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 (twelve 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 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Get the Lester Bangs books.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

chuck berry's autobiog

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

Noel Monk's Runnin' with the Devil is really good. He was Van Halen's manager from 1978-1985, and he gives up everything: how shitty their initial contract was (and how he got them out of it), how fucked up they were and how much they grew to hate each other, how badly the brothers and Roth fucked over Michael's totally fascinating if you're at all interested in the music business.

grawlix (unperson), Wednesday, 12 July 2017 02:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

Ooh that sounds good

or at night (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 12 July 2017 11:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

This review of NPR music critic Ann Powers new book,GOOD BOOTY
Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, is kinda mixed --

The author then settles into her occasionally diffuse narrative that connects Congo Square to Beyoncé and bemoans the devolution of Ma Rainey’s bawdy to the pornified, auto-tuned hip-hop of today. Where Powers successfully connects the dots, light bulbs flash: it is fascinating to watch her join the gay subculture of disco to the success of the sisters Labelle, nee the Blue Bells, remade in “a previously unexplored space where glam met funk met soul via strictly female interplay.” (Well, perhaps not strictly female, since, as Powers notes, the designer of Labelle’s outrageously flamboyant costumes went on to invent the costumes of the swaggering cartoon band KISS.) Even where she does not successfully make those connections, as with her notes on the apache (“pronounced A-POSH, not like the Native American tribal name”) dance and its not-so-subtle masochism, which never quite caught on in the larger culture, she ventures interesting theses. Mostly, the author strings together bright tidbits of cultural trivia to reconstruct and deconstruct the kinship of dirty blues and gospel, the shared underage girlfriends of now-iconic British rock stars, and other points of prurient interest.

A mixed bag, sometimes entertaining, sometimes arid, but full of useful insights; readers won’t look at Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj the same way

curmudgeon, Thursday, 13 July 2017 03:21 (seven months ago) Permalink

Finished "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock and Roll" today.

A well researched and convincing history of popular music in America circa 1890-1970, often taking a materialistic approach stressing the importance of sheet music, dancing, publishing, radio etc and focusing on continuity between genres often described as oppositional.

Perhaps relies a bit much on familiarity with the 'standard narrative' it challenges. Slightly academic but full of good quotes and fresh perspective.

Best and chunkiest parts describe early jazz, Beatles take up a minimum of space despite the provocative title. If you're wondering how the Beatles destroyed rock and roll, they did it by inventing a hegemonic genre uninterested in singles and dancing, segregating white rock (music for listening) from black soul (music for dancing) in a hitherto unseen degree.

Great fun to read a book like this with Spotify handy, wish I'd made a playlist along the way.

niels, Thursday, 13 July 2017 10:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

Looks like most of the Elijah Wald books are at least interesting. I need to finish the blues one, got an eye on the Dylan and electricity one since its around locally.
& that Beatles/R'n'r one sounds like it should be worth checking out.

Stevolende, Thursday, 13 July 2017 10:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

that book sounds fascinating. just ordered myself a copy.

dyl, Thursday, 13 July 2017 17:51 (seven months ago) Permalink

look forward to hearing your thoughts on it

niels, Thursday, 13 July 2017 18:25 (seven months ago) Permalink

How the Beatles... made me want to read (hell, write) a full-on biography of Mitch Miller.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 13 July 2017 19:59 (seven months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan is not a book about music per se but has great essays on Christian Rock, Michael Jackson, Axl Rose, John Fahey, pre-war blues and Bunny Wailer

niels, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 11:01 (six months ago) Permalink

I wish he would come out with something new, I read Pulphead quite a few years ago I think and it was outstanding.

evol j, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 13:53 (six months ago) Permalink

Has he written anything after that Sunday NY Times blockbuster?

