Category Archives: Non-fiction

A Review of The Gibson Les Paul: The Illustrated Story of the Guitar That Changed Rock by Dave Hunter

 

The Gibson Les Paul: The Illustrated Story of the Guitar That Changed Rock

by Dave Hunter

Mr. Hunter has written a very complete book about one of the most iconic electric guitars ever made. He tells the complete history, explains many of the factors that have made a classic Les Paul such a prized electric guitar. He has short glimpses into the guitar players who have played Les Pauls in their careers. He includes lots of pictures. In fact the pictures rival the text, they tell such a complete story of the artists and their axes. He also includes album covers of the major works in which the artist used his Les Paul. He shows pictures of the custom Les Paul models that Gibson has issued honoring the guitarists that are famous for playing Les Paul guitars.

Mr. Hunter has included some technical details that will be very interesting to guitar players who would like customize their guitars. He talks about pickups, bridges, and various other technical details. He explains how different models of Les Pauls were built, what wood was used, and how they contributed to the sound and playability of the different models. He also has some blueprints and wiring diagrams that were used to build the early Les Pauls.

I give this book 5 Stars out of 5 and 2 Big Thumbs Up! I really enjoyed this book and think that anybody that ever wondered about the mystique of this popular guitar will enjoy it too.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release Date: June 15, 2014

The Gibson Les Paul is possibly the electric guitar most associated with rock ‘n’ roll. The result of a collaboration between Gibson’s Ted McCarty and jazz guitarist Les Paul in response to the success of Fender’s Telecaster, the Les Paul has gone on to become a prized instrument played by most of the greatest guitarists in rock history. This massive illustrated history of the guitar examines its prehistory and origins as well as its evolution in the 60-plus years since its 1952 introduction. In addition to the Standards and Customs that guitarists admire so much, author Dave Hunter also gives ample coverage to variations like Les Paul Juniors, Melody Makers, and SGs. To bring the music to life, there are profiles of players well known for using Les Pauls through the years, including Hubert Sumlin, Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, Peter Green, Paul Kossoff, Jimmy Page, Neil Young, Peter Frampton, Keith Richards, Bill F Gibbons, Bob Marley, Mick Ronson, Steve Jones, Johnny Thunders, Angus Young, and more. Illustrated throughout with studio photography of the guitars, candid and performance photography of the artists, and relevant memorabilia, this book is prefect for music lovers and guitar enthusiasts.

Product Details

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Voyageur Press (June 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0760345813
ISBN-13: 978-0760345813
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.4 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 3 pounds

About the Author

Dave Hunter is an author, musician, and journalist. He is the author of several popular books about guitars, amps, and effects, including Voyageur Press’s Star Guitars, The Fender Stratocaster, The Gibson Les Paul, and 365 Guitars, Amps & Effects You Must Play. A regular contributor to Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar magazines, he resides in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The book description is from Amazon. The Gibson Les Paul: The Illustrated Story of the Guitar That Changed Rock

A Review of Dylan: The Biography by Dennis McDougal

Dylan: The Biography
by Dennis McDougal

I have listened to Bob Dylan’s music since I was in high school in the mid sixties. Mr. McDougal’s biography allowed me to learn a bit more about the stories, legends, and lies that have circulated over the past fifty years of Dylan’s public life.

When I read a biography of a musician, I like to listen to their music as I read their story. Dylan: The Biography let me read and listen in an orderly fashion. Sometimes I had to stop reading and just sit there and listen to one of my favorite Dylan albums. But sometimes the album was so weak that I just skipped it. Many of his lesser albums have a good song or two, but not all of them.

Mr. McDougal tells the story behind each album. He lets you put the music in perspective. You follow the path that Dylan went down. He tells some interesting tales. He examines how Bob Dylan and Robert Zimmerman became two different people, how Dylan and his people fashioned a public persona and kept control of what was known about his private life. They controlled the media. If an interviewer broached a subject that Dylan didn’t want to talk about, he got the look and if he continued along that line, then Dylan would just get up and leave. The interview was over, and most likely the interviewer would never get another chance. So this brings up the question, how much of this book is fact? Has this biography been shaped by Dylan and his people? Much of this book draws on other references, but since they may be suspect, who can ever really know.

