Steven Ward’s bookshelf

Rockcritics.com contributing editor, Steven Ward, chatted with me recently about a few of his favourite music books, including: Kurt Loder’s Bat Chain Puller: Rock and Roll in the Age of Celebrity Timothy White’s Rock Lives: Profiles and Interviews Chuck Eddy’s Stairway to Hell: The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe Stephen Davis’s Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga Mick Wall’s When … Continue reading Steven Ward’s bookshelf

Bookshelf #14

bookshelf#14

Hmm, where were we again?

98. Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll (Bob Shannon and John Javna) – More or less as advertised. Back stories on some 200 or so chart songs, divided into such topics as “Accidental Hits,” “Real People” (i.e., “Layla,” Hey Jude,” et al.), “Weird Inspirations,” “Translated Hits” (i.e.,”The Lion Sleeps Tonight”), etc. etc. Well thought out and the songs are diverse and smartly chosen, from “Johnny B. Goode” to “Dead Skunk” to “Like a Virgin.” Purchased for $4, don’t recall when or where, and no, I haven’t read it from start to finish and probably won’t. But I’m glad it’s here.

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Rockcritics Podcast: Talkin’ Beatle Books (with Tim Riley)

The latest rockcritics podcast features Tim Riley, author of one of my favourite Beatle books, Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album by Album, Song by Song, the Sixties and After. A couple weeks prior to our chatting, I asked Tim — currently completing a large-scale John Lennon biography — to submit a list of some of his favourite Beatle books, and it’s that list which … Continue reading Rockcritics Podcast: Talkin’ Beatle Books (with Tim Riley)

Rockcritics Podcast: Chuck Eddy (Part 3)

The third (and final) installment of my chat with Mr. Eddy, regarding record guides. Here we yammer on about: The Spin Alternative Record Guide Christgau’s Record Guides Martin Popoff, The Collector’s Guide to Heavy Metal Tony Jasper & Derek Oliver, The International Encyclopedia of Hard Rockand Heavy Metal Bill Friskics-Warren & David Cantwell, Heartaches by the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles (This segment just … Continue reading Rockcritics Podcast: Chuck Eddy (Part 3)

Rockcritics Podcast: Chuck Eddy (Part 2)

The second installment of the Eddy podcast focuses on the discographies in Stranded (Greil Marcus) and Marooned (Phil Freeman). Most (though not all) of the music bits are samples of songs culled from Marcus’s text. I may have more to say about this later (a whole bunch of things I wish I’d responded to at the time — i.e., Hackamore Brick), but for now… Check … Continue reading Rockcritics Podcast: Chuck Eddy (Part 2)

Bookshelf #13 (Jazz edition)

90. Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now (Edited by Robert Gottlieb)
91. The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (Richard Cook & Brian Morton)
92. Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis (Philip Freeman)
93. Celebrating the Duke… And Louis, Bessie, Billie, Bird, Carmen, Miles, Dizzy and Other Heroes (Ralph Gleason)
94. Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray
95. The Otis Ferguson Reader (Edited by Dorothy Chamberlain and Robert Wilson)
96. Satchmo (Louis Armstrong)
97. As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir (Chet Baker)

I’m pretty sure these are all the jazz books I own — it’s possible I’ll come up against something I missed later on. In the last few months I’ve spent umpteen hours listening to and investigating jazz — from Armstrong to Ayler (but much moreso Ayler) — and there were three books in particular which helped open that door for me: John Gennari’s Blowin’ Hot and Cool (which I wrote about here), Philip Freeman’s Running the Cool Down, and Ralph Gleason’s Celebrating the Duke. Once the bug hit it hit hard and I started buying more jazz books to supplement (to help me begin to make sense of) my listening. Five of the eight titles above are very recent purchases (to give you some idea of just how deficient in this area I was before), and I’ve taken at least a dozen books out of the library in the last couple months as well, including some I will eventually purchase (the two I’m most anxious to secure copies of are Leroi Jones’s/Amiri Baraka’s Black Music and Martin Williams’s The Jazz Tradition).

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