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  • gilwilson 12:39 PM on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , rolling stones   

    “The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones” By Rich Cohen 

    26891546“The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones”
    By Rich Cohen
    Narrated by: Rich Cohen
    Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
    Published May 10th 2016 by Random House Audio

    For the longest period of my life, I was not a fan of the Rolling Stones.  I know, there are a few gasps out there, but hey, they had to grow on me, and I guess it took 50 years.  Still I can’t say I like all of their stuff.  What stands out as good Rolling Stones Music is from the “Beggar’s Banquet” album (1968) to “Tattoo You” (1981).  But that selection was only decided upon back around 2010.  Before that, at best, I would hear them but not really listen.  Once I  read Keith Richard’s autobiography, “Life,” I was very intrigued.  I became a fan, not so much as to spend half my paycheck to go see them in concert but enough to actually stop and listen to their music.  I even went out and bought a couple of their records.  (yes I listen to vinyl)

    This book brought to light a new view of the band for me.  This time I was listening to an audiobook written by an outsider.  Rich Cohen had been assigned by Rolling Stone Magazine to follow the Stones on tour in the Mid-90s and through that put together some insight into the Stones.

    While the bulk of Rich Cohen’s insight does come from the Mid-90s tour, Cohen is able to put together a very interesting history of the band.  Cohen covers all the important events, from the members meeting to form the band, to the death of Brian Jones, to Altamont, and beyond.

    Cohen narrating the audiobook is a big plus.  You get his point of view 100 percent and this makes the story much more interesting than just another rehashing of the career of a band we all know.  Even when I wasn’t a “fan” I knew much of their story.  This time around I was able to get a real feel for all the experiences.

    This book needs to be on the list of every Rock fan.

    Publisher’s Summary
    A gritty, one-of-a-kind backstage account of the world’s greatest touring band, from the opinionated music journalist who was along for the ride as a young reporter for Rolling Stone in the 1990s

    One of the Top Five Rock Biographies of the Year (San Francisco Chronicle)
    One of the Best Books of the Year (Kirkus Reviews)

    A book inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Rich Cohen’s fresh and galvanizing narrative history of the Rolling Stones begins with the fateful meeting of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on a train platform in 1961 – and goes on to span decades, with a focus on the golden run – from the albums Beggars Banquet (1968) to Exile on Main Street (1972) – when the Stones were at the height of their powers. Cohen is equally as good on the low points as the highs, and he puts his finger on the moments that not only defined the Stones as gifted musicians schooled in the blues, but as the avatars of so much in our modern culture. In the end, though, after the drugs and the girlfriends and the bitter disputes, there is the music – which will define, once and forever, why the Stones will always matter.

    “Fabulous…. The research is meticulous…. Cohen’s own interviews even yield some new Stones lore.” (The Wall Street Journal)

    “[Cohen] can catch the way a record can seem to remake the world [and] how songs make a world you can’t escape.” (Pitchfork)

    “No one can tell this story, wringing new life even from the leathery faces of mummies like the Rolling Stones, like Rich Cohen…. The book beautifully details the very meaning of rock ’n’ roll.” (New York Observer)

    “Masterful…. Hundreds of books have been written about this particular band and [Cohen’s] will rank among the very best of the bunch.” (Chicago Tribune)

    ©2016 Rich Cohen (P)2016 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 5:45 PM on May 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rolling stones   

    “Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs” by Jim Beviglia 

    Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs 26708836
    by Jim Beviglia
    Series: Counting Down
    Hardcover: 222 pages
    Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 5, 2015)

    The counting down series created by Jim Beviglia had me intrigued from the beginning. First off I’m a huge fan of music, all music, not just the Rolling Stones.  The other 2 books (so far) in the “Countdown” series by Beviglia are Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.  Having finished the Dylan book and absorbing it all in, I decided to pick this one up next, I don’t think there’s any particular order to read these and some folks may only read their favorite artists.  Being a fan of the 3 I will be reading them all, but not just because I’m a fan of the artists.

    Jim Beviglia counts down the songs in such a way as to provoke some serious thought and insightful listening.  In fact, while reading the Dylan countdown I broke out my Dylan lyrics book and would read the lyrics before reading the section on each song.  For the Dylan book it seemed more appropriate than listening to the songs since Dylan is the bard of modern lyrics.  Beviglia would talk about the multiple meanings of lyrics, the musicians involved with each song and the recording process.  This time around I had to go one step further.  I figured The Stones’ lyrics are pretty simple and didn’t need to look up the lyrics.  I was actually pretty wrong on that aspect.  What I did do is have my phone handy and searched YouTube for original videos and would listen to each song as I read the section on each of Beviglia’s top 100 Stones songs.