Barkis Garvey (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 8 August 2017 13:56 (six months ago) Permalink

Christian Rock piece is all time

Number None, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 14:15 (six months ago) Permalink

He was supposed to be working on a book about this guy

But haven't heard anything about it in a while

Number None, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 14:17 (six months ago) Permalink

His journalistic methods in that Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie story on 78s, kinda turned me off a bit

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 15:34 (six months ago) Permalink

That's the NY Times one

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 15:35 (six months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

I'm trying to work outif i need the latest vernon Joynson A Melange Of Musical Pipedreams And Pandemonium which has apparently added a section on African rock alongside Australia, New Zealand, Africa (expanded to include 'Afro-rock' music from Sub-Saharan Africa) and, for the first time, Turkey and the Middle East, between 1963 and 1976.
There was a previous book by him on the Antipodean stuff called Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares from Far Away Lands which also covered South Africa and latin America. & I think I have both editions of.

But looking for a good source on African rock & psychedelia.

So has anybody read it? & can comment?

Stevolende, Wednesday, 6 September 2017 18:55 (five months ago) Permalink

Nope, but does look intriguing

curmudgeon, Monday, 11 September 2017 16:49 (five months ago) Permalink

850 copies worldwide. Several places have it at discount.

Is apparently being followed by a volume dedicated to Canada and Latin America

Stevolende, Monday, 11 September 2017 21:00 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Referring to the book, not the doc...

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:36 (three months ago) Permalink

Reading it right now. SUPER juicy, really great so far. Jann is a complete sociopath.

flappy bird, Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:38 (three months ago) Permalink

I read that Wenner doesn't like it, which is probably a sign that it's good.

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Saturday, 28 October 2017 21:42 (three months ago) Permalink

There's a Lou Reed bio that just released as well...

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Saturday, 28 October 2017 22:21 (three months ago) Permalink

has anyone read the new 33 1/3 on the raincoats' s/t?

josh az (2011nostalgia), Saturday, 28 October 2017 23:45 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, what's great about that is Jann is one of the primary sources & cooperated with the author throughout the writing process. I mean you really have to read it to believe it, the guy is just nuts.

flappy bird, Saturday, 28 October 2017 23:45 (three months ago) Permalink

has anyone read the new 33 1/3 on the raincoats' s/t?

I have - it's very good. It's not one of those that attempts any formal or structural experiments but it's smart and sound and well-written and gave me plenty of bits to think about.

My only small gripe (and I totally know this is my problem as much as it's the writer's) is that it leans a bit heavily on noting the impact the record had on American alt-rock/indie icons of the 90s - the fact that Kurt liked the Raincoats is a matter of pure indifference to me. I understand that Bikini Kill, Calvin, Kurt will be cultural touchstones for most of the people who buy the book, I get that the cultural reception of the record in the US is interesting, it's just that it pops up repeatedly in the book.

Tim, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 10:01 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Got the Wenner biography for half-price today--been looking forward to it. Everything I've seen has been really positive, with the exception of Marcus calling it vile in his column yesterday. That did not dissuade me.

clemenza, Friday, 24 November 2017 00:52 (two months ago) Permalink

It's fantastic. It's so juicy, and the best part is Jann was completely cooperative with Hagan, gave him access to his archives, his rolodex, gave hundreds, maybe thousands of hours worth of interviews over the past 4 years, says INSANE things like "I would take my private jet up and circle LaGuardia just to have lunch," and then only when he gets the manuscript 6 months ago, denounces the book as "tawdry." Motherfucker, you dug your own grave! The rare biography that is authorized and denounced by its subject. Really, really fucking good book, and great job on Hagan's part.

flappy bird, Friday, 24 November 2017 01:48 (two months ago) Permalink

haha, now I want to read it!

niels, Friday, 24 November 2017 08:11 (two months ago) Permalink

Shakey is another one of those

Number None, Friday, 24 November 2017 15:01 (two months ago) Permalink

I think Shakey is my favourite rock bio.

bumbling my way toward the light or wahtever (hardcore dilettante), Saturday, 25 November 2017 02:42 (two months ago) Permalink

Deep insight gleaned from Sticky Fingers: Jane Wenner sure is beautiful.,c_limit/rolling-stone-1117-ss02.jpg

(Can't seem to find an online photo without Jann at her side.)

clemenza, Sunday, 26 November 2017 19:02 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah, whereas Jann in the mid-80s... oof

flappy bird, Sunday, 26 November 2017 22:59 (two months ago) Permalink

Their son sure is nice lookin'!

