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  • Book Reviews

    by Max Ink Staff Writers


    Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon

    Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon

    Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon
    Author: Harvey Kubernik, Scott Calamar, Diltz Henry, and Lou Adler
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Sterling Press
    Posted: Nov 2009
    (18202) Page Views

    Laurel Canyon is literally a canyon in Los Angeles, and it has long been a cradle for the biggest names in rock’n'roll. Just a few who called it home include Sonny & Cher, The Doors, The Turtles, Canned Heat, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Eagles. Those artists and many more cultivated their immortal sounds in Laurel Canyon. The book Canyon of Dreams a huge tome at well over an inch thick and 4.5 pounds traces the history of the community and its enduring legacy. Taking a deeply personal approach, it uses a multiple-voice oral history based on exclusive interviews with the area’s musical elite. Interesting and often rare photos accompany the text.

    Author Harvey Kubernik, Scott Calamar, Diltz Henry, and Lou Adler Online


    Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls

    Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls

    Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls
    Author: Charles R. Cross
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: It Books
    Posted: Nov 2009
    (6062) Page Views

    Not another Led Zeppelin book! Yes indeed, yet another company has found yet another angle to put the Led Zeppelin name on the cover of a book. But wait, this one may be the coolest Zeppelin book yet. Remember pop-up books when you were a kid? Well, this is similar except that there are all kinds of little goodies hidden in enveloped pages throughout - twenty interactive and rare reproductions of historical memorabilia, including Zeppelin tickets, concert posters, old stickers, and even a CD. Author Charles R. Cross surveys Led Zeppelin’s entire career, explores their landmark contributions album by album, and includes spectacular (though not particularly unique) photographs of the group in full flight. The book is also contained with a “keepsake slipcase,” making this Led Zeppelin book a fine gift as well as a fitting tribute to the legendary band.

    Author Charles R. Cross Online
    Website


    Rock & Roll Tourist

    Rock & Roll Tourist

    Rock And Roll Tourist
    Author: Graham Forbes
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Independent Publishers Group
    Posted: Oct 2009
    (4796) Page Views

    This book is essentially an insider’s view into the underworld of touring musicians, but with a unique twist. The author hits the road not with a party in mind, but to try and beat an addiction to “hillbilly heroin.” Graham Forbes has an accident that leads to surgery and the use of prescribed pain pills. But once the prescription ends, he finds himself hooked. In an effort to leave the pills behind, the musician decides to travel the world experiencing the lifestyle of a touring performer, reporting on fellow performers, fans, and his method of getting away from his drug habit. He crosses several continents and ends up backstage to hang out with the likes of Anthrax, B. B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more. There aren’t a lot of big name acts in this book (nothing against the great B.B. King or the venerable Anthrax) but the travel tales and mishaps are brought to life nicely in this memoir with Forbes’ English wit adding extra humor at all times.

    Author Graham Forbes Online


    Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate by Brad Warner

    Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate by Brad Warner

    Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate
    Author: Brad Warner
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: New World Library
    Posted: Sep 2009
    (4949) Page Views

    Brad Warner is both a Zen master and a punk rock musician. In this book, his third to date, he walks the line between those two roles, effectively spreading the word of Buddhism to those who have an interest in rock music. But the book tells a very personal story. During a year that Warner spent giving talks and leading retreats across North America, both his mother and grandmother died, he lost his dream job, and his wife left him. In writing about how he applied the Buddha’s teachings to his own real-life suffering, Warner reveals his own shortcomings. In fact, that is a large part of the message: Zen masters aren’t perfect because none of us humans are.

    In pointing out that Buddhism isn’t some esoteric and ultimate solution, Warner presents the religion/philosophy as an exceptionally practical way to deal with whatever life dishes out. He talks about meditation as a valid response to life’s troubles and gives a lot of revealing “behind the scenes” facts about what Buddhism and specifically Buddhism in America really involves.  While Warner’s tone on occasion borders on self-serving, he ultimately comes across as sincere, and his use of humor throughout the book make it very readable.

