Tag Archives: Music

A Review of Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery)

by Caroline Fardig

4.5

I had a good time reading this first book in a new series by Ms. Fardig. She knows how to tell a good story. She got me interested in what was going on right from the start. I immediately liked her main character, Juliet Langley. She is fun and fierce. She says that she has to break out the Redheaded She-Devil when she needs to get tough.

Pete Bennet is her longtime best friend and owner of the Java Jive, the coffeehouse in Nashville. She met Pete 10 years ago when she was a freshman in college. She needed a job, so she applied at Java Jive. Pete was behind the counter. His dad was the owner. They connected right away, as friends, never anything more, even though the urges may have been there. They kept it on a safe level all these years. Pete gave her the moniker of “The Redheaded She-Devil” when she found out that her college boyfriend, Danny Wright, had cheated on her with her roommate. She taught him a lesson!

I liked everything about Death Before Decaf. The characters are fun but believable. The mystery kept me guessing right up until the final chapter. And who doesn’t love a book based in a coffeehouse. I’m a nut for anything coffee related, and that is what drew me to the Java Jive seriesbut the quality of the writing kept me interested. I’m going to keep my eye out for the next book in this series, Mug Shot, scheduled for April 2016.

I give Death Before Decaf 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you like fun, light, somewhat sexy mysteries that feel very today, then you will love this new series by Caroline Fardig.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the Publisher.

Book Description

Death Before Decaf by Caroline FardigPerfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig’s captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse . . . where murder is brewing.

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

Book Details

File Size: 2866 KB
Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Alibi (November 17, 2015)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Sold by: Random House LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B00VOYNDKK
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled

About the Author

Caroline FardigCaroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

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A Review of Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Playing with Fire

by Tess Gerritsen

4.5

This book really grabbed me. I could barely do anything else. I was reading an e-book, so I had it with me on my phone. I would sneak in a couple of pages every chance that I could. I’m glad that it was such a quick read, because now my life is back to normal.

Playing with Fire has so many twists that I can’t say much about it without spoiling some of the book. It has two main Points of View. The first POV is in the present. Violinist Julia Ansdell discovers an old , hand-written piece of music. She buys it, and attempts to play it. The story takes off from there. The second POV takes place in Venice, Italy, just before the start of World War 2. You meet Lorenzo Todesco, the composer of the piece of music and learn why it exists. The two POVs are different sections in the book, so you are always aware of what is going on.

This is a very exciting book. There is a magical, nearly fantasy feel to it at the beginning. If you aren’t a fan of books based on magic or cursed items, don’t worry it doesn’t go spiraling off in that direction. Everything stays pretty realistic. But there is just a little touch of the mystical, just the right amount. It’s just a little spooky, and that’s a good thing!

I give Playing with Fire 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! The only reason it doesn’t get 5 Stars, is because I was a little disappointed in one of the final twists. I can’t say more without it being a major spoiler, but when you read it, you will probably know what I meant. But don’t let that hold you back. This is a great book, and you really should read it. I loved the stories, and how they came together. The characters were realistic and likable, and there was a message behind it all. A must read!

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Playing with Fire by Tess GerritsenA gripping standalone thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series

In a shadowy antiques shop in Rome, violinist Julia Ansdell happens upon a curious piece of music—the Incendio waltz—and is immediately entranced by its unusual composition. Full of passion, torment, and chilling beauty, and seemingly unknown to the world, the waltz, its mournful minor key, its feverish arpeggios, appear to dance with a strange life of their own. Julia is determined to master the complex work and make its melody heard.

Back home in Boston, from the moment Julia’s bow moves across the strings, drawing the waltz’s fiery notes into the air, something strange is stirred—and Julia’s world comes under threat. The music has a terrifying and inexplicable effect on her young daughter, who seems violently transformed. Convinced that the hypnotic strains of Incendio are weaving a malevolent spell, Julia sets out to discover the man and the meaning behind the score.

