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Five Current Music Books Worth Considering

List Of The Day

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?

Eye Mind: The Saga Of Roky Erickson And The 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers Of Psychedelic Sound by Paul Drummond: With a title that long it has to be good. And it's a "Saga," which means at least a three-part TV movie. The book has lots of words, some pictures and stars a guy who got busted for drug possession and ended up pleading insanity and going to an insane asylum where he picked up bad mental habits that made his insanity plea a wish-fulfilling moment to forever cherish.

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.

The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History by Jim Walsh: Slightly shorter title and an "Oral History" to boot. Which means the author had to do a lot of tape transcribing and a lot less actual writing. Which is great if you can figure out on your own who's lying and who's just insane. In the Replacements' case, it probably doesn't matter much, since the band was always best as a drunken shambles. Facts are for losers!

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?

Classic Rock Drummers by Ken Micallef and Donnie Marshall: First there was The Bible, the greatest story ever told. Then there was Jaws, the next best story ever told. Now, comes Classic Rock Drummers by Ken "Hey, doesn't he work here?" Micallef and Donnie Marshall, which may be the next to the next best story ever told. Granted, I know Ken personally. We both belong to a secret society that meets on Wednesday evenings in the basement of our local church. But that has absolutely no bearing on the greatness of his new book. I mean, it's so new! Buy two. He needs the money.

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