So this book was a moderately interesting story, maybe fiction mixed in with the fact. It gives a new way of looking at all the Dylan books out there, and throws them all under suspicion. But it still was a fun read for a Dylan fan. It will open up your eyes and make you reexamine what you thought that you knew about Bob Dylan. I give this book 4 Stars out of 5. It was well written and an interesting biography of a famous musician of our time. It shows that Bob Dylan is a poet and a joker, a Jew and a Born-Again Christian, a master story-teller and a songwriter, …  But who is Robert Zimmerman?

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: May 13, 2014

The ultimate biography of the musical icon.
A groundbreaking and vibrant look at the music hero to generations, DYLAN: The Biography digs deep into Bob Dylan lore—including subjects Dylan himself left out of Chronicles: Volume One.
DYLAN: The Biography focuses on why this beloved artist has touched so many souls—and on how both Dylan and his audience have changed along the way.
Bob Dylan is an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and an Oscar winner for “Things Have Changed.” His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? What transformed a heroin addict into one of the most astonishing literary and musical icons in American history?
At 72 years of age, Dylan’s final act of his career is more intriguing than ever—and classic biographies like Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades and even his own Chronicles: Volume One came too soon to cover this remarkable new chapter in Dylan’s life.
Through extensive interviews and conversations with Dylan’s friends, family, sidemen, and fans, Los Angeles Times journalist Dennis McDougal crafts an unprecedented understanding of Dylan and the intricate story behind the myths. Was his romantic life, especially with Sara Dylan, much more complicated than it appears? Was his motorcycle accident a cover for drug rehab? What really happened to Dylan when his career crumbled, and how did he find his way back? To what does he attribute his astonishing success? McDougal’s meticulous research and comprehensive interviews offer a revealing new understanding of these long-standing questions—and of the current chapter Dylan continually writes in his life and career.

Product Details

Hardcover: 540 pages
Publisher: Turner Pub Co; 1 edition (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0470636238
ISBN-13: 978-0470636237
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds

About the Author

With the upcoming publication of “Dylan: A Biography” (Turner Publishing, May, 2014), Dennis McDougal has authored a total of eleven books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in a career that has spanned over 40 years. Currently, he is working on “The Acid Chronicles,” a book and documentary film about the renaissance of LSD as a powerful tool in the treatment of mental illness.

Before he began covering movies and media for the Los Angeles Times in 1983 and, more recently, the New York Times, McDougal worked as a staff writer at dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. A UCLA graduate, McDougal holds a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Journalism. He was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and spent a year teaching and studying in Palo Alto, Japan and Canada. Over the years, his journalism has won over 50 honors, including the National Headliners and George Peabody Award. He was a producer for CNN during the O.J. Simpson murder trial and co-produced “Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times” (2009) for PBS.

A contributing writer with TV Guide, McDougal has also written for Los Angeles Magazine, Premiere, and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.

McDougal has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, and the California State Universities at Fullerton and Long Beach. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Memphis, Tennessee, have five children, and 14 grandchildren.

The book description is from Amazon.  Dylan: The Biography

A Review of Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine

TUNDRA BOOKS - Tundra Books to publish Legends, Icons & RebelsLegends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
by Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson and Jared Levine

This large coffee-table sized book comes with 2 CDs of music included inside the back cover. There are 27 songs, one from each of the artists covered in this volume. Most of the stories of the artists can be read in the time that their song is playing, just keep the remote handy so that you can pause once in a while. I often play the music for an artist when I am reading a book about him. When I was reading the biography of the early Beatles, Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years , I had to purchase a lot of music that was mentioned, just so that I had a real feel for the book. This book does that for you. You get to connect an artist with his work. What a concept!