    Author Brad Warner Online
    Website


    I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto
    Author: Dave Thompson
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Backbeat Books
    Posted: Jul 2009
    (4808) Page Views

    The title says a lot: this is a book written buy a guy who prefers “classic rock” to “EMO.” What’s great about the author’s take is that, even if you’re a fan of newer music, the humor with which the book is written allows you to still enjoy it. You may not agree with everything or anything he says, but you’ll still enjoy the reading and probably learn something along the way. Dave Thompson has penned over 100 books. That’s stunning! He is the author of the highly-acclaimed Kurt Cobain bio, Never Fade Away, as well as books on Cream, George Clinton, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more.

    In this book, Thompson writes against the forces he sees as killing rock’n'roll from the inside out. Mostly, he rails against particular bands that represent particular genres of modern music, and usually argues that, at the end of the day, it’s already been done, and done better. Among many arguments, he makes an interesting case for the ultimate audio format being the 8-Track tape as opposed to the CD or even vinyl.  While he obviously respects Nirvana, he also argues (quite hilariously) that the group owes its entire career to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” Bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Queen, and KISS are put on a pedestal. Groups like The White Stripes and Coldplay get crucified. It’s all done with a grain of salt, though, and Thompson’s writing (his style, vocabulary and knowledge of the English language) is some of the best in the business.

    Author Dave Thompson Online
    Website


    It Shined: The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

    It Shined: The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

    It Shined: The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils
    Author: Michael Supe Granda
    Review By Greg Harutunian
    Publisher: AuthorHouse
    Posted: Jan 2009
    (5313) Page Views

    From the furtive music scene, which was once located in Springfield (MO) during the 1970’s, a host of Ozark-tinged musicians in numerous bands forged their own styles of country-rock. A love of playing music and sharing the fun was always at its core.

    “The Ozarks have always been magical, not just for musicians…there’s plenty of clean air, clean water, blue skies and nice hills,” said Michael “Supe” Granda. “If that isn’t enough to inspire a musician, then I don’t know what is.”

    One of the more prominent bands to come from the Missouri milieu was the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, best-known for radio staples “Jackie blue,” and “If You want To Get to Heaven.” Granda recently completed a book about the band’s legacy. As its constant anchor through the years, his viewpoint not only covers the national “break-out” and subsequent tours including the Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago triangle, it works as a social history of the time period and the music industry’s disastrous taste for trends.

    The nearly 500-page tome, published by AuthorHouse, is a reader-friendly account of the band’s journey filled with warmly humorous anecdotes, the inside drama of riding the musical whirlwind and some of the tragic casualties with their personnel. The first-person narrative belies itself as a gracious testament to a group of musicians blazing a trail on their own merits.

    “In order to get the original manuscript under 500 pages, I had to cut out 60-70 pages of stories…I guess this has given me a head start on the sequel,” Granda said.

    Factual research and photo appropriations came through Bill Haines, a columnist and music researcher for Nashville-based SHAKE! Magazine.  Haines says, “I’m glad Supe involved me in writing his book, in my capacity of research and photo restoration…I made some suggestions to Supe about the book, the decisions were his call and I think it all turned out pretty darned good.”

    Author Michael Supe Granda Online
    Website


    Skydog: The Duane Allman Story

    Skydog: The Duane Allman Story

    Skydog: The Duane Allman Story
    Author: Randy Poe
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Backbeat Books
    Posted: Nov 2008
    (8509) Page Views

    The Allman Brothers melded rock, country, and jazz into a unique style of music. While brother and organist Greg Allman still leads the band and should certainly get some credit, it was Duane Allman that brought that vision to reality. This thorough biography of Duane Allman offers in in-depth view into the life of the legendary guitarist, including his childhood and musical awakening; his struggle in earlier, unsuccessful bands; his mastery of the slide guitar; his emergence as a successful session musician (check out his work with jazz flautist Herbie Mann); his creation of the Allman Brothers Band; and his untimely death at age 24. To be sure, the legacy of Duane Allman lives on, and this book does a great job of explaining why.

