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In January 1976, a double live album was released that changed the face of the music industry forever. “Frampton Comes Alive” was released, said its maker, as a stop-gap between studio albums, a discographical makeweight to preserve a live show that had been developing for five years. Four months later, it was #1; ten weeks later, it was still there. “Frampton Comes Alive” ultimately became the biggest selling album of the year, the most successful live album of all time. And that, says Frampton, is when everything changed. “All of a sudden, all these people saw that one record or one artist could sell that many records in one go, and they got interested in the corporate world. That’s when all the big mergers started, that’s when all of that started.”

Peter Frampton – The Ultimate Listening Guide is the story not only of this remarkable album, but also of the career that led up to it – and fought to exist in its aftermath. It traces Frampton from his earliest days with the Preachers and Moon Train, proteges of Bill Wyman; through his first taste of mega success as “the Face of 68,” fronting the Herd; his dream of joining the Small Faces and its partial fruition with Humble Pie. 

From Frampton’s Camel to the Sergeant Pepper movie; from “I’m In You” to Ringo’s All Star Band, and onto the Guitar Circus that took the live circuit by storm in 2013, and packed with exclusive interviews, including Bill Wyman, Steve Marriott, Jerry Shirley and, of course, Frampton himself, “Peter Frampton – the Ultimate Listening Guide” is the story of one of the most extraordinary careers in rock history.

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Out now! An entire herd of fun little e-books about a few of our favorite pop stars! Fire up your kindle and groove a little!

The Ultimate Listening Guide is a series of short (approx 40 page) guides to the lives, times and most crucial recordings by a wide range of artists.

Many are based around exclusive interviews featuring the artist’s own recollections and reactions to his or her unfolding career, and are packed with both personal information and key collector’s data.

All just $2.99 from Amazon/Kindle

For the past thirty years, author Dave Thompson has been a contributor to a variety of collectors publications, including Goldmine, DISCoveries, Record Collector, Spiral Scratch, Live Music Review, Big O and British Punk Collector. He is also editor of the long-running Goldmine record price guides.

Titles in this series include (click to purchase)
Eric Clapton
The Clash
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Peter Frampton (coming soon)
Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac
George Harrison
Robyn Hitchcock
Kraftwerk (coming soon)
John Lennon (coming soon)
Bob Marley & the Wailers
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
Paul McCartney & Wings (coming soon)
Joe Meek
the Mothers of Invention
Mike Oldfield
Elvis Presley
Queen (coming soon)
The Rutles (coming soon)
Status Quo
Thin Lizzy

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Image interview by Chrissie Bentley

 With close to 150 books to his name, Dave Thompson must be one of the most prolific entertainment authors around.  He is also one of the most heartfelt, layering his books with a love for (or, occasionally, hatred of) his subject that cannot help but ensnare the reader.  

Published earlier this year, his study of television’s Doctor Who, the Docto Who FAQ, almost caused certain corners of the Internet to meltdown as readers argued the merits of Thompson’s opinions, while another recent title, a biography of folk singer Steve Ashley, shines the brightest literary light imaginable upon a performer many people have never even heard of.  And demands that they remedy that situation immediately. 

Now Thompson brings us Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall, and if you think it’s going to unspool as just one more book about Pink Floyd, think again….  Once past the opening couple of chapters, they scarcely even get mentioned again until halfway through the book. 

Q: You open the book with the making of The Wall, which I’m sure will confuse some people.  Tell us why you did that.

A: I wanted to get it out of the way.  Bloody thing.  I really didn’t like it when it came out and I’ve not really changed my mind since then.  I actually preferred The Final Cut when it came out  But it’s also the lead-in to the solo career, because it almost was his first solo album.  When it came time for Floyd to make a new album, Waters gave them two concepts, The Wall and The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking.  And they chose Pros and Cons.  They changed their minds a few weeks later, but  that’s how close it came.