I didn’t know that this book is targeted to young readers when I read it. I didn’t feel like the authors were talking down to me. They use a lot of fun graphic and font elements in the thumbnail biographies of the artists. Looking back, I can see that it would work for middle school students. If you had younger children, you could listen to the music and read this book with them also. This would give them a feel for the music that you listened to and enjoyed. Maybe you could find an artist or two that you both liked.

I really enjoyed listening and reading this book. The authors knew what they were talking about. It was just a fun couple of hours. I give this book 5 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like music of the Twentieth Century, and aren’t too hung-up on just one genre, then I think you will enjoy this too. If you have kids that are getting into rock, rap or pop, and you want to connect with them musically, give this a shot. Who knows, it might bring you closer.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Description
Release date: October 8, 2013

Exclusive insights from a celebrated musician and passionate industry insiders, two accompanying CDs of legendary tracks and beautiful packaging make for a book with broad appeal — one that will captivate fans of Robbie Robertson and music lovers of all ages.

Part memoir, part tribute, and all great storytelling …
Music industry veterans Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Jared Levine, and Sebastian Robertson invite young readers to share with them in celebrating twenty-seven musical legends. Short profiles chronicle personal stories and achievements of extraordinarily talented artists whose innovations changed the landscape of music for generations to come. Carefully compiled like any great playlist, the line-up features originators, rebels, and risk-takers across diverse genres. From Ray Charles to Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry to Bob Dylan, Robertson shares anecdotes about these artists and the influence they had on his own musical journey.

Always respectful of their reader, the writers never shy away from speaking about the difficult challenges these recording artists faced and the very human foibles that sometimes led to their tragic end. Most of all, it’s the authors’ passion and insights into these personal stories of creativity and collaboration — and the power of music to shine a light on injustice and foster change — that will fascinate, enlighten, and inspire music fans of all ages.”Exclusive insights from a celebrated musician and passionate industry insiders, two accompanying CDs of legendary tracks and beautiful packaging make for a book with broad appeal — one that will captivate fans of Robbie Robertson and music lovers of all ages.

Product Details

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Tundra Books, Har/Com edition (October 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1770495711
ISBN-13: 978-1770495715
Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 12 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds

The book description is from Amazon.  Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World

A Review of Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross

Here We Are NowHere We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain
by Charles R. Cross

This was a good examination of the continuing influences of Kurt Cobain, but it felt more like a series of feature articles from Rolling Stone than a book. Each of the chapters dealt with one major topic. This style made reading the book very easy. You got to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Here We Are Now is not a biography and doesn’t want to be. It talks about things like Cobain’s suicide and examines how it may have actually saved lives. How his complete lack of money and very skinny body caused him to layer clothing from thrift stores, which spawned a clothing style, Grunge. Of course there is a chapter on his influence on music, but I thought that the most eye-opening chapter was covering his heroin addiction, and the changes that may have accrued because of it.

This was an interesting read, but sometimes it felt like Mr. Cross thought that Cobain had a larger influence than most people would. He may have been too close. Once you leave the Northwest, the Cobain effect is much smaller.

I enjoyed reading Here We Are Now, but it probably wouldn’t be for everyone. I give it 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. I recommend it to people who like to read “Rock & Roll” books.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: March 18, 2014

In Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain, Charles R. Cross, author of the New York Times bestselling Cobain biography Heavier Than Heaven, examines the legacy of the Nirvana front man and takes on the question: why does Kurt Cobain still matter so much, 20 years after his death?
Kurt Cobain is the icon born of the 90s, a man whose legacy continues to influence pop culture and music. Cross explores the impact Cobain has had on music, fashion, film, and culture, and attempts to explain his lasting and looming legacy.

