Do You Wanna Play Some Magic?: Emerson, Lake And Palmer In Concert 1970-1979
A music teacher called Garry Freeman contacted Carl Palmer to see if he would run one of his renowned Drum Circles for hearing impaired children in Bradford. Palmer, being a good guy, kindly agreed and that was the start of a friendship between the two men (Freeman is a drummer).
As Garry says, ‘I have always been a massive ELP fan and meeting Carl inspired me to write a book about the band. Everyone said there was no way the band would cooperate, but they were perfect gentlemen of rock.’ Greg Lake gave an exclusive interview for the book; Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer provided technical information and answered queries too.
The result is a unique work, analysing over 150 ELP gigs from the 1970s, plus the 2010 comeback. Garry was at some of the UK ones, but also spent countless hours listening to more records than is healthy for a grown man (some bootlegs – after all, his other book is The Bootleg Guide) and watching DVDs from gigs in the UK, USA, German, Italy, Scandinavia, France and Spain. Not only does he discuss the shows, the songs played and between-song banter, he also sets the scene to each tour with essential background information, which is particularly fascinating for fans. Even the admission price is covered: How does 50p for a 1971 London Pavilion gig sound?
The book has two plate sections with many rare or exclusive photos, plus images within the text, making this a must-buy for ELP fans (and there are plenty of those – the band sold 40 million records after all). Those that were at the gigs will read the book to remember; those that weren’t will read it and wish they had been.
Jumpin’ in the Fire: A Life in Rock ‘n’ Roll
There are plenty of books about 1970s excess - of chauffeur-driven limos, soulless stadiums and endless supplies of cocaine. For Tyla it was mainly unreliable tour vans, smoky pubs and amphetamine sulphate, plus occasional glimpses of the promised land to keep him going. This is a fascinating autobiography of life as a musician in the 1970s.
Starting with his entry into the music business in 1970 as a jobbing songwriter for Lionel Bart, the book covers ace pub rockers Ducks Deluxe, The Tyla Gang and a solo career which earned him a gold disc in Germany, and Le Monde dubbing him ‘Un nouveau Christ’ - Tyla was huge in mainland Europe.
There are marvellous anecdotes about childhood friend and Stiff Records stablemate Nick Lowe, Michael Nesmith, AC/DC and even Clint Eastwood. It also covers Tyla's uncanny ability to pass on the main chance - he turned down an offer to join Motőrhead and declined to produce the Sex Pistols. Doh!
Tyla has reformed both Ducks Deluxe and the Tyla Gang and is touring and recording. The resurgence of interest in pub rock makes this book very timely.
Will Birch’s glowing foreword will only add to its appeal.
Nirvana: The Recording Sessions
Most books about Nirvana concentrate on Kurt Cobain’s short tragic life and suicide. This one puts Nirvana's music centre stage and traces the evolution of their songs.
Over 40 recording sessions, including private recordings, made between 1982 and 1994 are painstakingly analyzed, from Kurt Cobain’s first bedroom four-track demos and early rarities such as the legendary Fecal Matter tape all the way through to the “new” tracks including the With The Lights Out box set, Live At Reading, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Nevermind and the expanded Bleach.
The author draws on hours of interviews with those who worked on Nirvana's sessions, including engineers, producers, guest musicians and other collaborators.
When first published in hardback by Helter Skelter in 2004, Nirvana: The Recording Sessions gained a prestigious Certificate Of Merit from the American Association For Recorded Sound Collections in the category for Best Rock Research. This new paperback edition published by Soundcheck Books brings the story bang up to date and includes an updated discography in addition to the “new” recordings information.
Wayward Daughter: An Official Biography Of Eliza Carthy
Wayward Daughter: An Official Biography of Eliza Carthy is written by long-time fan and fellow fiddle player Sophie Parkes who was granted ‘access all areas’, not only to Eliza, but also to friends, family and musical collaborators.
Sophie conducted fascinating interviews with Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Jon Boden, Billy Bragg, comedian Stewart Lee, Nancy Kerr, Cerys Matthews, Van Dyke Parks, John Spiers, Richard Thompson and many more. A common thread that keeps coming through is how much musicians enjoy working with Eliza and just how good a player she really is.
The book is about the woman as much as her music though, and Sophie and Eliza developed a close relationship during interviews in which the subject felt comfortable opening up to the biographer.
Eliza has not only been incredibly generous with her time, she has also provided many photographs from her personal collection from when she was a child through to the present day. These are not only shots of her and her peers on stage, but also warm pictures of family and friends.
Eliza is renowned for having a close relationship with her fans and the ever-thorough Sophie has interviewed some of these, canvassing their views on the past, present and future of Eliza Carthy.
Mark Radcliffe kindly provided a witty foreword.
Springsteen: Saint In The City: 1949-1974
Bruce Springsteen is one of the most written about musicians of all time, so why another book? The fact is, most biographies gloss over his early life and career, which author Craig Statham believes is a serious omission, because Springsteen’s early life shaped his music.
Statham is a massive Springsteen fan and a contributor to the authoritative Brucebase website.
The list of interviewees he has secured is impressive: ex-managers Tinker West, Bob Spitz and Mike Appel; former band mates in Springsteen’s early groups, such as Jay Gibson, Craig Caprioni, Frank Marziotti, John Graham, Robbin Thompson, Barbara Dinkins, Bob Feigenbaum and Albee Tellone (who also contributed the foreword); Sam McKeith, Springsteen’s booking agent and a key figure in breaking The Boss to the American public; and a raft of characters who grew up with Springsteen in his home town of Freehold, New Jersey and beyond.
Statham, a researcher by trade, has pieced together parts of the story that have simply never been told before. All of Springsteen’s early groups, from The Rogues to The E-Street Band are discussed, his songwriting technique is studied, along with how and why Springsteen actually made it. The book ends with why he went from being the musician most at Columbia Records did not want to know, to being their hottest property.
The book looks at what drove Springsteen on a personal level – his difficult relationship with his father, his rejection of Catholicism and mainstream schooling, as well as positive influences, such as his love of baseball, girls and the British musical invasion which inspired his future career path.
With two colour plates section featuring some very rare photos (many of which have never before been published), this new book is a must for the committed Springsteen fan and those who like well researched music books.