy.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

conflict of interest, but whatever:
Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
featuring Eno, Cage, Stockhausen, Merzbow, Reynolds, lots of other luminaries, and some jerk named Sherburne

philip sherburne (philip sherburne), Thursday, 17 March 2005 04:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll- Tosches
Faithfull: An Autobiography- Marianne Faithfull
Chronicles v.1- Dylan
Black Monk Time- Eddie Shaw
I, Tina- Tina Turner
Uptight: the VU story,
Transformer- Bockris
Planet Joe- Joe Cole

Elisa (Elisa), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

John Cage's Silence is a great book about music and other things.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:15 (9 years ago) Permalink

All of the above, and Sidney Bechet's autobio (blanking on the title, but he only wrote one); Miles by Miles Davis; Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock 'N' Roll (Kandia Crazy Horse, ed.)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:17 (9 years ago) Permalink

Also, Robert Palmer (not the singer)'s Deep Blues, Christgau's 70s Consumer Guide (yeah you can look up all the Consumer Guide entries at, 'cept maybe the *most* recent, which are at, but unless you just love typing in Subjects and hitting Enter and know exactly what to look for, the book is a lot more fun). Also most anything by Peter Guralnick (although I woouldn't start with the Elvis stuff)(if you want to get strung out ona good sick Elvis book, try Evis Aron Presley, by Alanna Nash with the Memphis Mafia) Most anything by Frith, Toop; Charles Keil' Uran Blues; Tom T. Hall's The Storyteller's Nashville (one of the funniest books I've read re musos, and good serious stuff too); Nelson Goerge's Seduced: The Life And Times Of A One Hit Wonder; Pamela Des Barres' I'm With The Band; Ruth Brown's Miss Rhythm (an epic!)

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:41 (9 years ago) Permalink

Ahh yeah Rap Attack by Toop. Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

Does Greg Tate have any books out there worth picking up?

I had never heard of Tate until I saw him speak not long ago. He is a BAD. ASS. Does he still write for The Voice? I feel like I never see him in there. Does he have a blog?

poortheatre (poortheatre), Thursday, 17 March 2005 05:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

He definitely still writes for the voice, unbelievable writer too, sort of a marxist approach to hip-hop these days (as SFJ pointed out) which seems to distance him from discussing how the music moves him but which does raise significant points regarding hip-hop and the way it is being used both positively and negatively; I got sort of nuts at him during the "great tate debate" when he criticized people for celebrating the 30th anniversary of hip-hop and while I don't share his lack of enthusiasm/engagement with the current music, I do think he's absolutely right about what hip-hop's significance is (paraphrasing, renders African-Americans "all but invisible" in a cultural sense) and that unfortunately the advancement of African-American cultural capital has not resulted in economic justice or any kind of justice, really.

I'm mostly interested in reading a book of his since his prose is fairly magnificent.

deej., Thursday, 17 March 2005 06:23 (9 years ago) Permalink

r. crumb draws the blues - r. crumb
country - nick tosches (his other books too of course, but this is my favorite)
rythm oil and the true adventures of the rolling stones by stanley booth
awopbopaloobop by nik cohn

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 07:05 (9 years ago) Permalink

Touching From A Distance
Bass Culture
Songs They Don't Play On The Radio
Revolution In The Head
Rotten: No Dogs, No Blacks , No Irish

wtin, Thursday, 17 March 2005 10:56 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:25 (9 years ago) Permalink

Tate's 1991 collection Flyboy in the Buttermilk is tremendous. His review/demolition of Bad ("I'm White! What's Wrong with Michael Jackson") is worth the price by itself, especially when he sez that the album's title "accurately describes its contents in standard English."

If you want a cracking funny read on hip-hop, though, pick up The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop by Peter Shapiro, which has just been updated and enlarged (it was a pocket-size the first time, now it's 8 x 10). Best line goes to the Bad Boy Records writeup, when he notes that Puff Daddy, having been responsible for 40% of all 1997's number ones, moved to the Hamptons "so he could live by the sea, just like his magic dragon namesake."

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:41 (9 years ago) Permalink

actually, strike that "though," Toop can be funny and obviously so can Tate.

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:42 (9 years ago) Permalink

Neil McCormick's "Killing Bono" was a quick, fun read.