Her quest beckons Julia to the ancient city of Venice, where she uncovers a dark, decades-old secret involving a dangerously powerful family that will stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Book Details

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1101884347
ISBN-13: 978-1101884348
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Photo: © Paul D’Innocenzo
Photo: © Paul D’Innocenzo

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), and Last To Die (August 2012.) Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

A Review of Mojo And The American Female by SW Hammond

Mojo And The American Female

by SW Hammond

4.5

I’m really not the target audience for this book. My son or daughter may even be slightly too old to get all the movie and television references, but they would get more of them than I do. Now I can connect to the music. I always keep current, so when Mr. Hammond is commenting about the Riot Grrrl movement, I get it. But those TV shows, I never did watch “Full House”, and who is John Stamos, and why should I care? Someone thirty years younger may get more of the topical items than I do, but I still relate to the actual message that this book is trying to convey.

And another thing! The blurb about Mojo and the American Female seems to indicate that this book is a collection of short stories. I don’t think so. This is more a print version of articles that were  published on Mr. Hammond’s website. If you call something a short story, that implies that it has some sort of a plot and a character or two. Short stories also mean fiction. But these articles are more autobiographical. Mr. Hammond may have distorted the truth, but that still doesn’t make this a book of fictional short stories. He may have changed some facts to fit the story that he wanted to tell, but I think it strongly follows his own life.

And speaking of story. This book really does have an underlying message. Even a 66-year-old guy can relate. If fact, I might get more out of this story than Mr. Hammond intended. He has one section of this book where he is talking about me. He figures that the only thing I have left is to wait until I die. I’ve got him fooled! My life is everything he is looking for in this book, and more. I found my perfect mate. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. I just get to have fun and that includes spending time with my family that I love and with my children and grandchildren who love me too! I’ve got what he only wishes he could find.

But back to the book. What is it? I think that this is a collection of semi-autobiographical stories that Mr. Hammond has written over the past dozen years. He discovered that he really was growing up in these stories, and thought that his struggles might be worth reading. Well, he was right. This collection is thought-provoking. You can zip though it in one day, but take a little time to let it stew in your brain. Maybe you can hear it speak to you, like it did to me.

I give Mojo and the American Female 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! If you are ready to take a little mind trip, join in, you really might learn something about your life, while reading about his.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

MojoAndTheAmericanFemale_400x533A collection of short stories spanning more than a decade woven together to create the misguided anti-love story of a young man learning about relationships and the opposite sex through music, movies, and television.

From music and baseball industry professional Sean Hammond, comes Mojo And The American Female, a collection of provocative short stories on his life as a Lost Boy in search of Winnie Cooper.

Raised on rock n’ roll, with a particularly strong affinity for women who rock, Hammond blends an unparalleled view of pop culture and philosophy that follows him from his early twenties through his early thirties. Mojo And The American Female is rich with photography capturing Hammond’s days as a tour manager on Warped Tour and working for Sony Music Entertainment, as well as bringing to life the music, movies, and television that has plagued his rational sense of love and relationships. From childhood viewings of Full House leading to his lifelong hatred of John Stamos, his introduction to the Riot Grrrl movement and Kathleen Hanna, and to a questionable infatuation with The OC’s Summer Roberts – each story blends a reflective Kevin Arnold-like inner monolog with Wild Turkey.

Mojo and the American Female is the byproduct of one too many romantic comedies. Inspiration, enlightenment, and delusion fuel Hammond’s quest as he searches for a bit of meaning to life and someone to share it with.

Book Details

File Size: 30091 KB
Print Length: 81 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Surf Star Media (April 7, 2015)
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00VU3QMLW

About the Author

seanaboutSW Hammond is a freelance writer and fiction novelist. His contributions can be found in music zines, athletic periodicals, and technical publications throughout the world. He has worked in the music industry for Sony Music Entertainment, Warped Tour, WAR Records / United Interest, and has managed and consulted a variety of artists. He has also worked in the baseball industry for the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels / Diablo Stadium, and in the Commission’s Office of Major League Baseball.

Hammond’s writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman-esq with countless references to pop culture, especially music. His brazen and honest approach creates camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and nobility square off against a materialistic society driven by instant gratification, with Sean treading water right in the middle.

His fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories often taking place in historical settings or playing on modern headlines, Sean uses common themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though often grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on honor and virtue, or lack thereof.

A Review of Entertain Us: The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the Nineties by Craig Schuftan

Entertain Us: The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the Nineties

by Craig Schuftan

I wasn’t as engaged with Alternative Rock in the nineties as someone who was born in the seventies would have been. Many of the band names in this book were unfamiliar, but since I had the advantage of a paid membership to a streaming music service, I was able to listen to these groups and hear their music as I was reading about them.