Also because too many books, and my own are among them, are obsessed with the music that an artist made first, charting the day-to-day doings of the sixties and seventies, then treating the rest of the career as an afterthought.  Which runs the risk of encourages readers to do the same thing.

Q: Well, for many acts, it is.   

A: Okay, that’s true.  Not many people would argue that Paul McCartney’s post-Wings career is anywhere near as enthralling as his days with the Beatles.  Or that Bowie in the Eighties and beyond tells a more intriguing story than the decade that preceded them.  A Rolling Stones book that analyzed the years since Undercover would be an even bigger drag than getting old.  There’s a reason why Keith Richards’ autobiography spends more time on his favorite recipes, than documenting the creative process of the 2000s.

Q: So how is Roger Waters different?  

A: Because… okay, he’s scarcely been prolific, but the music he’s made since he left Floyd has been a master class in maintaining both relevance and opinion, without once sidelining any of the reasons we consider those qualities to be of interest.  Again going back to why The Wall is important, in a lot of ways it was a sketchbook for concepts and imagery that he would return to and… it’s kind of like a demo for everything he would write about in the future.  Plus, if we go back to the 1980s, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and Radio K.A.O.S. were, and remain, the finest efforts released by any so-called veteran mainstream artist that whole dismal decade long.

Q: Tell us about the first time you heard Pink Floyd.

A: It was fall 1973, newly returned from the school summer holidays. One of my classmates was raving about an album he’d discovered while we were away. It was called The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, and he was so mortified by my lack of interest that he insisted on playing the whole thing there and then.

Q: You weren’t impressed?

A: I was thirteen and I was into Glam Rock.  Bowie, Bolan, Slade… wham bam thank you slam.  Pink Floyd?  Horrible, hairy… not one of them knew one end of a tube of lipgloss from the other, and listening to their endless album, I didn’t believe they had time for me.  I remember suffering through the interminable “Us and Them,” and feeling it suck all the joy from the room.  “Money” was a dour disco plod at a time when “disco” translated into anything that might make people feel like doing anything so uncool as dancing and, by the time the stylus hit “Brain Damage,” I was so dispirited that I condemned it as a pompous rewrite of David Bowie’s “Laughing Gnome,” and left the room.

Q: At which point, Bowie himself made you change your mind

A: Yeah.  The rat.  Bowie was the bee’s knees at that time.  He was really only two albums into his reign of stardom, but he was already more than a simple pop star.  He was also an arbiter of taste and, in the fifteen months since “Starman” set the children boogie-ing (in an age when fifteen months actually meant something, and wasn’t simply a moment in time that flashed by in ten minutes), he’d already bent my ears towards a wealth of music that I knew I’d be listening to for years to come.   Jacques Brel, Iggy, Lou Reed and the Velvets… Bowie had never let me down, which is all a very convoluted way of introducing my next exposure to Pink Floyd, courtesy of the album he delivered just a few weeks after my encounter with Dark Side Of The Moon.

Q: That would have been Pin Ups?

A: Right.  Pin Ups was Bowie’s tribute to the music that surrounded him as he was making his own way through the 1960s, and spending his spare time doing what every teenaged kid of the age was doing, listening to the radio and going to gigs.  Pin Ups was him reliving it all, revisiting his favorite oldies on an album of covers that demanded you investigate the originals.  Including the Pink Floyd song (“See Emily Play”), which I dimly recalled from the radio of the day, and which briefly made me wonder whether I’d misjudged my schoolfriend’s tastes.   Or maybe even my own.

I made it my goal, with that evangelical fervor that so easily overpowers a lad of that age, to pick up the originals of every track on the album.  The Who, Them, the Easybeats, the Merseys, the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds. Most were easy.  Boscombe, which is a small town on the [English] south coast where I was living at the time, was lousy with used record emporiums, and between Steptoes on the Christchurch Road, and Boscombe Electrics deeper into town, I found most of what I was searching for, either on a well-loved old single, or on a battered used LP.