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Monday, 27 November 2017 00:14 (two months ago) Permalink

Looks like a guy you can't trust.

flappy bird, Monday, 27 November 2017 00:18 (two months ago) Permalink

Looking for recommendations on books on electronic music, preferably from a 'historical sonic evolution' type of angle or just anything that will give me a fundamental understanding of the genres and subcultures with the right amount of mythological titillation, too.

damosuzuki, Monday, 27 November 2017 05:41 (two months ago) Permalink

How about Energy Flash by Simon Reynolds?

Moodles, Monday, 27 November 2017 06:34 (two months ago) Permalink

Wazzabout the book by Matos, The Underground Is Massive?

Modern Zounds in Undiscovered Country (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 27 November 2017 11:34 (two months ago) Permalink

that's more about how the rave scene specifically developed in the united states but yes it's very good

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 27 November 2017 11:48 (two months ago) Permalink

both look pretty cool, thanks. I'll give Energy Flash a read first.

damosuzuki, Monday, 27 November 2017 16:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Sticky Fingers got much better after the intro--the more the author removes himself and just tells the story, the better it is. (He uses the phrase "sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll" in the intro, the biggest and reddest of red flags.) It's a sobering book. Not that I had any illusions about Rolling Stone, and whatever I've taken from the magazine (which amounts to a bunch of 40+-year-old record reviews and Rob Sheffield today) remains, but not an inspiring saga.

Funniest part by far is the 10th-year-anniversary TV show they put together. I don't remember watching this, for which I'm sincerely sorry.

Binder booked Ted Neeley, the star of Jesus Christ Superstar, to perform an elaborate Beatles dance medley called "A Decade in the Life," which included performers in foam strawberry suits and black leggings doing a psychedelic maypole dance as Neeley, dressed as Father Time, sang "Strawberry Fields Forever." The sequence also featured two men in rubber Nixon and Kissinger masks singing "I'm a Loser," inspired, no doubt, by a famous SNL skit of Aykroyd and Belushi praying in the Oval Office on the eve of impeachment. Binder said the Beatles sequence cost over $100,000 to shoot.

clemenza, Monday, 4 December 2017 00:22 (two months ago) Permalink

In other words, Steve Binder was unable to recapture that Elvis Comeback Special magic

Anne Git Yorgun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 4 December 2017 00:36 (two months ago) Permalink

That Matos book is really good! It talks more about subcultures and communities than it does sounds and sonics, but it's an entertaining read.

josh az (2011nostalgia), Monday, 4 December 2017 00:40 (two months ago) Permalink

(xpost) I might go a bit further--he was also unable to recapture that Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell magic.

clemenza, Monday, 4 December 2017 00:42 (two months ago) Permalink

Terry Graham's Punk Like Me finally arrived after a lengthy delay. I payed into the Kickstarter dcampaign about 5 years ago.
Have read first couple of chapters and it seems pretty decent. Traces his path as a musician from childhood through to him walking outon the Gun club in 1984. Must get through thsi. Quite good so far.

Dr John Under A hoodoo Moon his memoir which its taken me about 20 years to get a copy of. He's just tried smack for teh first time after one of his guitar mentors lost patience with him continually asking about it. He's also a possibly prepubescent teen at the time.
Again really well written and i wish I had more time to devote to it. It's my transport book currently.

Blondie by lester Bangs. very odd as a mass media coffee table book on a popular band.
Loving it, gives a lotof insight into the background etc. & the New York scene of the time.