John Fredland (jfredland), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Wonderland Avenue" - Danny Sugerman - I can't stand The Doors but I loved this book. Also, "The Dirt", the Motley Crue book. Again, hate the band, but a cracking read.

Same here! (Of course there's also the Led Zep bio.)

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:46 (9 years ago) Permalink

ooh, haven't read that led zep one. I just remembered a book called "Lost in Music" by Giles Smith, which was a hoot.

bg, Thursday, 17 March 2005 11:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

chuck berry's autobiog

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 12:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

George Jones, I Lived To Tell It All
Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography

Next week on "The O.C.": Seth and Ryan get into a fatal disagreement over "James Taylor: Marked For Death," while Summer meets a new hottie who shares her disgust of Nick Hornby.

Keith C (kcraw916), Thursday, 17 March 2005 14:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

Nelson George's previously mentioned Seduced is said to roman-a-clef of sorts (Russell Simmons, on back cover of early edition, earnestly denies that one of the characters is based on him--that's his whole blurb). Some wicked bits about the early days of hip-hop, and the music biz overall. The sequel, Urban Romance, spotlights a minor Seduced charactor, who writes for Billboard and the Voice. Haven't read it yet, but it's next. Tate's Everything But The Burden, about whites biting black music, is another I've heard good stuff about.

don, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:09 (9 years ago) Permalink

For a good time, read:

Dino by Nick Tosches (about Dean Martin; as deep as Catch a Fire by Timothy White, as entertaining as that Motley Crue book)

Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, by Tony Scherman (oral history/autobiography of the New Orleans drummer; had me at "Louis Armstrong was a pimp"...)

We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen (better than Please Kill Me, kind of like L.A. punk itself)

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

Here's TSOL frontman Jack Grisham in We Got the Neutron Bomb, before he announced his run for governor against Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and Gary Coleman, etc.):

I was torturing this guy in the garage of my mom's house in this nice suburban neighborhood with my whole family inside eating Easter dinner... and I'd got this guy tied up in the rafter with a rope around his legs and I'm beating him with a two-by-four. I said, "Hang on a minute," and put the two-by-four down and walked into the house and kissed my aunt and said like, "Oh hi, how you doing?" I grabbed a deviled egg, told them I'd be back in a minute, and I went back out, grabbed the two-by-four, and kept workin' on the guy. I finally had to get out of Vicious Circle 'cause of the violence. There were constant stabbings and beatings and people cruising by my house at night, shooting up the neighborhood....

I did something pretty bad to somebody and they retaliated with guns. It was a big deal, I had to split to Alaska for a while, they cut the lines on my car, blew up my car... fuck...I don't wanna say who they were, but they weren't punks... boy, they were pissed off.

Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

'Long Time Gone' the David Crosby (auto)biog is definitely the best music book i have ever read. the way he led his life and some of the decisions he made are genuinely stupefying. equal parts genius and retard. extraordinary when set against the soundtrack of the music he was making.

i went on holiday with the Deborah Curtis book and the Nick Drake biography once. happy times, let me tell you.

Lee F# (fsharp), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (9 years ago) Permalink

dino is so good that i've lent and lost TWO copies to (so-called) friends

if you ever find dave rimmer's "once upon a time in the east", abt berlin east and west b4 the fall of the wall, i utterly UTTERLY recommend it: tho it's only somewhat abt music - unlike his earlier (and also good) "like punk never happened"

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 17 March 2005 22:53 (9 years ago) Permalink

I've just got "Lost in the Grooves" by the editors of Scram (the same peeps who did "Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth"), a collection of reviews of culty, forgotten or neglected albums. Some very ILM choices in there: Jandek, Poster Children, Bridgette Fontaine etc. If only slsk was working properly...

Richard C (avoid80), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

I wrote a few entries for Lost In The Grooves (Boogie Down Productions, Schoolly D, Sonny Sharrock).

Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.

pdf (Phil Freeman), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:02 (9 years ago) Permalink

and how could i forget, the funniest rock-related book ever: the life and times of little richard by charles white.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 17 March 2005 23:19 (9 years ago) Permalink

xpost the David Crosby book has sections with different versions side by side, like the Synoptic Gospels: the Word according to St. David, his friends and ex-friends. But certainly not Gospel in the I-swung-naked-on-the-chandelier-but-now-I've-found-the-LORDuh (so send your dollars to my new friends today). He's got his regrets, but still the somae ornery critter ("Don't do crack, and also watch out for the CIA/Colobian Cartels, man," is more the POV)

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 00:01 (9 years ago) Permalink

Bass Culture
Sadly retitled in America as The History of Jamaica's music or something like that, but it's excellent. The only disappointing aspect about it is that Lloyd Bradley doesn't cover any On-U-Sound releases in the book or even take them into account.

