Year of the Monkey – Patti Smith

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith
Penguin Random House

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, a profound, beautifully realized memoir in which dreams and reality are vividly woven into a tapestry of one trans-formative year. This book is due to be released on September 24th, 2019.

Following a run of New Year’s concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. Unfettered by logic or time, she draws us into her private wonderland with no design, yet heeding signs–including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger’s words, “Anything is possible: after all, it’s the Year of the Monkey.” For Smith–inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing–the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life’s gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America. 

Smith melds the western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking us from California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places, this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment set in. But as Smith heads toward a new decade in her own life, she offers this balm to the reader: her wisdom, wit, gimlet eye, and above all, a rugged hope for a better world. 

Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith’s signature Polaroids, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work, a touchstone for our turbulent times.

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Sir George Martin – The Fifth Beatle

I’ve conducted research on The Beatles for a Teach Rock lecture I am building. I keep uncovering books from authoritative authors. It’s amazing what I have unearthed thus far and what remains to be discovered.

A key vantage point about the lads is a two-volume series about the influential Fifth Beatle, Sir George Martin by Kenneth Womack.

Kenneth Womack is a world-renowned authority on the Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. His latest book project involves a two-volume, full-length biography devoted to famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin. The first book in the series is entitled Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Early Years, 1926-1966). The second volume, Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Later Years, 1966-2016), is to be released tomorrow September 4th.

The first book of a two-part series, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records during the 1950s, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy and spoken-word recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace. As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft many number-one hits along the group’s progress towards The Ed Sullivan Show and such landmark songs as “Yesterday” and “In My Life”—Beatles tunes that bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.

As Martin and the Beatles create one landmark album after another, including such masterworks as Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (The White Album), and Abbey Road, the internal stakes and interpersonal challenges become ever greater. During his post-Beatles years, Martin attempts to discover new vistas of sound recording with a host of acts, including Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Eventually, all roads lead Martin back to the Beatles, as the group seeks out new ways to memorialize their achievement under the supervision of the man who came to be known as Sir George. Now, more than 50 years later, Martin’s singular stamp remains on popular music as successive generations discover the magic of the Beatles.

Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography By Andrea Warner

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The Buffy Sainte-Marie authorized biography will be released on September 25, 2018. It’s a powerful, intimate look at the life of a beloved folk icon and activist.

The Saskatchewan-born Cree singer-songwriter “has made her voice heard through her music, art, and activism, establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan,” according to publisher Greystone Books.

“But Sainte-Marie is so much more than a musician; she is also an entrepreneur, a pioneer in digital art, and an important cultural activist who has worked tirelessly advocating for and protecting Indigenous rights and freedoms.”

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“Warner’s book draws decades of incredible, world-changing accomplishments together to make an irrefutable case for Sainte-Marie’s place among the rock n’ roll and songwriting greats.” Tanya Tagaq – Experimental vocalist, and artist

Buffy Sainte Marie

Andrea Warner is a writer, critic, broadcaster, and Podcaster focusing on music, arts, pop culture, and feminism. She’s also the author of the acclaimed 2015 book, We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ’90s and Changed Canadian Music (Eternal Cavalier Press). Andrea is an associate producer at CBC Music and co-hosts the weekly podcast, Pop This!.

Andrea has also written An Essential Guide to Buffy Sainte-Marie for those who want to discover the gems in Buffy’s 20 album catalog prior to obtaining her book.

Pre-orders for the book may be placed:

1) In Canada at your local bookstoreAmazon, or Indigo.
2) In the USA, at your local bookstore/IndieboundAmazon, or Barnes & Noble

100 Best Selling Albums of the 70s – Hamish Champ

The 70s were an incredible period that produced many foundation music recordings. Hamish Champ has captured this explosive decade in a new book, 100 Best Selling Albums of the 70s.

I own 75% of the recordings listed in my collection. It was an exciting era where music sold in tonnage. Artists achieved multi-platinum sales (Platinum = 1 million albums sold). Arena rock became the new concert experience (the reason rock impresario Bill Graham closed his Fillmore East and West venues).

100 Best-selling Albums of the 70s

 

 

 

 

Grace: The Jeff Buckley Story!

I want to share the news about an exciting music book that will be available next year on April 23, 2019, Grace: The Jeff Buckley Story!  A graphic novel authored by Tiffanie DeBartolo with art by Pascal Dizin and Lisa Reist, First Second Books publisher.

I find the cover mesmerizing that Lisa colored and Pascal drew. The image is magically alluring and will entice readers to its pages. You can see more of their graphic art here.

Grace

Pascal and Lisa are partners who attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City (Class of 2008) and became friends with our son who is a graphics designer. It’s rewarding to see the book they worked on faithfully for nine years reach the publication stage. Pascal and Lisa were successful in securing the trust of Mary Guibert, Jeff Buckley’s mother and guardian of his estate. Mary was very hands-on in the creation of this book, so the authors had access to a terrific source of information about him.

Tiffanie DeBartolo is a novelist, filmmaker, and founder/CEO of independent record label Bright Antenna Records. The home to such artists as The Wombats, Mona, Flagship, Beware of Darkness, Middle Class Rut, Reuben Hollebon, and Cheerleader. Tiffanie authored the text for the Grace graphic novel.

I intend to write more about the book as time progresses and the publicity campaign is unveiled.

Right now I bide my time until there is an autographed hardcover edition sitting on my music library shelf, right Pascal and Lisa 😉

Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown

One of my favorite music authors is Robert Gordon. He just released his latest book , Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown with Bloomsbury Publishing.

