Monday, November 26, 2018

Rock 'n' Roll Reads: Open Up These Essential Titles

Gift-minded music volumes focused on Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Zombies and Excello Records make their mark on the printed page.  

Title: Queen: Album by Album
Author: Martin Popoff
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Tell me more: With the commercial success of the 2018 motion picture "Bohemian Rhapsody" there has been an explosive interest in the music of the British rock quartet Queen. The release of author Martin Popoff's Queen: Album by Album is an inviting place for both casual and long-time fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band to learn more about the enduring work of Freddie Mercury (vocals, keyboards), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass) and Roger Taylor (percussion, vocals).  When readers get the beautiful 224-page Queen: Album by Album they are getting the insight of renowned rock journalist Popoff along with the perspective of a number of knowledgeable music notables including Sir Paul McCartney, Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Roger Manning, Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck), Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant) and many more who add their impressions and expertise on the band's first 15 albums (this includes all Queen LPs released during Mercury's lifetime and Made In Heaven released four years after his death). In addition to a full examination of each of the Queen albums the fully-illustrated book features live performance and behind-the-scenes photography along with a wealth of Queen ephemera like tickets and posters. Information:

Title: Bruce Springsteen: An Illustrated Biography
Author: Meredith Ochs
Publisher: Becker&Mayer! books
Tell me more: The beautiful hardcover Bruce Springsteen: An Illustrated Biography spans 182 pages and includes a myriad of images of the New Jersey rocker spanning his 50-year career. While the wealth of dynamic color and black & white images and 10 pieces of removable memorabilia (including Bruce Springsteen's draft card that saved him from being shipped off to Vietnam) will catch any fan's eye, author Meredith Ochs' wonderful writing style capturing the depth and range of Springsteen's singular career as recording artist and performer is equally essential. The volume offers all the high marks of Springsteen's distinguished career including and up to his recent "Springsteen on Broadway" series of performances in New York City. Information:

Title: Dreaming of Dylan: 115 Dreams About Bob
Author: Created, collected & edited by Mary Lee Kortes
Publisher: BMG Books
Tell me more: Isn't it appropriate that one of the most interesting and original music-minded book titles of 2018 is focused on Bob Dylan? Dreaming of Dylan: 115 Dreams About Bob will appeal to not only fans of Robert Allen Zimmerman but of poetry and the burgeoning field of understanding dreams. Brooklyn, New York-based author/musician Mary Lee Kortes has collected and compiled a collection of terrific writings where guests ranging from Patti Smith and Kevin Odegard to Jimbo Mathus (of Squirrel Nut Zippers fame) and everyday fans of Dylan have contributed their slumber time-gathered remembrances alongside more than 100 original illustrations, photographs and colorful images that adorn the 160-page hardcover edition. With dreams anything is possible as evidenced by wonderful nocturnal turns where Dylan is president, can be found fishing alongside a remote lake and even serving as a band mate of one dreamer. A terrific gift for any music fan. Information:

Title: Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story
Author: Randy Fox
Publisher: BMG Books
Tell me more: Part of BMG Books' newly-launched "RPM Series," Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story is artfully-sized at 7"x7" to mimic the classic dimensions of a 45 rpm record. The 200-page title delves into the history and influence of the groundbreaking record label Excello Records and its sister Nashboro label (the other initial volume in the series The Sub Pop Records Story offers a glimpse into the Seattle-based Sub Pop Records). Author Randy Fox, a Nashville-based author and deejay, has researched and lovingly restored the range of behind-the-scenes players and artists whose mix of Southern rock 'n' roll, jump blues, gospel, early R&B and Cajun-flavored swamp styles emerged out of Nashville, Tennessee in the early 1950s. The parade of influential artists celebrated includes Slim Harpo, the Prisonaires, Arthur Gunter, Lightnin' Slim and Lazy Lester. There are  also 16 pages of historic black & white photos included in the wonderful paperback. Information:

Title: The "Odessey": The Zombies in Words and Images
Authors: Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Hugh Grundy, Chris White
Publisher: Reel Art Press/BMG Books
Tell me more: Although The "Odessey": The Zombies in Words and Images was published in 2017, the lavish 152-page hardcover book has received renewed attention in 2018 with the 50th anniversary of The Zombies' 1968 masterwork Odessey and Oracle. With the Zombies once again nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this amazing journey through the seminal '60s-spawned band's career is fully captured via the memories of original members Rod Argent (keyboards, vocals), Colin Blunstone (lead vocals), Hugh Grundy (percussion) and Chris White (bass guitar, vocals). Fully illustrated, the volume features plenty of photographs from throughout the troupe's 50+ year run and the original artwork of artist Terry Quirk (who completed the cover of Odessey and Oracle a half century ago) and Vivienne Boucherat (who created mixed media artwork for each song). If you hurry, you can get a copy of the incredible book signed by original members Argent and Blunstone via the group's official website. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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