Product Details

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: It Books (March 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062308211
ISBN-13: 978-0062308214
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces

About the Author

Charles R. Cross graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in creative writing. At the UW, he served as editor of the Daily in 1979, and caused a major ruckus when he left the front page of the newspaper blank. The only type was a small line that read “The White Issue,” in deference to the Beatles’ White Album.

After college, Cross served as editor of The Rocket, the Northwest’s music and entertainment magazine, from 1986 through 2000. The Rocket was hailed as “the best regional music magazine in the nation” by the L.A. Reader, and it was the first publication ever to run a story on Nirvana. Cross wrote stories on such seminal Northwest bands as The Wailers, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and hundreds, if not thousands, of lesser-known bands. In addition to The Rocket, Cross’s writing has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Playboy, Spin, Guitar World, Q, Uncut, and Creem. He has also written for many newspapers and alternative weeklies, including the London Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has lectured and read at universities and colleges around the world, and has frequently been interviewed for film, radio, and television documentaries, including VH1’s “Behind the Music.”

Cross is the author of seven books, including 2005’s Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix (published by Hyperion in the U.S., and Hodder in the U.K.). His 2001 release, Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain (Hyperion/Hodder), was a New York Times bestseller and was called “one of the most moving and revealing books ever written about a rock star” by the Los Angeles Times. In 2002, Heavier Than Heaven won the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding biography. Cross’s other books include the national bestseller Cobain Unseen (Little Brown), Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music (Harmony, 1989); Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell (Harmony, 1992); and Nevermind: The Classic Album (Schirmer, 1998).

The book description is from Amazon.  Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain

A Review of The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

The Future of the Mind by Michio KakuThe Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind
by Michio Kaku

I learned quite a bit from this book. The brain is even more amazing than I had ever imagined. Mr. Kaku explores the intricacies of the different areas of the brain, how memories are stored, how the eyes work with the brain to allow us to see a seamless picture of the world, and so many other things that I didn’t know about. He discusses dreams, and how the mind uses sleep. He talks about telekinesis, and how the mind can make artificial limbs move.

Mr. Kaku then goes on to postulate different possibilities for the future of the human mind. He explores different methods to capture the whole of a human’s mind, and store it, or transfer it to computer memory, or maybe even a light-beam. He says that a laser may be able to transfer the mind to the body of an avatar on a distant planet, at the speed of light. That way we wouldn’t have to travel great distances in a slow rocket. He also talks about the alien mind. How we might be different, so different that we could come in contact and never even know. He compares our minds to alien minds, like how we see insects, or other animals in comparison to ourselves.

This was a very interesting science book. Mr. Kaku never talks down to you. He doesn’t use a lot of scientific jargon. Everything is understandable, without feeling like a grade school science book. There is a lot of meat to this book. He brought up some ideas that seemed to be prefect science fiction plots. I will have to keep them in mind and see who uses them first.

This was a very well written, and entertaining scientific look at the human mind. I give The Future of the Mind 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and A Big Thumbs Up. I recommend it to anyone who ever wondered what goes on inside their skull, how it all works so well, or maybe so badly.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: February 25, 2014

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.

For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high-tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.

The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics.  One day we might have a “smart pill” that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a “brain-net”; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.

Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about “consciousness” and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.

With Dr. Kaku’s deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force–an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

Product Details

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (February 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038553082X
ISBN-13: 978-0385530828
Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

About the Author

MICHIO KAKU is a professor of physics at the City University of New York, co-founder of string field theory, and the author of several widely acclaimed science books, including Hyperspace, Beyond Einstein, Physics of the Impossible, and Physics of the Future.

The book description is from Amazon.  The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

A review of Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell by Chas Smith

Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to HellWelcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing

by Chas Smith

Chas Smith is a real piece of work. He is very full of himself. He thinks that his style is the only style that anyone should wear. He is truly the hippest man on the planet (in his own mind, anyway). You will probably be really annoyed with him. You might even hate him, but he wrote a good book.

This book is supposed to be about surfing, but really most of the time Chas Smith is talking about Chas Smith. He really likes himself. This can get under your skin, because you won’t like him nearly as much as Chas Smith likes himself.

