All posts filed under: Books


BOOK REVIEW: Casey Harison, “Feed Back: The Who And Their Generation”

The first rock bio I ever bought was in 1979, when I was 14.  It was about The Who, Headliners by John Swenson, as I had just become a devotee of the band.  The book had a huge impact on me as it was the first time I had a jumping-off point for a band I was obsessed with.  It made me want to know more – everything – about a band I absolutely loved.  Over the years, that passion for books about bands I have an appreciation for has grown.  But no matter how many things I read about The Who, it always finds a particular place in my being, since I consider The Who my reason for being in music to begin with.  I loved and revered The Beatles, but The Who made me buy and learn guitar; Townshend made me become a songwriter and their background inspired me to be a Mod. Now comes along this new study – for that’s what it is – by Casey Harison, a professor of history …


BOOK REVIEW: Heather Augustyn, “Songbirds: Pioneering Women In Jamaican Music”

I was fortunate enough to receive and read Heather Augustyn’s last two books; one on the history of ska and the other, a painstakingly researched biography of the late Jamaican trombonist, Don Drummond.  Both were thoroughly enjoyable reads; both gave me a knowledge that I didn’t have before.  Which is the sign of a good author and historian. Once again, Ms. Augustyn has, without question, hit it out of the park with her latest work, Songbirds: Pioneering Women In Jamaican Music.  It is clear that Heather Augustyn has a tremendous, deep love and respect for the music she writes about as she manages to research, in the finest detail, the stories of women who helped to shape and develop Jamaican music over the last five decades, but aside from perhaps two or three, have never had their names known outside the island nation.  Yes, there is a lengthy piece on Millie Small and a fair amount on Althea and Donna and The I-Threes, but the meat is in the stories of Enid Cumberland, Cherry Green, …

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Since I didn’t do this last year, I’m throwing my hat in with every one of the fine folks here at Popdose as 2014 was one of the most interesting, diverse and fruitful years – especially musically.  So rather than pontificate on the “why”, etc., I’m going to jump right in with both feet and revisit some of the music, et al., that stood out for me from January to now…: Albums by “new(er)” artists: LITTLE CHIEF:  Lion’s Den This wonderful, solid piece of work is the debut album from a recently-formed band out of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  I was immediately drawn into its warm, almost-understated production; the sharp on-pointness of the harmonies and the lushness of the arrangements.  Rarely have I ever been so moved immediately but Lion’s Den has lived with me from the first listen. JIMMY STEPHENS JR & THE BLUES CITY ROAD DOGS:  Road Ready The most explosive, pure rock & roll album to enter my consciousness in years.  Jimmy Stephens, Jr. is as fine a singer, songwriter, bass player (and guitarist) …