I knew the major players such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Oasis, and Smashing Pumpkins. I had listened to many of the other groups on the radio back then, but didn’t really pay much attention to their stories. I was 41 in 1990 and had to go to work everyday. This book taught me a lot about what was happening in music back then.

Since I’m an American I knew more about the Seattle music scene than what was going on in Manchester, England. Much of the British music never made it here, and I’m sure that most of the lesser known American bands never were popular in Europe. So even if you grew up during the nineties, to really appreciate the book that Mr. Schuftan wrote, you will have to listen to some of the music that he writes about.

Entertain Us goes into depth discussing the role of Alternative Rock. Mr. Schuftan talks about grunge, and how fame affected the way that Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder thought, how they tried to make their music less accessible and therefore less popular. He talks about other movements in music, how female musicians revolted, and formed groups that pushed back against the sexist role of women in rock. How MTV used the music of everyone in rock to sell hamburgers and toothpaste. How some bands couldn’t justify the money they made, when they wanted to change the world. Then some people went the other way, and took whatever was up for grabs, and said that it was only rock and roll, not revolution. There was a lot more going on behind the music than I ever knew about,

Entertain Us is a thoroughly enjoyable book about music in the nineties. If you think that none of it will be new to you, you will be surprised, because there was such a separation of music between the US and the UK. Many bands never became popular because there was such a big difference in what was going on in music in their own countries. I can’t emphasize enough that you will have to spend the extra time and effort to listen to the music that Mr. Schuftan talks about as you are reading about it. If you don’t, you will just be reading a bunch of words that won’t make a connection in your brain. Entertain Us needs to come with a soundtrack. Maybe someone can put up a playlist on Spotify or Beats Music, so that we can more easily listen along. It would have helped a lot.

I give Entertain Us 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! If you grew up during the nineties and claim the music from that time, read this book, because you will like the trip down memory lane, and also because you will learn more about what was going on at the time. If you are older, you probably don’t know most of the back story, but unless you are a real music fan, you may not care.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

9780733328848In 1990 alternative music was where it belonged – underground. It left the business of rock stardom to rock stars. But by 1992 alternative rock had spawned a revolution in music and style that transformed youth culture and revived a moribund music industry. Five years later, alternative rock was over, leaving behind a handful of dead heroes, a few dozen masterpieces, and a lot more questions than answers. What, if anything, had the alternative revolution meant? And had it been possible – as so many of its heroes had insisted – for it to be both on MTV and under the radar? Had it used the machinery of corporate rock to destroy corporate rock? In ENtERtAIN US! Craig Schuftan takes you on a journey through the nineties – from Sonic Youth’s ‘Kool thing’ to Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’, NEVERMIND to ODELAY, Madchester to Nu-Metal, Lollapalooza to Woodstock ’99 – narrated in the voices of the decade’s most important artists. this is the story of alternative rock – the people who made it, the people who loved it, the industry that bought and sold it, and the culture that grew up in its wake – in the last decade of the twentieth century.

Book Details

Trade Paperback
ABC Books
400 pages
6.2 in W | 9.3 in H | 1.1 in T | 1.2 lb Wt
Status: Forthcoming
Announced 1st Print: 20K
On Sale Date: July 1, 2015,
Ship Date: June 11, 2015
9780733328848
0733328849
$17.99 USD, £14.99

About the Author

Muso and pop philosopher Craig Schuftan has written two previous books: CULTURE CLUB and HEY NIETZSCHE! LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE. He broadcasts his program Culture Club each week on Triple J. Last year curated The Eighties exhibition for the Powerhouse Museum. He has a fervid online following.
http://www.craigschuftan.com

A Review of A Banquet of Consequences by Jake Rohrer

A Banquet of Consequences: True Life Adventures of Sex (Not Too Much), Drugs (Plenty), Rock & Roll (of Course), and the Feds (Who Invited Them?)

by Jake Rohrer

BoCJake Rohrer has a story to tell. It’s a story dominated by prison. It starts as he is going to prison on drug charges. He has been ratted out by an associate and will have to spend his time in a Federal prison. This is how A Banquet of Consequences begins. He tells us how he was arrested and then sent to prison.

