Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Words & Music



That's what RR is all about, really. One of my current pleasures is to read a book while listening to music relevant to that book. This works easiest, of course, with books about music. There are even books that have a companion CD, like the one illustrated, Barney Hoskyn's well researched book about the LA music scene circa 1970. (There was even a music CD with The Robert Crumb Handbook, but that's another story). Reading Jimmy McDonough's excellent authorised (but then unauthorised) biog of Neil Young ('Shakey'), I listened to every one of his albums, even the excrable Trans. Dylan's brilliant autobiog Chronicles, was accompanied on my 'phones by much of his oeuvre, especially Oh Mercy, the making of which - with producer & sometime accompanist Daniel Lanois - is described in detail. Most recently I island hopped the Caribbean reading Barney's 'Beneath the Diamond Sky', about the hippie era in SF - a good excuse to dig out everything from Quicksilver to Butterfield, by way of the Dead, the Airplane & Big Brother, all of whom I saw perform at the Fillmore etc while living in SF in '68.
Anyone else do this listen & read thing? Any hot recommendations?

P.S. Bonus points for remembering which song 'beneath the diamond sky' is from
P.P.S. Talking of trains, which we were, what is this rock star fascination with model railways (Phil Collins, Eric Clapton & Rod Stewart, to mention a few)? Neil Young even bought a model train manufacturer! (tho' he would claim that was because of his son, but that's what they all say!)

11 comments:

treefrogdemon said...

OK I give up - what's the story with the CD for Robert Crumb?

Mnemonic said...

Re R Crumb. I bought the book a few weeks ago and was delighted when the CD fell out of the back.

As for recommended listening, try The Minutemen "Double Nickels on the Dime" when reading "Our Band Could Be Your Life" by Michael Azerrad.

goneforeign said...

GHE: I'll look out for that Hoskyn's book, I was there and lived through the music scene. I did the same thing with Chronicles, listening and reading, even getting all the various recorded versions of Blood on the Tracks, I like to listen to the different versions consecutively. Similarly I've read a lot of what's been written about BMW and always enjoy the music at the same time. I was involved with Quicksilver for a while around '70/71, great band. We need to get a Quicksilver thread going here.

ejaydee said...

I've mentioned this a couple of times on the mothership, but there's a "soundtrack to the book" available, although I think it was only available as an import in the UK. It's a compilation of tracks or artists mentioned in the book. Here's the playlist:

King Hearted Woman blues by Robert Johnson
Please Don't Go by John Lee Hooker
This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
Blue Yodel #1 (T Is For Texas) by Jimmie Rodgers
Cold Cold Heart by Hank Williams
Turn! Turn! Turn! by Pete Seeger
No Depression In Heaven by New Lost City Ramblers
Getaway John by Kingston Trio
I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash
Deck Of Cards by Tex Ritter
Rumble by Link Wray & The Wraymen
In A Turkish Town by Ritchie Valens
Running Scared by Roy Orbison
Jamaïca Farewell by Harry Belafonte
Take Good Care Of My Baby by Bobby Vee
Oh! Carol by Neil Sedaka
Time Is On My Side by Erma Franklin
Pirate Jenny by Nina Simone
Strange Fruit by Billie Holliday

CD2

Songs To Woody by Bob Dylan
The Water Is Wide by Fred Neil
The Last Thing On My Mind by Tom Paxton
Just Like A Woman by Richie Havens
He Was A Friend Of Mine by Dave Van Ronk
Feet First Baby by Len Chandler
Ribbon Bow by Karen Dalton
San Francisco Bay Blues by Ramblin' Jack Elliott
I'll Fly Away by Carolyn Hester (With Bob Dylan)
Let Me Die In My Footsteps by Bob Dylan
Blowin' In The Wind by Peter, Paul & Mary
Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds
It Ain't Me Babe by The Turtles
All I Really Want To Do by Cher
Highway 61 Revisited by Johnny Winter
Positively 4th Street by Bob Dylan
If Dogs Run Free by Bob Dylan
Went To See The Gypsy by Al Kooper
The Devil Went Down To Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band
With God On Our Side by Neville Brothers
Man In The Long Black Coat by Bob Dylan
Dignity (Demo) by Bob Dylan

ShivSidecar said...

glasshalfempty, try Richie Unterberger's books - two of which have "built-in" CDs: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spacemen-Wayfaring-Strangers-Richie-Unterberger/dp/0879306165/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201114624&sr=1-4 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Legends-Rock-Roll-Richie-Unterberger/dp/0879305347/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201114773&sr=1-2 - plus 2 more books on '60s folk-rock. Unterberger is a drier, more dispassionate writer than Barney Hoskyns, but he doesn't half have some fascinating stories to tell.

glasshalfempty said...

Stone me, EJD, I wish I'd known that before...thanks

Mnemonic said...

Memory kicked in, it's Mr Tambourine Man and I claim my mollusc (oops, wrong post)

Frogprincess said...

Lovely post. Set me instantly thinking about one of my favourite books and the music to go with it. I started reading Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' which, if you've read it, you'll know is utterly haunting. At the time I was listening to the French group, Jack the Ripper, and their album 'Ladies First'. The first track, 'From my veins to the sea' could have been written from the point of view of the main male character of the novel. Stunning correlation. I'll post a deezer player for Jack The Ripper with that song. If you've read the book, you'll see what I mean.

glasshalfempty said...

@mnemonic - bang on, well done. Mollusc is in the post. Snail mail, of course.

glasshalfempty said...

@treefrogdemon
Sorry, I meant to answer your question about R Crumb, but forgot - hope you are on Blimpys email alert system, and get this belated reply. Well, 'it's another story' because the Crumb Handbook isn't a book to read while listening to matching music in the normal sense, but Crumb himself has played the banjo in a lot of homespun bands, such as R Crumb & his Cheap Suit Serenaders ( a bit like Woody Allen playing clarinet in NYC clubs). So he included a sampler in the book. And, amazingly, he played with Fabienne DONDard in the band "Les Primitifs du Futur"!

treefrogdemon said...

Thanks, glasshalf...yes, I do get the emails (never had so many in my life!).

Well, I've been a fan of RC's cartoons for ages but never realised about the music bit. So thanks!