Quit glaring at Ian Riese-Moraine! He's mentally fraught! (Eastern Mantra), Friday, 18 March 2005 00:23 (9 years ago) Permalink

I'm just finishing this, I like it, but it could have used a little bit more demographic and geographic background info on Jamaica and Kingston in particular.

JoB (JoB), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:32 (9 years ago) Permalink

Nick Kent's "The Dark Stuff"
"Alt-Rock-o-Rama" (great on car trips!)
Brian Eno's "More Dark than Shark"
Motley Crue's "The Dirt" (well, not about music, per se)

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Friday, 18 March 2005 01:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

Blissed Out is still my favorite Simon Reynolds book. Jon Savage's England's Dreaming (see recent thread on him); Chuck Eddy's Stairway To Hell and Accidental Evolution; a couple of good anthologies: ROck She Wrote and Trouble Girls.

don, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:37 (9 years ago) Permalink

that book "Hip: A History" isn't strictly about music but it's also very good. I think the author's name is John Leland.

Ashandeej, Friday, 18 March 2005 06:41 (9 years ago) Permalink

Audio Culture (edited cox / warner) seconded, and limiting myself to the books next to my desk (library's in the hallway)

Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes
also; Wireless Imagination (d kahn / g whitehead)
Paul Griffiths - A Concise History of Avant-Garde Music
Paul Griffiths - Modern Music And Beyond
Curtis Roads
William Duckworth : Talking Music
Cage: Silence / A Year From Monday
Cage / Feldman: Conversations
James Tenney : Meta / Hodos
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stockhausen on Music (Compiled by R Maconie)
Sound By Artists (ed. Dan Lander)
Chris Cutler - File Under Popular
Attali - Noise
Russolo - The Art of Noises (get a hold of a copy any way you can)
Trevor Wishart - On Sonic Art
Douglas Kahn - Noise Water Meat

milton parker (Jon L), Friday, 18 March 2005 07:13 (9 years ago) Permalink

milton, has "modern music and beyond" been updated at all?: when i first read it (= in like 1977), i remember thinking "waddya mean beyond"!! it stops in 1968 with a sad thud!!

i think the attali book is lousy at book length—it's a good short polemic idea bulked out to a contradictory nonsense schema—and wireless imagination is patchy (which is a pity, cz it's a great idea for an essay collection)

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:11 (9 years ago) Permalink

really good things I've read over the last few months were adorno's bk on mahler and morton feldman's 'give my regards to 8th street' essay comp.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 09:55 (9 years ago) Permalink

weird, I stopped reading Neutron Bomb halfway through--bored me for some reason, though the stories weren't in themselves boring. hmmm. (though it may be because I've never been all that into L.A. punk and like NYC punk way more.)

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Friday, 18 March 2005 10:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Bass Culture" seconded - terminally readable, even if you don't much care about the stuff (which I do); as much of a cultural history as anything else. There's a certain integrity to his (not total, by any means, but pronounced) dismissal of Dancehall (and I do sometimes hear, say, Bounty Killer a bit differently now that I've read about the jamaican warlords and can't just pretend it's all fun "hey let's pretend we're Al Pacino" wackyness), but I do sorta wish he had just stopped when "his" age was over.

The Elvis Guralnick books - again, you don't have to care about the subject matter to enjoy them (personally, I was so-so on Elvis before readin' 'em, am now an unabashed fan), and the second one is one hell of a car wreck: the descent starts like twenty pages into it, and by the end of the book you can't even feel sorry for the guy anymore, you just wonder why he hasn't kicked the bucket already.

"Where Did Our Love Go?" by Nelson George has some nice anecdotes, and is probably the best book on Motown around, tho to be frank I didn't learn all that much from it.

"The Heart Of Rock & Soul" seconded, and throw in the "New Book Of Rock Lists" too, if only for the sheer joy of reading the sentence "Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum Lists..." over and over again (not that book of rock jokes, tho, that was awful.) And also "Fortunate Son: The Best Of Dave Marsh", great stuff on Elvis, Muddy Waters, latino rock, etc.