Now, “See Emily Play” had been a major UK hit, and it sold a lot of copies.  But, either everyone who bought it had decided to hang onto it, or else there were other people bent on the same mission as me, who were snapping up every copy before I could find it.   It wasn’t showing up anywhere.  So finally I bit the bullet.  A meander around a “real” record store, where pristine new vinyl was sold at full price, revealed a budget-priced Floyd compilation called Relics.  It cost, I believe, a little less than twice the price of a new 45; which, according to a mathematical formula that I invented on the spot, meant if I liked four songs on it, I’d already broken even, and if I liked more than that, I was streaking ahead.

Q: I’m guessing you liked it.

 A: I think I must have.  Either that, or my record collection is haunted.  I don’t even want to count how many times I’ve bought every single Floyd album, between vinyl, CDs, remasters, reissues, box sets…  Right now, I’m looking at half a dozen different versions of Dark Side Of The Moon, without even considering six more in the Immersion box set; half a dozen Wish You Were Here’s, and as for Piper At The Gates Of Dawn….

Q: Is that your favorite?

 A: Funnily enough, More was my favorite for a long time, especially when it was my turn to proselytize Floyd.  “The Nile Song” never let me down.  I also have an only partially suppressed memory of presenting an essay or poem to the school one day, with “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” cranked loudly enough on the school gramophone that it drowned out whatever twaddle I had composed for the occasion.  More and Saucerful of Secrets.

Then I discovered bootlegs, beginning with Winter Tour 74, which appeared from nowhere that same Christmas, and fooled a lot of people, including myself, into thinking it was a new Floyd album.  And when I realized that it wasn’t, I went looking for more.  I didn’t get too far because at five pounds a pop, they were almost twice the price of a legitimate release.

But I found a few and I adore them still.  In Celebration of the Comet: The Coming of Kahoutek; Magnesium Proverbs; Oenone.  At a time when Pink Floyd were releasing new albums at what then seemed the hyper-glacial rate of one every two years or so, Floyd boots soon outstripped even Bowie on my shelves. And at least half of the thrill of first hearing Animals in 1977 was the realization that those two unknown songs on my first ever Floyd boot were now the centerpiece of their latest LP.  Which might be why, to answer your question, that’s probably my true favorite Floyd record.  Except when it’s Obscured By Clouds.

Q: What do you think of the current state of their catalog?  

 A: You mean the reissues and box sets?  Well, obviously I won’t be happy until we have the Piper box.  And another for Animals.  But apart from Bob Dylan and King Crimson, I don’t think any band could claim to have better served its archive-scouring public.  And the fact that Pink Floyd remain the only major act in rock’n’roll history to still be awaiting a career-spanning box set is readily balanced by the fact that almost every one of their albums deserves a box to itself.

Which is the other reason why I wanted to present the book ass-backwards, and why we begin in the middle, travel through to the end, and then loop around and continue on from the beginning.  Which… to digress… is not to say you shouldn’t read it in chronological order, because of course you can.  Just turn to the beginning of… I think it’s Chapter Nine…. and away you go.

For the rest of us, though; those whose journeys with the Floyd began in an age before The Wall was built, and certainly before it came tumbling down, the suspension of our own personal timeline allows us to investigate patterns that we might never otherwise have cared to; permits, too, the satisfaction of seeing how the past will always repeat itself, whether as an influence or an intrusion, without having already been reminded precisely what that past originally was.  Because the story of the band in general, and Roger Waters in particular, is not a linear one. It does convulse, it does circle back and, most of all, it does demand that you pay attention.

Q. Even to The Wall?

A: Personally, I still don’t like The Wall, and I could probably tell you exactly the number of times I have actually listened to it all the way through, without taking at least one extended break.  But it is where this story begins, and thanks to his current tour, it’s also where it ends.  So I never did get it out of the way, really.  It was always waiting somewhere.

Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall is published by Backbeat Books on September 17, 2013.