Then Banquet of Consequences switches gears. He tells about his time in high school, and how he met the founding members of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). This short period in his life has some consequences. He lives well, but when CCR ends, so does his high life. He ends up selling cocaine, which is why he ends up in jail.

Then the book jumps back further, to his childhood. Mr. Rohrer gives us some interesting glimpses into his actions and their consequences.  Consequences, as Mr. Rohrer uses it really means the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. It doesn’t mean that result is bad, just that it happened because of something that you did earlier in life. All life has actions and consequences. Everything is related. Whatever you do will catch up with you. 

This book was full of interesting stories, jail stories, music stories, drug stories, coming of age stories, stories of life and what happens as a result of his actions. He tells us that his life has been good through these stories. He sounds like someone who always has an interesting story to tell. Like one of those guys who always has a group around him, listening to his tales. He wants you to take his life as a lesson, whatever you do there will consequences. Mr. Rohrer makes a valid observation, I just don’t quite buy it.

I give this book 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. I enjoyed reading Banquet of Consequences, but I had hoped for more. I had hoped for a bit more insight into the music business, what really goes on behind the lights, but I guess that wasn’t this book. This book had a lot of interesting stories, that were told very well, and it had a message behind all the stories. Mr. Rohrer wants you to know that even though life is full of actions and consequences, you can survive and work though them, and then have the good consequences.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

On A Banquet of Consequences: “A moving story full of entertaining characters, experiences, conflicts and triumphs. Offered in a decidedly unpretentious and conversational style, the stories go well beyond the author’s association with a famous rock & roll band.” ~ William Greenleaf, Greenleaf Literary Services, Inc.

On the author’s association with Creedence Clearwater Revival: “No one has told the Creedence story as eloquently.” ~ Russ Gary, CCR recording engineer, independent TV producer (Los Angeles area)

On the business of drugs: “… [This is] beyond good. I’ve never read a clearer, more graphic account of the mechanics of the dope trade.” ~ Bruce Anderson, Editor/Publisher The Anderson Valley Advertiser

On Federal prison: “Colorful characters loom large on the page. Physical settings are vivid and detailed, and are smoothly woven into the memories, musings, and anecdotes.” ~ William Greenleaf, Greenleaf Literary Services, Inc.

From the author: “My life story (first half), at once confessional, embarrassing, and proud. Irreverent in some places, humorous in others, a little drama here and there.”

Book Details

Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Inkwater Press (September 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162901138X
ISBN-13: 978-1629011387
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

About the Author

Jake Rohrer lives with his wife in rural Upcountry Maui where they farm the land, maintain a recording studio, and administer their music label featuring the traditional music of Hawaii.

A Review of Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar by Valentina Suzukei

Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar, Legendary Throat Singer from Tuva

by Valentina Suzukei, translated by Aksai Bapa

Singing“This book is a collection of stories from Mr. Ondar’s life, compiled by his good friend Tuvan ethnomusicologist Dr. Valentina Suzukei.” (Quote from Aksai Bapa).

This book is an interesting look into life in Tuva, a small province of Russia. It is located just north of Mongolia, in central Asia. You get to follow the life of Kongar-ool from early childhood until his death at the age of 51 in 2013. You learn of the tough times he had as a youth, how he was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and how he was elected to the Tuvan Parliament, the Great Khural. During all of these events, he was becoming a well-known throat singer (khoomei). He went on to tour worldwide and he also recorded a few albums. I was able to go on iTunes and purchase one of them, “Back Tuva Future”. I listened to it as I read this book.

Most of the book was about the life of Kongar-ool, but the author also let you know that Tuvan culture was in danger of being trampled down by the central Russian bureaucrats. You got the feeling that this book was more than just a life-story of one of the most famous throat singers, it was also trying to bring the Tuvan culture to the forefront. He doesn’t want the world to forget, to allow their folk music to be obliterated by the cultural committees in Moscow. And after listening to the music and watching the videos on YouTube, I agree. This should not be allowed to happen.

Singing My Life is a collection of stories, originally written in Russian, and then translated to English, and published this August as a Kindle e-book. There are many photographs, which really add to the completeness of the book. This will teach you about the phenomenon of throat-singing, how it is done, who does it, and why it is important that it is preserved, but unless you continue on and listen to the music and view the performances, you will be missing most of the story. Once you see Kongar-ool Ondar on stage, you will understand why this book had to be written. I think this is an important book. If you want a more complete sense of our planet, and what music can do to bring us all together, you should read this book.

