Sometimes you want a book just to be an easy read; a fun read – you’re not in the mood for heavy meaning or messages. But sometimes, you get one of those books where it’s meant to be light but in going through the pages and the stories, you find there is a great deal of depth and emotion and you’re happily uplifted (and perhaps, informed, as well). Such is the case with the second book written by Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess. Cleverly titled Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco, it’s simply his own recollections of how, where and when certain albums – in their proper vinyl format, mostly – came into his life and consciousness and have subsequently stayed with him.
An undertaking of this kind is daunting. You would think it easy, but no – I tried, several years ago to do something akin to this and gave up because there was so much of “connect the dots” that I became frustrated and abandoned it altogether. But here, Mr. Burgess tells the stories as matter-of-fact as possible but instead comes up very warm and engaging with his recollections of his first encounters with these albums and who the players in this story (the ones who recommended the albums, not the actual artists) are – this book is his acknowledgement of indebtedness to them. This is a wonderfully open and emotional book, most notably with Mr. Burgess’ tribute to his bandmate, Charlatans drummer Jon Brookes, who tragically died at the age of 44 from a brain tumor – the love Mr. Burgess has for Mr. Brookes, the music they made and for music overall is touching and actually uplifting.
Among the revelations, Mr. Burgess talks about how Paul Weller (!) introduced him to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme but first tells the story of how as an 11 year old, he purchased his first single by The Jam – “David Watts”/”A Bomb In Wardour Street” – this is the pattern of the connections to the albums; his recollections of his introduction to the artists who later offered up their suggestions. Or being turned on to Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66 by Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine rhapsodizing about Pet Sounds. How can you not enjoy hearing these stories? You can’t. It’s impossible. And Mr. Burgess’ style is so un-self-conscious that it makes it one of those books you can read in a single sitting.
So do get a copy of this; read what Tim Burgess has to say about his friends’ choices – the how and why; the memory of where and when he was when he bought certain records and the feeling he still gets from these records. For those of us who love, understand, appreciate and are immersed in music, this is one of those rare moments when someone is able to say what you want to say but often can’t express. A fine, fine job done by a great singer (and a guy with good taste).
Tim Book Two: Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco is available now via Amazon U.K. (will be released in the U.S. on January 10th, 2017)