Fire_and_Wine_cover_21.08.13_crop_3_onlineThe first complete musical biography of one of the UK’s most respected and talented singer-songwriters.

Fire and Wine is the first biography of the artist Mojo magazine described as “the Inspector Morse of the folk world – a gentle romantic with a flair for mystery”; and whose debut album, Stroll On,  holds a permanent place among the greatest folk-rock records ever made.

Steve’s own recollections are joined by a small army of friends and colleagues, including Dave Pegg, Shirley Collins, Linda Thompson, Chris Leslie, Colin Irwin, Bruce Rowland, Maartin Allcock, Austin John Marshall and many others.

Packed with rare photographs (print edition only), Fire and Wine is an indispensable addition to the folk and traditional library.

Visit Steve Ashley here

Available Now

USA – Click here for the paperback edition

UK – Click here for the paperback edition

USA - Click here for the Kindle edition

UK – Click here for the Kindle edition

Click here for the Nook edition

Amazon Germany – here

Amazon France – here

Amazon Spain – here

Amazon Italy – here

Amazon Japan – here

EXCERPT – ANTHEMS IN EDEN

Just as Shirley Collins is one of the key components in the growth of the folk revival through the 1960s, so 1969’s Anthems in Eden would become one of the key albums of the folk revival, an early release on the newly formed Harvest progressive rock specialist label, and a startling rebuttal of all those critics who argued that folk could not step into any other musical realms.

Musically, it is everywhere, time traveling through medieval and Renaissance sounds, invoking the ghosts of brass bands in best baroque finery, haunted by Dolly’s pipe-organ, alive with the strains of David Munrow’s Early Music Consort, a virtual orchestra of early instruments. (Adam Skeaping contributed viol to the proceedings.)

But the sackbuts, cornets and crumhorns were catapulted out of their own era, to be locked instead into that precious era of English history that teetered on the precipice of the First World War. A time, Shirley later remarked, “when the maypole was replaced by a memorial stone. It was the same shape, but had scores of young men’s names on it.”

John Marshall later pointed out that many of the older women whom one encountered around Cecil Sharp House in those days were, in fact, widows of that war, looking for the music and traditions that might help them recapture  a sense of those halcyon days—imagery that would inspire him to write “Whitsun Dance.”

Of course the romance of the era has a sting in its tail, as Shirley reminded journalist Mike Barnes. “The good old times were never the good old times because there was such hardship. But what I think is true of peasant life is that along with the hardships there was some awareness of beauty. The innocence, I suppose, was the fact that people had been plucked away by the press gangs to go and fight wars, but in the 1914 war they seemed to go willingly to fight. And for whom and for what?  Because what did they come back to? No homes, no jobs, no money and nobody really helping them.”

Steve recalls, “The sessions for this one at Abbey Road were very exciting, with David Munrow, Christopher Hogwood, the Skeapings and other early music specialists. I also had the chance to sing with Royston Wood. We knew each other from before the Young Tradition, when he and Pete Bellamy were singing as a duo. We were brought in with my friend John Morgan to augment the chorus group The Home Brew. Royston and I were destined to work together again later, in the Albion Country Band.

Anthems In Eden was a great achievement both for John as producer, and for Shirley of course, whose live vocal led the entire ensemble, and also for Dolly’s extraordinary arrangements. It’s amazing to think that the whole thing was recorded live in the studio over two days. No vocal overdubs, just straight. John’s ‘Whitsun Dance’ and those Copper songs with Dolly’s orchestration all fitted together so well. It’s a real folk classic.”

Shirley continues, “The Anthems arrangements were all written by my sister Dolly, and she wasn’t influenced by John, except that, of course, he somehow made the whole of the Anthems experiment come to fruition. And, crucially, he wrote the words to The Whitsun Dance’ ( or ‘The Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun) which I set to a Copper Family tune ‘The False Bride’ or ‘The Week Before Easter’ which was the focus of the ‘Anthems Suite.’ And Steve was there singing choruses, and bringing his welcome presence to the recording studio.”