    Author Randy Poe Online
    Website


    Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

    Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

    Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)
    Author: Don Felder with Wendy Holden
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Wiley Press
    Posted: Nov 2008
    (9814) Page Views

    The eagles are one of the most successful American bands ever, and also one of the most overplayed groups on our classic rock airwaves. But what you don’t hear much about is the inner workings of the band. Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder spills the beans in this book sharing observations about tense recording sessions, trashed hotel rooms, and the ugly legalities. He shares the nice stuff, too, like the great moments on stage and the friendlier moments in the tour bus. It may not be Don Henley telling the story, but it’s a good one regardless.

    Author Don Felder with Wendy Holden Online
    Website


    Defenders Of The Faith: The Story of Judas Priest

    Defenders Of The Faith: The Story of Judas Priest

    The Story of Judas Priest: Defenders Of The Faith
    Author: Neil Daniels
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Omnibus Press
    Posted: Nov 2008
    (9896) Page Views

    This is a rather epic biography of the epic heavy metal band, Judas Priest. The book includes multiple interviews with people who surrounded the band over the years, beginning with blues-oriented beginnings through the height of their success in the eighties, past their eventual split, and onto their 2003 reunion. It’s thick not only with text, but also great picture sections. Each album is examined in detail for both artistic merit and recording details. At 320 pages, few stones are left unturned.

    Author Neil Daniels Online
    WebsiteFacebook


    Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

    Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

    Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson
    Author: Tom Graves
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Demers Books
    Posted: Nov 2008
    (12903) Page Views

    This is a small book as music biographies go, but its 124 pages are researched well. Blues musician Robert Johnson has influenced not only many blues artists to follow him, but also many rock musicians. The book tries to separate fact from legend without being clinical. Robert Johnson, legend has it, gained his guitar talent by trading his soul away to Satan at a crossroads somewhere deep in rural Mississippi. When he died at age 27 of a mysterious poisoning, many thought it was the devil returning for payment. This study of Johnson’s life debunks these myths, while emphasizing the affect he has had on modern musicians. Led Zeppelin probably owes his estate some serious cash.

    Author Tom Graves Online
    Website


    Real Moments - Bob Dylan

    Real Moments - Bob Dylan

    Real Moments - Bob Dylan 1966 - 1974
    Author: Barry Feinstein
    Review By Jeff Muendel
    Publisher: Omnibus Press
    Posted: Oct 2008
    (5715) Page Views

    Barry Feinstein is an award winning photographer who has shot over 500 album covers for artists including Dylan, George Harrison, Gram Parsons, Eric Clapton and Janis Joplin. He has also photographed many Hollywood and political figures. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Q,  Esquire, Life, Time and Newsweek magazines. His photos of Bob Dylan, though, may be his most famous.

    Dylan is a musical icon; some would say he’s overrated, others claim him is a deity. Regardless, Dylan’s image was as integral to his success as his music, and it is likely that no photographer has had greater access to Bob Dylan than Barry Feinstein. Having taken the iconic photograph that appeared on Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ album in 1963, Feinstein was invited to be the exclusive photographer on Dylan’s European tour of 1966 and a tour of the United States in 1974. The black-and-white photographs from these sessions and concerts, many previously unseen, are included in this oversized book. This is truly a tome, and though it is priced around $35, if you’re into Dylan, you’re going to want this. Many of the images show Dylan in private moments seemingly unaware that the camera is there at all.

    Author Barry Feinstein Online


    Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B

    Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B

    Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B
    Author: Devin & Cameron Lazerine
    Review By Anthony Sims
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
    Posted: May 2008
    (4930) Page Views

    The founders of Rap-Up magazine, brothers Devin and Cameron Lazerine, recently held an event in NYC to celebrate their 3 year anniversary and book release. The book titled “Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B” hit bookstores February and the brothers are considered hip-hop gods when it comes to knowing everything from A to Jay-Z. In 2006 the magazine was nominated for “Best New Consumer Publication” at the Maggie Awards and has featured artist’s such as Pharrell, T.I., Mary J. Blige and Ludacris to name a few.

    The event held on April 17 featured a performance by Teyana Taylor(Star Trak/Interscope) and Keri Hilson played the MC for the event which was held at the Adidas Originals store in NYC’s trendy SOHO neighborhood. Artist’s such as Nina Sky and Kwame came out to show love and support for the two brothers who have paid there dues and managed to build a nice niche in the world of hip-hop.

    Author Devin & Cameron Lazerine Online
    Website

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