I remember reading Maryiln Manson's "The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell" in my early teens and being surprised by how good it was (I'd always loathed the guy's music.) Dunno if it holds up.

"Sweet Soul Music", hell yeah.

I've read the entirety of Christgau's consumer guide online, and there's some great, great stuff there. So the books are recommended, too.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:12 (9 years ago) Permalink

Brother Ray by Ray Charles with David Ritz is fantastic and amazingly blunt and candid.

shookout (shookout), Friday, 18 March 2005 11:14 (9 years ago) Permalink

'Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic is being reissued sometime this year.'

yay I've been wanting to read that one for a while!

adding to my prev post here leroi jones 'blues people' which I just finished this morning: most gd bks on music accept that they aren't just abt notes and chords.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:53 (9 years ago) Permalink

i think the attali book is lousy at book length"

You mean it's not long enough? I loved the book. Should re-read it...

I also loved the Lexicon Devil (bio on Darby Crash) though it's certainly not essential...

nathalie barefoot in the head (stevie nixed), Friday, 18 March 2005 12:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

All my obvious suggestions are covered here, so let me just say: even if you're a die-hard, passionate, blacked-out-yr-own-teeth Joe Strummer/Clash fan, AVOID AT ALL COSTS the pile of dung known as "Let Fury Have the Hour: the Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer." The superficial "analysis," the copious mistakes (London Calling wasn't recorded in New York, dumbshit!), the TYPOS (?!?)'s a massacree!

Jason Toon, Friday, 18 March 2005 16:41 (9 years ago) Permalink

African Rhythm and African Sensibility by John Miller Chernoff

the ONLY thing wrong with JMC's line is that he somewhat slightly seems to accept the assumption that the social dimension—the "dance"—isn’t also always part of all music in the West (though he does this in the context of getting ppl to see/hear/look for the fuller sense of the meaning of music): taking his insights abt Africa (Ghana, to be more accurate) and applying them everywhere else is revelatory

Most of it is a charming telling of him learning African drumming in Ghana

mark s (mark s), Friday, 18 March 2005 18:23 (9 years ago) Permalink

The only two lengthy reads on Led Zep - Stephen Davis' Hammer of the Gods and roadie Richard Cole's 'Stairway to Heaven,' are both pulpy and full of dirt and invented mythology. Not to say I don't recommend them though.

And I hope someone someday undertakes a lengthy Sabbath bio.

57 7th (calstars), Friday, 18 March 2005 19:01 (9 years ago) Permalink

"don't forget this song," frank m. young and david lasky's graphic novel about the carter family, which came out not too long ago, is fantastic.

i play too fast (which is the sign of an amateur) (fact checking cuz), Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:51 (11 months ago) Permalink

tosches is a good time, but should be taken with ye olde grain of salt. that book has some great stuff in it...

yeah tosches can really try your patience in any number of ways, but "country" is a particularly great one of his. formative for me.

i play too fast (which is the sign of an amateur) (fact checking cuz), Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:54 (11 months ago) Permalink

also on the country tip, peter guralnick's "lost highway" is a fantastic collection of interviews/essays about roots musicians, with a strong country leaning as the title would suggest. his "feel like going home" is more blues-focused, but that book's chapter on charlie rich is as good as music writing gets and is entirely responsible for my lifelong love of charlie.

i play too fast (which is the sign of an amateur) (fact checking cuz), Thursday, 19 December 2013 01:07 (11 months ago) Permalink

Ditto--both Charlie pieces are mandatory. (If I remember right, the first one catches him while his career's floundering, the follow-up when he had that unlikely brush with fame and wasn't handling it well.)

clemenza, Thursday, 19 December 2013 01:18 (11 months ago) Permalink

Another recommendation for Electric Eden - got me into Fairport Convention and Pentangle, neither of whom I'd ever listened to before that.