I give this book 4 Stars out of 5, it has some faults, but I encourage you to read it. You need to broaden your view of the world, and I think you will like it.

Some YouTube links.
3 styles of Tuvan overtone throat singing – Kongar-ool Ondar
Back TUVA Future: Ondar in Vladivostok
Kongar ol Ondar – My Tuva – Benim Tuvam (Türk Dünyası Ezgileri)

Book Description

August 31, 2014
Valentina Süzükei takes readers on a journey through the life of legendary throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar. When he came onto the scene in 1989, Ondar was one of the pioneers of Tuvan throat singing in the West. Süzükei tells stories of his childhood, his first travels abroad, his collaborations with Frank Zappa, and his work on the Genghis Blues motion picture.

Book Details

File Size: 9295 KB
Print Length: 134 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Bapalar (August 31, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00N70ZM4E
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Not Enabled
Lending: Enabled

This book was given to me by the translator, Aksai Bapa, with the knowledge that I would give it an unbiased review.

The Book Description and details are from Amazon. Singing My Life: The Story of Kongar-ool Ondar, Legendary Throat Singer from Tuva

 

 

A Review of The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs

by Greil Marcus

Once again, I am reviewing a Rock and Roll book. I get sucked in by these books because I love to listen to good old rock ‘n’ roll. Every time I do read one of these books, I have to spend more time listening to the songs and watching the videos that are discussed in the book, than I do reading the book. This time I even spent an afternoon watching the movie Cadillac Records. I still have to find the time to watch the 2007 film about Joy Division, Control. It’s on my to do list. Both of these films are featured in the book, and even though I could find some clips on YouTube, I still felt like I needed to spend the time watching the whole movie, so that I could really understand what Mr. Marcus was trying to say. By the way, I really enjoyed Cadillac Records.

Mr. Marcus calls this book The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, but really he just uses each of the songs as a springboard. In each chapter he talks about ten, twenty, or even more songs, and many of them are recorded by two or more artists. He goes into great detail about many of the songs. He describes parts of the songs, such as the way certain passages are performed by the guitarist or keyboard player, and how they manipulate the sound to create a feeling in the listener. He also goes into a lot of detail explaining the way the singer uses his voice to express emotions or just portray a feeling.

Somehow, much of the time, when I listen to the song that he is analyzing in such great detail, I don’t hear it. He makes you feel like you will be hearing something really special, but when I listen, I just hear a Rock and Roll song. Some are better than others, but my ear just can’t hear the subtleties that he is talking about. I’m not a trained musician, but I don’t feel like he is trying to target musicians with this book. He isn’t talking about the technical aspects of the performances, such as notes and chords and techniques of playing the passages, that would interest a musician. So I really think that I am his target audience.

All in all, I had fun with this book. I listened to some great music that I hadn’t heard in quite a few years, and maybe a few songs that I had never heard. I watched a lot of clips on YouTube. That was fun, too. I got to watch a great movie. But I thought that Mr. Marcus tried a little too hard. He was a bit over-the-top with his analysis of many of the songs. Sometimes his writing seemed to be nearly like stream-of-conscientiousness prose. It was a little difficult at times.

I give this book 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. If you want to spend some time reading, and then even more time listening to Rock music and watching videos and movies, then this is the book for you. You will enjoy the guided tour.

I received this book for free from NetGalley and the publisher, Yale University Press, in return for an honest review.

Book Description

The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten SongsUnlike all previous versions of rock ’n’ roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock ’n’ roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out—a new language, something new under the sun.

“Transmission” by Joy Division. “All I Could Do Was Cry” by Etta James and then Beyoncé. “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus’s hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory. Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism—and its most gifted and incisive practitioner—is destined to become an enduring classic.

 

Book Details

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Yale University Press (September 2, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0300187378

ISBN-13: 978-0300187373

Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds

 

About the Author

Greil Marcus lives in Oakland, CA. His books include “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ’n’ Roll Music” and “Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century.” With Werner Sollors he is co-editor of “A New Literary History of America.”

Book Description and Details are from Amazon.  The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs