Author:Kevan Furbank/Jez Rowden/Matt Phillips
Could there be three more different artists than the latest subjects of these books, two of which I am reasonably familiar with, the other barely at all.
Gong first then….I recall buying Camembert Electrique from Virgin nearly fifty years ago, mainly because of its bargain price, around the fifty pence mark I believe. It was certainly an ear (and mind) opener, but it must have triggered something, as over the subsequent years I seem to have acquired Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and Shamal as well. Listening to them again after such a long time has been fun, and has certainly brought back some memories. I think my tastes must have moved on at that point though, as I lost track of the band for many years thereafter, only becoming reacquainted with them on 2019’s excellent The Universe Also Collapses, which I highly recommend if you’re not already familiar with it. Of course, the current line up bears no resemblance to that of the original band, only the brand name remains intact, and for me the Daevid Allen and Steve Hillage era will always be the definitive one. There’s certainly some good listening in their extensive back catalogue, but let the buyer/listener beware as not all of it is worth your time.
I confess I know little of Aimee Mann other than being vaguely aware of her name. I’ve just dipped into her albums, and to be honest her music doesn’t really excite me. That matters not one jot of course – she’s had a career spanning over forty years, written songs that have been nominated for Oscars and picked up two Grammy awards along the way, so she must be doing something right! If you are a fan then this book will be right up your street.
I must admit I do like a bit of Level 42 when I’m in the mood. They began almost as a jazz funk fusion outfit before gradually morphing into a highly successful polished pop oriented band in the eighties. I’m particularly fond of their early albums encompassing songs such as the mighty Love Games, The Chinese Way, Hot Water and the like – coincidentally an excellent ten cd box set has just been released comprising their first five albums plus a further five cds of bonus material. I suppose they are best known to the casual listener for their big singles from the ‘second part’ of their career, Lessons in Love, Running in the Family, Something About You, etc. All their best material combines Mark King’s virtuoso bass playing with a great pop sensibility and an ear for a catchy tune. They rather faded away after a few line up changes, although they are still very much a going concern on the live circuit.
All three of these books are well researched and put together, and it’s obvious the authors are big fans of the artists concerned, no doubt writing these as something of a labour of love. If you’re a fan too, do check them out.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
These books are aimed squarely at fans and aren’t really intended to attract or appeal to the casual listener or reader.
One thing you’ve learned
Want to while away those long lockdown hours, then get a good bottle of wine on the go, fire up Spotify and settle down with one of these books on your knee.