Humorist (horse) (誤訳侮辱), Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:09 (11 months ago) Permalink

Yeah man, these people got the right idea"---Charlie Rich, while observing couples and hopefuls, between sets played at Max's Kansas City. "Behind Closed Doors" indeed---wonder of any of the ex-Velvets were there that night? Also: apparently mostly on the strength of Guralnick's otm say-so (also to further cash in on his belated comeback-and-then-some), Rich's most Fully Realizedsides, from the Smash label, were reissued as a twofer: some of these are nice, some are darn good, some are great, some are fucking awesome. Only wish Margaret Ann's composition "Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs" was here, speaking of fucking awesome. Hear ye! (thanks discogs)
A1 Mohair Sam

Written-By – Frazier*

A2 I Can't Go On

Written-By – C. A. Rich*

A3 Dance Of Love

Written-By – C. A. Rich*

A4 A Field Of Yellow Daisies

Written-By – M. A. Rich*

A5 I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water

Written-By – J. Babcock*

A6 Every Thing I Do Is Wrong

Written-By – C. A. Rich*

B1 She's A Yum Yum

Written-By – D. Frazier*

B2 It Ain't Gonna Be That Way

Written-By – C. A. Rich*

B3 Just A Little Bit Of You

Written-By – D. Frazier*

B4 Moonshine Minnie

Written-By – D. Frazier*

B5 Down And Out

Written-By – M. A. Rich*

B6 Lonely Weekends

Written-By – C. Rich*

C1 No Home

Written-By – C. Rich*

C2 So Long

Arranged By – Ray Stevens Written-By – C. Rich*

C3 The Best Years

Written-By – M. A. Rich*

C4 Party Girl

Arranged By – Ray Stevens Written-By – M. A. Rich*

C5 You Can Have Her

Arranged By – Ray Stevens Written By – C. Cook

C6 Have I Stayed Away Too Long

Written By – F. Loesser

D1 Hawg Jaw

Written-By – D. Frazier*

D2 Something Just Came Over Me

Written-By – M. A. Rich*

D3 Double Dog Dare Me

Written By – B. Logan, C. S. Snooddy

D4 Just A Little Bit Of Time

Written-By – C. Rich*

D5 Blowin' Town

Written-By – C. Rich*

D6 Tears A Go-Go

Written By – D. Fritts


Producer – Jerry Kennedy

Fully Realised is a 1974 compilation of highlights from Charlie Rich's two Smash albums, The Many New Sides of Charlie Rich 1965, and Fast Talkin', Slow Walkin', Good Lookin' Charlie Rich 1966.
(p) 1965 Catt#.9299 114
(p) 1966 Catt#.9299 115
(Think there's more on The Complete Smash Sessions)

dow, Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:24 (11 months ago) Permalink

my debut book just came out. It's about music:

Buy it here:

the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:11 (11 months ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

Should I read "Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life in Rock" by Steven Pearcy or "Dirty Rocker Boys" by Bobbie Brown?

how's life, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:23 (11 months ago) Permalink

I just read "dirty rocker boys" and it was entirely competent and pretty meh. Plenty of pointless sex gossip that I won't ruin spoil unless asked.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:42 (11 months ago) Permalink

The Pearcy book is pretty good.

Humorist (horse) (誤訳侮辱), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:13 (11 months ago) Permalink

I saw a recommendation for this book but I haven't read it yet:

Ickes, Scott. 2013. Afro-Brazilian Culture and
Regional Identity in Bahia, Brazil. Gainesville: University Press of

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:18 (11 months ago) Permalink

Just finished James Fearnley's book about the Pogues. It falls away in the second half, but the stuff set round Kings Cross and Camden in the early 80s is fantastic.
― Viva Brother Beyond (ithappens), Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:10 (1 year ago)

I've been wanting to buy this for a while now. Must order now!

Duke, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:05 (11 months ago) Permalink

I'm enjoying David Byrne's How Music Works which is part musical autobiograsphy part history of recorded sound. Makes me want to listen to the Talking Heads who I've never got majorly into as well as his other projects.

Also reading a book Called This Ain't The Summer Of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk by Steve WAksman which is currently looking at Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and theatricality after having spent some time looking at Nuggets and before that Grand Funk Railroad. KInd of interesting though it does keep tying everything into metal but then that is at least partially what the book is about. I picked it up partially for the title though I don't think he's going to look at the Imperial Dogs who actually came up with the phrase and partially cos it's got the Iggy crowdwalking photo on the cover * it was £4.99 which is some factor. It is pretty interesting, though main reason I went back to the shop it was in was taht I'd seen a cheap copy of the Byrds day by day book which I think is called So You Want TO Be a rock'n'roll star. Should have grabbed it when I first saw it cos it was gone when I went back but that shop which seems to be a gay erotica shop from the outside but has had some great rock finds over the years. Always seems to have some interesting stuff on a pretty large discount along with other non-gay esoterica.

Also picked up Morrissey's autobiography though I've only looked at the first chapter so far.

& got to mention that Touch & Go Complete Anthology thing my brother got me for my birthday which is very interesting.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:18 (11 months ago) Permalink

Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity, by the late Richard A. "Pete" Peterson is my new favorite book on music: masterfully organized and argued, very informative and insightful about the subject at hand and equally useful for understanding the history of the music industry in general.

Wild Mountain Armagideon Thyme (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 27 January 2014 03:35 (10 months ago) Permalink

This looks interesting:

Sounds of the Metropolis: The 19th Century Popular Music Revolution in London, New York, Paris and Vienna by Derek B. Scott

o. nate, Wednesday, 29 January 2014 18:25 (10 months ago) Permalink

Has anybody read Ben Fong-Torres' book about Top 40 radio in the US?

MaresNest, Friday, 31 January 2014 14:17 (10 months ago) Permalink

I got put off the David Byrne book pretty early on, when he refers to Bath as a small town "a few hours East of London". Petty, I know, but factual errors which are easily check able always make me wonder how much of the rest of it is just made up. Once I'd got in that state, the rest of it just started to smack of "look at me, I'm cooler than you". ( Which he is, but whatevs)

At other times in the past few weeks I've read No Sleep till Saltburn (failed music journo shows just why, publishing his fevered teenage fanzine notes from the height of NWOBHM), Choosing Death (a fairly superficial skim of how the Death and Grind scenes started, but still with a couple of new pieces of info) and the KLF book (entertaining, but inconsequential).

Started Lords of Chaos the other night and have Louder Than Hell in a pile with Varg's book on Scandinavian religion(s) amongst others awaiting reading.

Ian Glasper's trapped in a scone (aldo), Friday, 31 January 2014 15:43 (10 months ago) Permalink

Has anybody read Ben Fong-Torres' book about Top 40 radio in the US?

― MaresNest, Friday, January 31, 2014 9:17 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

No, but i read his book about Little Feat and it was decent. Really a Lowell George bio, to tell you the truth.

Prince Kajuku (Bill Magill), Friday, 31 January 2014 15:48 (10 months ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

Looking forward to getting the new david Stubbs book Future Days on Krautrock. Hopefully going to get taht through the door over the next couple of days. Nice to see that the local chain newsagent got copies in but it was €10 more than I paid for it.

NO sign of HMV starting selling books yet, have been hoping that Bob Stanley would come in cheap.

Stevolende, Sunday, 17 August 2014 18:56 (4 months ago) Permalink

Oh & read Bathing In Lightning Colin Harper's book on John Mclaughlin up to the mid 70s which was great. Read it since the previous posting on here anyway

Stevolende, Sunday, 17 August 2014 18:58 (4 months ago) Permalink

I think Byrne's How Music Works lives up to its title, in terms of his experience, from the 60s on, live and in studios, also different business models employed for creating, promoting, distributing albums, times the luck of, for instance, crashing in a schoolmate's pad almost directly across the street from CBGB's, and why that was such a good place for bands and audiences (yet pointing out that other seemingly equally likely venues somehow failed to grow or sustain a scene).
He alternates the personal experiences with historical overviews of recording technology and related biz matters, how they impacted the aesthetics, and the psychology (quotes somebody who walked into a room and encountered a friend listening to lovely recorded music *all by himself*: it was like catching somebody jerking off). Ends with a great history of the whole Music of The Spheres thing, from Ancient Greeks to Modern Geeks: he's got aome zings, but he's into it too.
He doesn't talk that much about inspiration/what a song of his is About or "Don't know where this cosmic stuff comes from, man, I just write it down,", nor does he (past the somewhat stiff first chapter) get too lecture-y or formulaic.
The ebook's got music files, but haven't heard 'em.

dow, Sunday, 17 August 2014 20:00 (4 months ago) Permalink

(quotes somebody who walked into a room and encountered a friend listening to lovely recorded music *all by himself*: it was like catching somebody jerking off) In the early days of record (maybe cylinder?)-collecting.

dow, Sunday, 17 August 2014 20:28 (4 months ago) Permalink

Anyone read these?

St.-Etienne guy's epic history of pop since 1950(?)

Or Greil Marcus' new History of Rock and Roll in Ten Songs

Tempted by both but don't know if I want to pull the trigger

Iago Galdston, Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:17 (4 months ago) Permalink

Read a few chapters in Bob Stanley and each one was an ace. Know next to nothing about GM book.

Mannditar Doggsitar Starrkeytar (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:31 (4 months ago) Permalink

I read Yeah Yeah Yeah, I find the first half of the book pretty fun and informative but the closer it got to our times, the more I found it naive and dull. As a whole it's good, especially if you were hit by Napster at age 12 like me and never got to fully live the singles era, and of course it's pretty anti-rockist. Also, the unfair thing is that I haven't read the last R&B chapter, which renders my criticism null.

Van Horn Street, Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:37 (4 months ago) Permalink

third of the way through future days and it's excellent so far

ned's atomic raggett (electricsound), Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:58 (4 months ago) Permalink

Need to get and read the Stanley book.

Nitpicks and compliments in W. Post freelancer's review I just read:

His personal taste as a dance musician is refreshingly far from the “rockist,” Led Zeppelin-worshiping tendencies of so many pop historians. Perhaps as a result, when the music gets louder, his facts occasionally get blurry, as when he dates the rise of thrash metal a bit too late, wrongly refers to Black Flag as a D.C. band (though the group’s onetime singer Henry Rollins is from the area), and uses the term “heavy metal” much as it was first used in the ’70s, with no regard for the difference between the pop-chart success of hard rockers like AC/DC and the long-term influence of metal royalty Black Sabbath. But much of this is forgivable because of the way Stanley writes, as if he were engaging the reader in conversation rather than delivering a treatise. His affable writing style is punctuated by moments of wit and insight, even when some of his stories sound apocryphal.

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 August 2014 17:06 (4 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Fave books about New Orleans musicians with more books and stories added in the comments

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 September 2014 04:43 (2 months ago) Permalink

Here were some of them:

Under a Hoodoo Moon," Dr. John (with Jack Rummel)
"Up from the Cradle of Jazz," Jason Berry
"I Hear You Knockin'," Jeff Hannusch
"The Brothers Neville," the Neville Brothers (with David Ritz)
"Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans," John Broven
"Triksta," Nik Cohn
"Song for my Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White," Tom Sancton
"Unfinished Blues," Harold Battiste with Karen Celestan
"From Stapleguns to Thumbtacks: Flyer Art from the 1982-1995 New Orleans Punk and Hardcore Scene," Pat Roig
"Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans," Matt Sakakeeny (artwork by Willie Birch)
"Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock n'Roll," Rick Coleman
"Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues," John Wirt
"Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans," Ben Sandmel
"Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal & the Music of New Orleans," Keith Spera
"New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans," John Swenson
"The Definition of Bounce: Between Ups and Downs in New Orleans," 10th Ward Buck and Lucky Johnson with Alison Fensterstock
"Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans," Matt Miller
"Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz," John McCusker
"Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan's Lounge," Jay Mazza

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 September 2014 16:32 (2 months ago) Permalink

I have that Creole Trombone book but haven't started it yet. Still busying reading Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism!

Jazzbo, Friday, 19 September 2014 17:08 (2 months ago) Permalink

I really enjoyed Sidney Bechet's yarn-spinning autobio, Treat It Gentle. Funny title, considering that he could be quite the badass, as documented by others. Anybody who want to stage a one-person show might well consider basing it on this book.

dow, Friday, 19 September 2014 19:08 (2 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Would like to read that Sidney Bechet book.

Came to thread to say I read the first few chapters of Please Be With Me, A Song For My Father, Duane Allman, by Galadrielle Allman, and this thing is amazing well-written so far.

Do Not POLL At Any Price (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 8 October 2014 05:03 (2 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Recent book about Brian Jones by guy who wrote Iggy and Bowie books looks interesting.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 22 November 2014 16:10 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Matos' forthcoming opus looks pretty awesome:

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 22 November 2014 16:17 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

Sounds of Two Eyes Opening, Sinecure Books fourth book, and the follow up to Houston Rap, is a narrative of Southern California chiaroscuro by master photographer Spot, the legendary hardcore producer and engineer for the Misfits, Black Flag, Hüsker Dü and Minutemen.