Shirley outlines the songs to which Steve contributed. “‘The Wedding Song’ comes from the Copper family of Sussex, whose forebears lived in the same village for over 400 years, and worked on the land. Like many of their tunes, it sounds like an anthem.

“‘Lowlands’ is, well, simply ‘Lowlands.’ It’s just been there for a long time in the folk memory.

“‘Pleasant and Delightful’ has been sung throughout Southern England for a couple of hundred years. It was popular in folk clubs because a) it’s a great song and b) the audience could join in the chorus and make their own harmonies.

“And ‘The Staines Morris’ tune is old! i.e. 17th century. I found it in William Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time,  published in the mid 1850s. He attached the words called The Maypole Song from Acteon & Diana as, he said, ‘it was exactly fitted to the air’.”

Steve’s first appearance on LP (the album was released in July 1969) may also have introduced him to another of the music journalists who have remained a staunch supporter across the years since then.

Colin Irwin, soon to become one of the leading lights in Melody Maker throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and still one of the freshest voices in folk and rock writing, recalls, “I can’t quite remember where or when I first heard or saw Steve. I have vague memories of a show in London—I think it may have been the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, but I can’t be sure, I was very aware of him through Karl Dallas, who I read avidly in Melody Maker and was clearly a big fan.

“I’d bought Anthems In Eden and knew his name from the credits on that. At that time it was a much smaller scene with fewer records, so if you saw somebody mentioned or someone who sang and played on a big release like Anthems In Eden, you were alerted to another artist who would for sure be worth checking out.”

Roger Waters

The Man Behind the Wall

This product is not yet published, but is available for pre-order.

RogerWaters.halleonardbooks.com

Publisher: Backbeat Books
Format: Hardcover
Author: Dave Thompson
Release Date: 09/17/2013

ImageTo some, he is the face behind classic Pink Floyd. To others, he is the temperament behind some of the greatest albums of the rock era. And to others still, he is one of the most original songwriters of a generation that overflows with notable talent. To all, he is an enigma: a rock star who not only eschewed stardom but also spent much of his career railing against it. But to call Roger Waters a mass of contradictions is simply taking the easy way out. He is so much more than that.

Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall is the first full biography of the author of The Dark Side of the MoonWish You Were Here, and, of course, The Wall. It traces his life from war-torn suburbia to the multitude of wars he has fought since then – with his bandmates, with his audience, and most of all with himself. Packed with insight and exclusive interviews with friends and associates, Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall dismantles the wall brick by brick, revealing the man who built it in all his glory.

$27.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00333745
ISBN: 9781617135644
UPC: 884088656607
Width: 6.0″
Length: 9.0″
288 pages

If You Like Bob Marley…

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group presents If You Like Bob Marley… (Backbeat Books, June 2013, $16.99), the newest volume in the If You Like series of pop culture connectivity. Author Dave Thompson is no stranger to the reggae scene, and the sheer amount of information within the book will delight any true Bob Marley fan. Thanks to the unique format of the If You Like series, readers will uncover facts not only about the King of Reggae himself but also about the history of reggae’s influence on the music industry as a whole.

Using Bob Marley as the starting point, Thompson connects Jamaica’s star-studded musical history to modern artists all over the world. Chapter after chapter profiles the many talented people who helped put reggae on the map, from Eric Clapton to Curtis Mayfield to Black Uhuru. There are dozens of famous genre-spanning Marley covers, and enough music to keep listeners engaged for months. Thompson also includes a roundup of films that any reggae fan will want to see. The book lends itself to further exploration, and reggae enthusiasts of all levels will find themselves eagerly searching through the “100 Albums You Must Hear” or “150 Songs We Forgot to Mention” detailed in the appendices.

If you thought you knew everything there was to know about Bob Marley and the colorful history that surrounds him, think again. Then open If You Like Bob Marley… and learn just what you’ve been missing.