Author:Scott Meze, Paul O Jenkins, Matt Karpe
I am partial to a bit of Soft Machine when I’m in the right mood. Their Open Doors album earlier this year demonstrated that the passing years haven’t dimmed their light in the slightest. This very readable book takes the reader right back to their earliest incarnation featuring Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt, before trawling through all their releases for the next forty five years. Along the way the author examines the frequent comings and goings in the line up, as he guides the reader through the maze of releases, song by song. The band are certainly something of an acquired taste, but I think there’s no doubt they were at their best in their 1970’s heyday where they were on a winning run of top grade material, a heady mixture of prog, freeform jazz and seemingly whatever else took their fancy. Well researched and complied, this work is certainly worth checking out if you’re a fan as it covers not only the extensive studio and live catalogue, but also the various off shoots, side projects and extracurricular activities of current and former band members.
I confess my knowledge of Ralph McTell is pretty much limited to the timeless Streets of London, a song that must provide a nice pension plan for the composer. The book features a short introduction by the man himself, and examines in depth his back catalogue of no fewer than sixteen albums plus a further seven albums of covers not to mention a handful of live recordings. Dipping in and out while reading this, it’s music that’s easy enough on the ear but that doesn’t really grab me. Nevertheless, with over three hundred compositions to his name and still going strong after fifty years he’s obviously doing something right, and fans will no doubt find plenty to enjoy within these pages
My Smashing Pumpkins listening has really always been pretty much confined to the Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and to a lesser extent Siamese Dream, albums. I always found front man Billy Corgan a bit of an irritating and rather pretentious character, which put me off exploring further. During the decade under consideration, there were half a dozen studio albums, which is not a bad work rate especially when supplemented by standalone singles and movie soundtrack work. As well as the track by track breakdown of the albums, the book doubles as a detailed biography of the band who at their peak were one of the biggest outfits of the nineties., and if you’re a fan then this is worth looking out for.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Listening while reading.
One thing you’ve learned
Although these books are written by hard core fans of the artists, they do also provide a good introduction for newcomers.