Once you get past screaming at Chas for the stupid stuff he is saying and settle down and get your blood pressure under control, (this took me about a third of the book) you get to learn some very eye-opening things about what goes on during the Winter on Oahu’s North Shore. This is when the biggest, scariest, most sought after, waves are pounding the shores of Hawaii. This is when the biggest surf contest of the year takes place, The Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing. The biggest event takes place at the Banzai Pipeline. The heart of this book happens during the 2012 Billabong Pipe Masters. Chas Smith talks to the two scariest men on the North Shore. He writes stuff that they may not want to have released out into the wild. I wonder what will happen to Chas Smith once this book is published. I am following him on Twitter (@chasdoesntsurf ) to see what he posts after November 19.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5. If you are going to Hawaii this December to watch the Pipe Masters surfing contest at Pipeline, you need to get this book. It will give you some good inside information, and some safety tips.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: November 19, 2013

Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, is surfer and former war reporter Chas Smith’s wild and unflinching look at the high-stakes world of surfing on Oahu’s North Shore—a riveting, often humorous, account of beauty, greed, danger, and crime.

For two months every winter, when Pacific storms make landfall, swarms of mainlanders, Brazilians, Australians, and Europeans flock to Oahu’s paradisiacal North Shore in pursuit of some of the greatest waves on earth for surfing’s Triple Crown competition. Chas Smith reveals how this influx transforms a sleepy, laid-back strip of coast into a lawless, violent, drug-addled, and adrenaline-soaked mecca.

Smith captures this exciting and dangerous place where locals, outsiders, the surf industry, and criminal elements clash in a fascinating look at class, race, power, money, and crime, set within one of the most beautiful places on earth. The result is a breathtaking blend of crime and adventure that captures the allure and wickedness of this idyllic golden world.

Product Details

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: It Books (November 19, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062202529

ISBN-13: 978-0062202529

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x .9 inches

Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces

About the Author

Hyper-ironic surf journalist and bon vivant from Coos Bay, Oregon; frequent contributor to Stab magazine and a contributing editor at Surfing magazine since the mid-2000s. Born (1976) in San Jose, California, Smith moved to Oregon with his family two years later where, at age 10, he started surfing in the chilly waters in and around Coos Bay. He earned a bachelor’s degree in intercultural studies (1998) and a master’s degree in linguistics (2001) from Southern California’s Biola University; Smith’s studies included semesters spent studying Arabic in Egypt and English at Oxford University.

Smith’s first foray into surf journalism came in 2001, when he traveled to Yemen—just after the 9/11 attack—for an Australia’s Surfing Life article. Comfortable in dangerous Third World nations, Smith spent time in Lebanon and Somalia in the early 2000s researching and writing pieces for Vice, an arts and culture magazine. He also covered the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict for the internet-based CurrentTV, an assignment that ended with Smith as a brief captive of Hezbollah.

Smith’s work for Vice caught the eye of Derek Rielly, editor-in-chief at Australia’s Stab magazine, who soon hired him as a contributing writer. Smith’s prose is clipped, packaged in rapid-fire bursts, usually in first-person perspective, always with a tongue-in-cheek earnestness. At Stab, Smith quickly earned a following for his flippant wicked-smart observations of the more urbane pro tour party scene. He loved provocation, and drew attention and a bit of ire as the editor of Stab’s December, 2008 “Fascism Issue.” He gained further notoriety in 2009 for an ugly public dust-up with two-time world champion Mick Fanning, during which Fanning reportedly called Smith a “fucking Jew” for “writing shit” about him, and threatened to punch Smith in the face.

Smith’s work at Surfing is generally more subdued than what he’d done for Stab, though still with a critical spotlight pointed straight at surf culture, particularly in his regular “Baby, Take it Off!” column. In 2012, Smith also began publishing articles in Surfer’s Journal; the following year he had his first feature published in Playboy.

Smith’s first book, Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, a surf-based cultural peek at the North Shore of Oahu, is due out in late 2013.

About the Author from Encyclopedia of Surfing by Matt Warshaw. Smith, Chas

The book description is from Amazon.  Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing

This is a very odd day, week, couple of weeks – It’s been filled with The Beatles

Tune InSomehow I ended up with 2 books about The Beatles that were being published on the same day. Since I always try to put my review up on the day that a book is published, that meant that both books had to be read and reviewed at the same time. Tune In  (A Review of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 by Mark Lewisohn) was a very long, very detailed account of the lives of all the major players in the leading up to and the forming of the band that would become The Beatles.

Beatles vs. StonesThe other book, Beatles vs. Stones, (A Review of Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian) is a much shorter book that compares the two main combatants in the “British Invasion” of the early 1960s. It made for a crazy couple of weeks, even though it was fun.

 

rubber-soul-cover-final-hartterI also have had the privilege of reading a fictional account of The Beatles, Rubber Soul (A Review of Rubber Soul by Greg Kihn)

and a short look at the events surrounding the recording and release of The Beatles’ first single,

Love Me Do by Bill Harry
Love Me Do by Bill Harry

Love Me Do (Review of Love Me Do by Bill Harry). So I guess that even though I never considered myself a Beatles Nut, my reviews might look like it. I enjoy many different kinds of music, and have an open mind, so you may see more music orientated reviews here in the future.

A Review of Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian

Beatles vs. StonesBeatles vs. Stones

by John McMillian

Mr. McMillian states that everyone has an opinion. Who do you like, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Most people can answer that question. Mr. McMillian lets you know that the differences may be less than they appear. He gives you a look at the state of the music business in the early 60s and what both groups were doing at the time. He looks at how much news was media created and gives you some looks behind the PR. He goes on to trace The Stones as they continue to tour and record music long after The Beatles had broken up.

This is a well written and documented look at a debate that has really faded by now. It is interesting, but not terribly relevant to music fans of today. If you are drawn to this book, you will enjoy it, since it has some new information and a slightly different take on the British Invasion of the 1960s.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5. If this sounds like a book that you would like to read, you probably will enjoy it.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 29, 2013

With the sophistication of a historian, the storytelling skills of a journalist, and the passion of a fan, John McMillian explores the multifaceted relationship between the two greatest bands of our time.

In the 1960s an epic battle was waged between the two biggest bands in the world—the clean-cut, mop-topped Beatles and the badboy Rolling Stones. Both groups liked to maintain that they weren’t really “rivals”—that was just a media myth, they politely said—and yet they plainly competed for commercial success and aesthetic credibility. On both sides of the Atlantic, fans often aligned themselves with one group or the other. In Beatles vs. Stones, John McMillian gets to the truth behind the ultimate rock and roll debate.

Painting an eye-opening portrait of a generation dragged into an ideological battle between Flower Power and New Left militance, McMillian reveals how the Beatles-Stones rivalry was created by music managers intent on engineering a moneymaking empire. He describes how the Beatles were marketed as cute and amiable, when in fact they came from hardscrabble backgrounds in Liverpool. By contrast, the Stones were cast as an edgy, dangerous group, even though they mostly hailed from the chic London suburbs. For many years, writers and historians have associated the Beatles with the gauzy idealism of the “good” sixties, placing the Stones as representatives of the dangerous and nihilistic “bad” sixties. Beatles vs. Stones explodes that split, ultimately revealing unseen realities about America’s most turbulent decade through its most potent personalities and its most unforgettable music.

Product Details

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1439159696

ISBN-13: 978-1439159699

Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

Hello! I was born and raised in Michigan, and I spent my teenage years in a tiny town called Essexville. Then, like everyone else in my immediate family, I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University. It was the right choice for me. When I first started, I could not have imagined that I’d eventually want to go into academia, but I had some truly great professors at MSU, and they helped kindle some of my current interests. Later, I got a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, and from 2001-2009 I taught in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature at Harvard.

Back when I was a grad student, I co-edited a couple of books on American radicalism. I still think that’s an important and oft-overlooked topic, but truth be told, I’m not much of a radical myself. (I don’t like being ideologically pigeonholed.) My first full book, “Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media In America,” (Oxford, 2011) is a scholarly monograph, based on my Ph.D. dissertation. My latest, “Beatles Vs. Stones,” (Simon & Schuster, 2013) is a popular history. I examine the friendship and “rivalry” between the two groups, and assess how it was constructed — by fans, the media, and the groups themselves. It’s a short book, but I worked hard on it, and it was a lot of fun to write. Currently I’m an assistant professor of history at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. I love my job, and I’m excited to be getting started on a new project, on Garry Trudeau and his great comic strip, “Doonesbury.”

Thanks so much for your interest. My email address is easy to find, so please feel free to be in touch if you like. Happy reading

The book description is from Amazon. Beatles vs. Stones

A Review of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 by Mark Lewisohn

Tune InTune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1

by Mark Lewisohn

This book is part 1 of a trilogy, so it ends December 31, 1962. On this date, The Beatles have one single on the charts, but are working on an LP and the next single. Nothing has been released yet in the United States. Most of the stories in this book were new to me since I was never a huge Beatles fan. I liked their music, and bought their later albums, but never read the fanzines or joined their fan club. This is a thoroughly researched and very well written biography of The Beatles.

Mr. Lewisohn has combed though all the sources that he could find and is still asking for more. He lets you walk in each of The Beatles’ shoes. I know more about John Lennon’s childhood than I do about my own. He gives Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr the same level of detail. He also lets you really know the backstories of Stuart Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. He shows how all these people came together at the right time, with something different, something new, something that nobody expected, and burst on the music scene in 1962, after spending long, hard hours playing music in the “Red Light District” in Hamburg, sleeping in the back of a movie theater near the stinking public toilets, and playing in the overcrowded, underground Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Beatles were a hard-working band that would search though the new music from the US, looking for something new to play in their next show. They were a cover band, but with originality. This book lets you feel like you really know where they came from.

Tune In is a huge book, full of interesting stories, told by an informed author, in an authentic voice. You will have to live in this book for a while, since it is so long, but if you grew up in the 60s and have fond memories of that time, then you will enjoy spending time back there.

I give this 5 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! It is quite a commitment, but worth it.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: October 29, 2013 | Series: The Beatles: All These Years

Tune In is the first volume of All These Years—a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world’s leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record (“Love Me Do”) behind them and the next (“Please Please Me”) primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon.  This is the lesser-known Beatles story—the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.

For those who’ve never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s time to press the Reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word.

Product Details

Hardcover: 944 pages

Publisher: Crown Archetype (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1400083052

ISBN-13: 978-1400083053

Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds

About the Author

Mark Lewisohn is the acknowledged world authority on the Beatles. His books include the bestselling and influential Beatles Recording Sessions and Complete Beatles Chronicle. He has been a consultant and researcher on all aspects—TV, DVDs, CDs and book—of the Beatles’ own Anthology and has been involved in numerous additional projects for them as well as independent works like this one. Married with two children, he lives in England.

The book description is from Amazon. Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1

A Review of Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football by John U. Bacon

Fourth and Long- The Fight for the Soul of College FootballFourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football

by John U. Bacon

I enjoyed reading this book, but I live in Michigan and went to Michigan State in the late 60s, so I am a fan of college football, classic Big Ten style. If you aren’t a Big Ten fan, much of this book will probably annoy you. The main focus is from early 2012 through the end of the regular season 2012. Mr. Bacon follows four Big Ten teams, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Penn State. He gets you inside of the troubled Penn State locker room after the NCAA tried to destroy their football program. He also gets you inside information on each of the other programs.

Then Mr. Bacon takes you through the season, with emphasis on the fan experience as he travels around the league and goes to the games as a fan. This run though of the season is a lot of fun and gets you fired up for the 2013 season.

He argues that the major college football programs are being run by CEO type administrators, not for the benefit of the fans, the players, or the students, but instead, he proposes, that they are just trying to maximize income, and therefore profits, to increase their own stature in the community of sports administrators. He questions if fans will keep paying the ever-increasing costs of going to games, if they will put up with all of the demands that TV puts on the live football experience, and if they can stomach the ever-changing college conference lineups. He asks if the rivalries between teams aren’t more important than needless proliferation of post season bowl games.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a Thumbs Up. Any diehard college football fan will enjoy this book, and the arguments that Mr. Bacon makes will be a cause for concern for the future. If you hate the Big Ten, don’t bother with this, because that is the main emphasis of the book.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: September 3, 2013

Why we love the game, what is at risk, and the fight to save it.

In search of the sport’s old ideals amid the roaring flood of hypocrisy and greed, bestselling author John U. Bacon embedded himself in four programs—Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern—and captured college football’s oldest, biggest, most storied league, the Big Ten, at its tipping point. He sat in as coaches dissected game film, he ate dinner at training tables, and he listened in locker rooms. He talked with tailgating fans and college presidents, and he spent months in the company of the gifted young athletes who play the game.

None of Bacon’s discoveries is more poignant than this: the last, true defenders of the student-athlete ideal are the players themselves, who, even as money changes everything around them, are left to carry the future of the league, the game, and more than a century of tradition on their backs every fall Saturday.

Fourth and Long reveals intimate scenes behind closed doors, from a team’s angry face-off with their athletic director to a defensive lineman acing his master’s exams in theoretical math. It captures the private moment when coach Urban Meyer earned the devotion of Ohio State’s Buckeyes on their way to a perfect season. It shows Michigan’s athletic department endangering the very traditions that distinguish the college game from all others. And it recreates the euphoria of the Northwestern Wildcats winning their first bowl game in decades, even as they do honor to the student-athlete ideal.

Most unforgettably, Fourth and Long finds what the national media missed in the ugly aftermath of Penn State’s tragic scandal: the unheralded story of players who joined forces with Coach Bill O’Brien to save the university’s treasured program—and with it, a piece of the game’s soul.

This is the work of a writer in love with an old game—a game he sees at the precipice. Bacon’s deep knowledge of sports history and his sensitivity to the tribal subcultures of the college game power this elegy to a beloved and endangered American institution.

Product Details

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 3, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1476706433

ISBN-13: 978-1476706436

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

About the Author

John U. Bacon has worked the better part of two decades as a writer, a public speaker, and a college instructor, winning awards for all three.

He is the author or coauthor of six books on sports and business, including “Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership” (2007), which became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller, and “Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football” (2011), which debuted at #6 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

He co-hosts two weekly radio shows on WTKA.com (1050 AM, Ann Arbor-Detroit), and provides weekly sports commentary for Michigan Radio (Ann Arbor, Flint and Grand Rapids), and frequently contributes to documentaries on HBO, ESPN and the Big Ten Network.

Bacon has been sought out to give speeches for financial companies such as Merrill Lynch and Ameriprise, auto manufacturers like Chrysler and Subaru, and international corporations like Microsoft Brazil and Copersucar, from Taipei to Toledo, and Seattle to Sao Palo. In 2011 the Michigan chapter of Meeting Planners International (MPI) named him Speaker of the Year. He also teaches at Northwesterns’ Medill School of Journalism, and the University of Michigan, where he won the Golden Apple Award in 2009. in 2006, he was inducted into the Ann Arbor Huron High School Hall of Fame for helping to lead the hockey team from the worst in school history to the best in three seasons.

Bacon is a decent hockey player, a mediocre Spanish speaker and a poor piano player, but that has not prevented him from enjoying all three.

The book description is from Amazon. Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football