Edited by Sinecure's Johan Kugelberg and punk expert Ryan Richardson, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening displays shots of punks and bands and clubs in dark swatches of blacks and grays with brief illuminations of white skin. These images sit in contrast to promise of the unbroken horizon of Spots’ beach photographs: youthful beauty, toned bodies, gleaming teeth, big hair, the eternal trilogy of sun/sand/sea.

Spanning the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Sounds of Two Eyes Opening offers an amazing portrait of Southern California coastal life: surfing, bikinis, roller skating and skate boarding’s fledgling days are set in contrast to iconic shots of all the key denizens of hardcore punk rock as it is being invented; candid shots of Black Flag, The Germs, Minutemen abut everyday punk, fans, cops, clubs and now shuttered rehearsal spaces.

Sounds of Two Eyes Opening is presented as a hardbound, 272 page book,

curmudgeon, Monday, 24 November 2014 17:15 (3 weeks ago) Permalink

has anyone looked at eric weisbard's top 40 democracy?

looks pretty interesting to me. this short-ish essay that he wrote caught my attn:

dyl, Tuesday, 2 December 2014 19:25 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Barry Blesser's 'Spaces Speak', about the history of acoustic architecture, conscious design of spaces meant for the performance of music, and how it impacted the composition of music itself. From caves to Stonehenge to Mayan temples to Churches to Radio City Music Hall etc.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 2 December 2014 20:42 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

I just finished reading Sheila E's autobio. Part of it is about music (obvs) and the other part is personal history stuff. Her writing isn't like ~spectacular~ or w/e but her voice is very strong and the things she chooses to write about are distinctive and interesting. The way she writes about her love of music really resonated with me, and the chapter(s) where she meets and becomes friends with Prince are some of the most tender words I've read about friendship in a long time. I guess I'd recommend it if you like drumming, Prince, Sheila E, or all of the above.

La Lechera, Tuesday, 2 December 2014 20:45 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

I've been thumbing through Talkin' to Myself: Blues Lyrics 1921-1942:

which is just an enormous collection of old blues lyrics. It is wonderful.

Lorde 2Pac Beck Mashup (crüt), Tuesday, 2 December 2014 20:47 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Xpost I adore Sheila E and u know how I feel about prince. Onto the reading list it goes!

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 01:11 (2 weeks ago) Permalink


difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 02:32 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

I saw her give a talk and reading at B&N. She said some people bugged her that there wasn't enough Prince in the book, to which her reply was "it's about my life, not Prince's." She seemed nice but I was going to give this book a pass based on that, but now I am intrigued.

Cutset Creator (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 03:40 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Is there a decent book about the Cure? I kind of expect not...

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 03:43 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Ten Imaginary Years is great. I don't think there's a good one that covers the subsequent 26.

the incredible string gland (sic), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 04:05 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

there's more than enough prince in the book! it's about her life, not his. and the way she talks about his impact on her life is really beautiful imo, even if things didn't exactly work out in the long run.

the last part is heavy on the devotion to the lord, but one of the most interesting things about her book: not a word about wanting or having children. either they are off limits entirely or she doesn't feel compelled to talk about it. either way, kudos, lady!

La Lechera, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 04:15 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

Recently finished Herbie Hancock's autobio, Possibilities. Written in a no-frills style, I think he does a good job of relating what it's like to play his music, without assuming musical training on the part of the reader. Many funny little anecdotes about Miles Davis and his working methods. One never-been-told-before sordid revelation. His sister sounds really interesting also - the passages about her untimely death and its aftermath are particularly affecting. You have to be able to stomach a lot of references to his Buddhism; this aspect I felt stopped just short of being annoying. Overall I do feel I know the man better now.

Just cracked a new Peggy Lee bio called Is That All There Is? by an guy who's previously written about Chet Baker and Lena Horne. This already feels like it's going to be overwhelmingly entertaining and fascinating.

Josefa, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 16:52 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

I thought herbie was a sc13nt0log1s7?

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 17:29 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

you're thinking of Chick Corea

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 17:32 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

No I know chick is, but I thought it was the both of them.

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 3 December 2014 17:35 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

i heard him talking about it in a radio interview a few weeks ago
it was pretty shocking and not related to scient0logie

La Lechera, Wednesday, 3 December 2014 19:02 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

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