Nothing But The Blues: The Music and the Musicians. Lawrence Cohen
Great coffee table book on the blues which I picked up for €3 from a local charity shop.
I want to read this through after having just read Elijah Wald's book on the Delta Blues

Stevolende, Monday, 4 December 2017 12:58 (two months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

read the two elijah wald books that i ordered recently: escaping the delta and how the beatles...

they were both really great reads. for quite some time lately i had actually been trying to find good books describing the many shifts occurring in 1920s popular music (the early blues and 'hillbilly' markets, advent of electric recording, influence of film etc.). others i had found before wald's writings were either too focused on recordings, which were just one (non-dominant) facet of the pop music industry, or interpreted the landscape from a non-contemporary lens that i found suspect. by contrast, wald very clearly put a lot of effort into providing a broad and comprehensive overview of pop music that emphasized how the eras' musicians made their living, how consumers and amateur musicians (people were often both especially in the early days) enjoyed music, how other industries became big players in pop music as technology shifted, etc. i especially appreciated that he touched upon the role of dance in pop music, which was particularly indispensable for his chapter on the early 60s. i also enjoyed the clear effort he made to convey how people conceptualized, categorized, and thought about pop music in its various forms at the time instead of trying to retrospectively slot things into dubious boxes that barely even make sense today, as many histories unfortunately do.

there were some moments that were clearly a little more speculative than others. one in particular: he describes the mid-50s period when songs like "patricia", "purple people eater", "tom dooley", "at the hop" and "volare" were all hits getting major exposure through radio, but suggests that, well, probably no one actually liked/bought all those records, different as they were, but they certainly would have heard all of them! but then there's a footnote attached to that statement which literally says that multiple readers of the manuscript told him that at the time they actually enjoyed and owned most of those records he mentioned. i find it so odd that he didn't bother to reformulate that paragraph a bit given that he had some decent indication of being slightly off-base! but moments like that are not common, as most of the time he was careful to cite his speculations of typical behavior/taste with carefully interpreted contemporary sources.

anyway, do read them if you've been curious and would be interested in broad but informative/detailed surveys of those periods.

dyl, Monday, 25 December 2017 02:04 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, Wald is fantastic and I love both those books.

I'm currently reading Graham Lock's Forces In Motion: The Music and Thoughts of Anthony Braxton, which is a combination tour diary and mega-extended interview transcript with Braxton; Lock spent two weeks traveling with him on tour to write it, and it's giving me a clearer understanding of how he thinks, how he feels about his own work, what he's trying to accomplish and why, and so much more (it's giving me a much better understanding of other AACM dudes, too, just based on Braxton's thoughts about them). It seriously is unlocking Braxton's music for me in a way that's perfectly timed, since I've been in a real mood to listen to a lot more of his stuff lately.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 25 December 2017 03:23 (one month ago) Permalink

Just finished the Song Machine, which was informative and a good overview of current music trends, but lacked something I can't quite put my finger on...I think maybe i thought the track and hook vs melody and lyrics was perhaps underexplored.

anyway, I have read a lot of the pre-war Blues books and Escaping the Delta is probably the best. In search of the blues was criticized in some quarters, but that's a book that asks some tough questions as well, and I thought it made it's case well:

campreverb, Monday, 25 December 2017 07:59 (one month ago) Permalink

Wald is one of my favorite music historians. Huge fan of “Beatles”

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 26 December 2017 00:24 (one month ago) Permalink

i liked the song machine too! the narrative it sketched out was pretty compelling, it made some very solid/intriguing points about how pop evolved over the years he covered, and the details he uncovered in interviews were often fascinating.

one thing that was a bit distracting about it was that there were a lot of minor factual errors. almost all were harmless to the broader points/thesis, but it did leave me wondering just how thorough his research outside of his own interviews actually was (not to mention how so many people who looked over the manuscript failed to notice). and in some cases it seemed he was ignoring some information in service of a more compelling narrative. (like, saying tricky stewart had never scored a big hit before the mega-smash "umbrella" sure makes the story more exciting, but it just wasn't true!) and in general his blind spots were in the predictable directions (overemphasis on rock, little awareness of hip hop that wasn't inspiring pop that would come later, etc.).

BUT nevertheless it was a very compelling read! i was a little apprehensive about it at first, because i remember its release precipitated some really silly/wrong-headed reviews in the press.

dyl, Tuesday, 26 December 2017 00:32 (one month ago) Permalink

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