Writing books is hard work. I should know. I've never written one. Because it's hard work. Why would I? Besides, music books don't make money. Unless they're about the Beatles. Then I think they make money. But who wants to write another book about those guys?
But just because I don't write books doesn't mean that I can't admire other people who do write them. I've even been asked from time to time to review books. But that would require reading them. Reading them is hard work. You see where this is going.
Anyhow, I guess the beginning of "Reading Season" is upon us because all kinds of shiny new books have hit the shelves and everyone probably has a special someone they're going to have to buy a gift for come holiday season, so why not list the ones with the best titles and consider ourselves done?
20,000 Roads: The Ballad Of Gram Parsons And His Cosmic American Music by David N. Meyer: Another book with a long title. This one calls itself a ballad, but then it also calls the music country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons made "Cosmic American Music." And while "cosmic" may be something Parsons thought he was doing, it wasn't. His music was rooted in the roots in the ground not in space. Nowadays entire magazines and music scenes are devoted to this guy. And now, apparently, a new bio ever few years.
To Live's To Fly: The Ballad Of The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt by John Kruth: Another country-rock songwriter, another damn "Ballad" of a life. Well, it's consistent. Van Zandt was a guy who spent a lot of time being depressed and when he wasn't depressed he recorded the same six or seven songs onto nearly every record he made. Then when that well ran dry, he recorded live albums where he sang the same six or seven songs usually with a few covers thrown in for padding and good measure. Hey, if it was good enough for Nico and Johnny Thunders, why not this guy?