    This made for some pretty cool moments in which as I listened to the song and read the lyrics mentioned while reading would come through on the audio.  Now while counting down great songs by any musician is a bit of a selfish endeavor, Beviglia explains that his list is not the end all, be all, but I found I agreed on many of the songs, there were a few I would re-arrange the order, or maybe some I would drop off the list entirely, but getting the insight on musicians, writing and producing the songs was a great reward.

    Now to see what he has to say about the Boss.

    Publisher’s Summary
    No band has ever been able to demonstrate the enduring power of rock and roll quite like the Rolling Stones, who continue to enthrall, provoke, and invigorate their legions of fans more than fifty years since they began. In Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs, rock writer Jim Beviglia dares to rank the band’s finest 100 songs in descending order.

    Beviglia provides an insightful explanation about why each song deserves its place. Looking at the story behind the song and supplying a fresh take on the musical and lyrical content, he illuminates these unforgettable songs for new and diehard fans alike. Taken together, the individual entries in Counting Down the Rolling Stones tell a fascinating story of the unique personalities and incredible talents that made the Stones a band for the ages.

    Counting Down the Rolling Stones is the perfect playlist builder, whether it is for the longtime fan or the newbie just getting acquainted with the work of Mick, Keith, and the boys.

  • gilwilson 5:49 PM on February 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , bunny wailer, don't look back, , mick jagger, , peter tosh, , rolling stones, the wailers   

    Audiobook Review:“Steppin’ Razor, the Life of Peter Tosh” By John Masouri 


    Audiobook Review:“Steppin’ Razor, the Life of Peter Tosh”
    By John Masouri
    Read by Cary Hite
    Produced by Buck 50 Productions
    Published by Blackstone Audio23.8 hours

    I have been reading and listening to a slew of musician biographies and autobiographies lately and have been learning a lot about my favorite bands and musicians. This time around I listened to the audiobook version of “Steppin’ Razor…” I had heard of Peter Tosh as an original member of The Wailers and loved his version of “Don’t Look Back” with Mick Jagger, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of who, thanks to this book have come to know as the militant mystic man of Reggae.

    John Masouri has taken various accounts of the life of Peter Tosh told by those that knew him, such as fellow musicians, friends and family members. He also takes various accounts and anecdotes from music columnists, reviewers and professionals from all aspects of music. What comes about is a detailed, non-biased account of the life of Peter Tosh. How you view Tosh, whether being a militant Reggae music representative or a peaceful purveyor of the legalization of marijuana depends on what section of the book you are reading at the time. Tosh was a multi-layered man that had many deep seated beliefs in his religious views and in human rights and his music was a direct reflection of those beliefs.

    As a founding member of “The Wailers,” Peter Tosh, a self taught guitarist, he inspired the other members to pick up instruments and learn to play. Bob Marley had the voice but later, thanks to Tosh, learned to play guitar and make The Wailers the successful reggae music diplomats they are known as. Tosh’s leaving The Wailers has been attributed to his attitude toward the band’s representation of Rastafari, the religion of many reggae stars, to his change of personality after a car wreck in which he was severely injured and his girlfriend was killed. This book presents all sides of the Tosh’s departure from the Wailers and allows for the reader/listener to draw his own conclusions.

    The book also follows how Tosh’s fame received a boost by recording the Temptations’ song, “Don’t Look Back,” with Mick Jagger. Tosh seemed be be the Reggae artist which the Rolling Stones wanted to take under their wing and expose the world to the island music. Eric Clapton had recorded Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” and brought a little exposure, but Mick and Kieth (Richards) of the Rolling Stones fell in love with Reggae, especially Peter Tosh, and thought the genre deserved world attention. The problem is that Tosh had firm beliefs in the Rastafari religion that would sometimes stand in the way of his fame.

    Whether it is lighting up his spliff’s live onstage or on an airline flight from the United States, Peter Tosh was a major diplomat in the representation of legalizing “the herb.” One of his many stances which is referred to is his schpiel on the stage of the “One Love Peace Concert” in 1978, in which he lambasts the Jamaican authorities on the lack of action in the legalization of marijuana. This lead to his being arrested and beaten severely by Jamaican authorities a week later.