Memphis Rent Party

“Robert’s feel for his subject is very similar to the subjects’ feel for their music. Blues, being the wellspring of all American music for over a century, is always worth studying. Robert does it right.” –  Keith Richards

Give it a glance. Robert Gordon, a Memphis native citizen has been writing about Memphis music and history for thirty years.

If you plan to be in LA on April 26th, this related event may be of interest to you.
https://www.grammymuseum.org/events/detail/memphis-rent-party/

The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl By Jenna Miles

A more focused vinyl experience is my New Year’s resolution.

I have been conducting research how to increase the aesthetics of vinyl audio listening. I’d like to share a book I have found invaluable in that context,  The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl  by Jenna Miles.

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The author, Jenna Miles is a subject matter authority on vinyl collecting and selling. She is the President and co-Founder of SRC Vinyl, a company specializing in vinyl records. In addition she is the co-owner of Vinyl Collective, an online vinyl news site and community with more than 20,000 registered users.

Jenna Miles shares her vast vinyl expertise with the reader in an easy discernible manner. I considered myself a knowledgeable person in vinyl audio until I consumed the pages of her guide. I was further enlightened by the many in-depth vinyl resources that populate her chapters. Her writing method is suited to crate digging for that vinyl treasure you are always search for in life.

Jenna’s keen sense of customer satisfaction, coupled with her thoroughness makes this an essential read for the vinyl connoisseur.

Two Thumbs Up!

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Patti Smith – Mark My Words – Hartford, CT

Thursday night we attended Patti Smith in Conversation: A Mark My Words Event. The event was held at the Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford, Ct. presented by  The Mark Twain House & Museum.

I constantly revel in the connections that formulate with Patti Smith, most notably historic and literary contemporaries.

The first parallel I drew was two famous authors connecting on one stage in front of 700 people, Patti Smith and Mark Twain.

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The Immanuel Congregational Church is a magnificent edifice. I found myself in awe of the mosaic above the altar that depicts the parable of “The Sower.”

I serve as a lector in my church and have read this parable during mass readings. It is especially meaningful as our son’s name is Matthew. The second parallel drawn. 🙂

From Matthew 13.4 (NRSV):
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen”

From Matthew 13.18 (NRSV):
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this the one who hears the word, but the cares for the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

Colin McEnroe was the interviewer,  a radio personality with a daily WNPR show, The Colin McEnroe Show. He is a weekly columnist/blogger for The Hartford Courant and a contributing editor at Men’s Health.

The event was recorded for Connecticut Public Radio. Colin McEnroe estimated the podcast to be available in November or December.

Patti took a special interest in the Tiffany mosaic. She shared that the mosaic is made entirely of glass and that it reminded her of Johnny Appleseed sowing seeds for mankind.

I reflected on Patti Smith sowing the seeds of creative consciousness in our midst.

I liked the nature of the third connection. Patti was asked her thoughts were of her friend Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. You could sense her joy and satisfaction. She stated Dylan deserved the accolade by mentioning such songs as “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland” and “Desolation Row”. Her special connection with Bob Dylan was heartfelt. For me this was the third parallel drawn.

Patti Smith has revealed songs by Bob Dylan that I was unaware of. She gives them special purpose as a poetess and singer/songwriter. She has a talented ear for the power and the beauty of his work. I found this to be the case on her album Twelve when she covered  “Changing of the Guard” from Bob Dylan’s Street Legal.

But what I really love is the song, “Dark Eyes” from Dylan’s Empire Burlesque. It is one of those gems that gleams more brightly via her duet with Bob Dylan on Patti Smith’s comeback tour in 1995.

The fourth parallel drawn was through her longtime admiration for William Blake. She took up her guitar and performed, “My Blakean Year” for us. I always feel William Blake through Patti.

Once again an auspicious evening of spiritual connection with Patti Smith in a pastoral setting.

i am Brian Wilson a memoir

Brian Wilson’s musical genius sustainability are his and our remarkable treasures. His new memoir takes us into his creative muse. Isn’t that what we want to learn about Brian’s talent? The thought process behind such great classics as “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows”.

I Am Brian Wilson,  written by Brian Wilson with music journalist Ben Greenman will be available on October 11th from Da Capo Press.

I Am Brian Wilson is the story of Brian Wilson’s life, told by Brian Wilson. But he’s not the same man who had a nervous breakdown on an airplane in 1964 or the one who ballooned to 300 pounds and couldn’t get out of bed in the 1970s. This Brian Wilson is older, calmer, filled with perspective regarding his extraordinary accomplishments and forgiveness for the people who complicated those accomplishments, and his life. Wiser, more measured, though still possessed of the youthful spark that helped him rise to the top of the rock and roll world, Wilson relates his life with a level of emotional honesty that has eluded authors of scores of previous works on Brian and The Beach Boys: “Telling my story honestly means remembering things I sometimes prefer to forget. I would like people to get to know what I’ve gone through, and I hope that my story will give them strength.”

Born to Run: Bruce Springsteen

You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that Bruce Springsteen has a new autobiography, Born to Run and a companion recording, “Chapter and Verse”.

Bruce Springsteen is our American music living legend. He has one of the strongest and most committed fan  bases in music today.

He is presently on a book promotion tour. Yesterday he sat down with Eddy Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at the Apple SoHo Store for a 45 minute interview. Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music top executive and the producer of Springsteen’s Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town albums was in also in attendance.

I find it interesting that Eddy Cue chose Facebook Live as the medium for the Webcast. I thinking Eddy Cue would have preferred to utilize Apple’s network (Beats 1) but they don’t have that capability yet. (Outsource vs. insource)

Here is the video link from last night’s interview. Enjoy.