    Peter Tosh led a very controversial life whether being militant about human rights, pushing the legalization of marijuana, or just bringing to the public the genre of Reggae music. This book covers all of the controversy surrounding Tosh and allows for the reader/listener to draw their own conclusions.

    This audiobook was full of information and presented in a non-biased manner that made me want to discover more about Peter Tosh and Reggae in general. I do have one problem with the book and that is with the narrator, Cari Hite. Hite was able to represent all of the Jamaican subjects of the book by reading in different voices, and applying a Jamaican accent. This made the book easy to understand where the anecdote was coming from. The problem lies in that as the book progresses and other accents are needed he tries to read their voices in their accents. Most of the non-Jamaican accents are very stereotypical, especially those of the female voices. It made those segments very difficult to hear. Several times I wanted to just stop listening to the audiobook because it was discordant to the information presented. Had I not been interested in the subject matter I would have stopped listening several times in the book. Especially when famous music columnist, Lester Bangs’, segment was read with a Jamaican accent. Lester is far from Jamaican.

    I highly recommend this book, but not the audiobook format.

  • gilwilson 10:19 PM on August 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , james fox, joe hurley, , keith richards, , , , rolling stones   

    “Life” by Keith Richards & James Fox 

    by Keith Richards & James Fox
    Read by Johnny Depp, Joe Hurley & Keith Richards
    Produced by Hachette Audio (2010)
    Approx 24 hours.

    I think I may have read one of the most intriguing and entertaining autobiographies ever.  “Life,” the story of Keith Richards and his life in and out of the Rolling Stones.  The Stones were/are one of the world’s biggest bands and the stuff of rock and roll legend.  I never was a big fan of the Stones before, but after listening to this audio book I am now.  Working in radio I have played a few of their tunes and even had a couple of favorites, but I guess I never really gave them a chance.

    What has made me a fan most of all is something I found extremely surprising in this audiobook, the easy flow of the story beginning with Keith Richards’ early life and just rolling along through his life, warts and all.  Also the idea presented that Richards’ is a pretty laid back guy.  He had his ups and downs with drug addiction, which he discusses through this book, but the amazing thing is that he didn’t really have anything bad to say about anybody.  Most celebrity biographies/autobiographies, the celeb has a beef with someone or several someones.  Or there is an expose feel to a biography which has a purpose of poking at wounds.  Keith did have conflicts with people, such as Brian Jones and later with Mick Jagger and a few in between, but each time Keith presented it by always taking the blame for some of the turmoil.  He never blamed and there was no fingerpointing and there was no beef with anyone that he had to get out.  Keith simply told his story and left it at that.

    Many times throughout the book Keith turns the storytelling over to other people due to them having a different perspective, some of the other people are Marlon (his son), Bobby Keys, and just about anyone else involved in his life.

    In this book all the myths are exposed, such as did Keith get his “blood changed” to break his heroin addiction? did he really snort his father’s ashes? Was it a palm tree he fell from?  All this and more including the loves of his life.  Other than music Keith loved a few women, from Ronnie Spector to Anita Pallenberg, they’re all special and from the words he uses the reader/listener can tell he loved them deeply.

    Throughout the book Richards, of course, discusses his love of music.  From the discovery of American Blues to Island music, he incorporates it all into the music that becomes the most timeless music of all time, Rolling Stones music.  How some of the songs were written and recorded can be surprising and yet once you go back and hear the tunes it makes sense.

    The audiobook is also a bit of a Keith Richards sandwich, with Keith providing the intro and the final chapters’ narration of the book.  Johnny Depp reads for Keith’s early years, and musician Joe Hurley reads for the better part of the 70s section and Johnny Depp taking over again for the 80s and beyond.   Depp, who based his Jack Sparrow pirate character on Richards, does an awesome job reading as Richards, but Joe Hurley makes the middle section fun doing a great “slight” impersonation of Richards and the others whose voices are required.  As far as biographies go this is the best read one I’ve ever heard.

    With the book being around 24 hours of listening time, I was a bit wary of the task, but once the book started I was hooked and just couldn’t let go.  Great bit of rock and roll history with some inside stories that make the trip more fun.

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