Archive for Book

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth by William Boyd

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , , , on September 28, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Viking [Published 02.11.17]

Short story collections never seem to sell really well, unless there is a big name author and this will hopefully be the case here as William Boyd collects together some entertaining short stories and a novella as the collection’s centre piece.

Turning first to the novella and the character who gives this collection its name, Bethany Mellmoth is a 24 year old who we follow on a year of her life as she tries various ways to find her career path and the relationships she has along the way. I actually preferred the short stories to this longer piece as I struggled to feel any empathy for her.

Of the other stories the last one is an excellent page turning thriller where the main character calls upon his past roles in a series of failed thriller films to help him in an unusual encounter. The film industry does weave its way into a few of the other stories, showing the less glamorous side of the industry.

William Boyd has a great knack of switching genres, be it how relationships thrive and fail, takes on modern life, ‘must read’ thriller – that is the beauty of this collection in that you never know what to expect next.

Some Fantastic Place by Chris Difford

Posted in Authors, Books, Classic albums, Netgalley, pop, Pop rock with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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W&N [Publication date 31.08.17]

Chris Difford is the lyricist to Glen Tilbrook’s music and arranging in Squeeze, a band who have split up twice and now since reforming again in 2007 seem to be enjoying a purple patch both in terms of touring and making new music.

Chris’s memoir is very much written from the heart as he describes his struggle with alcohol and bouts of depression, and the effect this had on his personal life. However, he comes across as a positive soul and one that is grateful for what he has. There are of course plenty of tales of Squeeze and how they rose to fame in the late 70’s and early 80’s with a string of hit singles.

His musical life outside of Squeeze is given insight including his time as helping coral the lyrics for Bryan Ferry. He also felt like Bryan Ferry’s chauffer at the time! He also worked on lyrics with Elton John and became good friends with him, which helped a band Chris was mentoring the Strypes, who signed to Elton’s Rocket Music Management in their early days. His solo career is covered, although not as extensively as Squeeze.

You do get a little insight into the relationship between him and Glen Tilbrook, something that has remained constant throughout the years since when they first met back in 1973.

Reading about Squeeze it is pretty amazing they are still going, as at one time in the 90’s they seemingly had a revolving door on drummers and keyboard players. Luckily for music fans the Difford and Tilbrook axis on which Squeeze turns remained and the Squeeze story continues as they have a new album ‘The Knowledge’ out in October.

Chris Difford has penned an honest account of his life in and out of Squeeze, where he is very honest about his past mistakes and his struggles with depression and drinking. Highly recommended for both fans of the band and anyone wanting to see how the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Review by Jason Ritchie

 

Smashing it Up: A Decade of Chaos with the Damned by Kieron Tyler

Posted in Books, Pop rock, rock n roll with tags , , , on September 1, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Omnibus Press [Publication date 12.06.17]

The book focuses on their formation and subsequent first decade, where along with the Clash and the Sex Pistols, were one of the first punk bands. The influence of the band stretches far and wide, be it them taking on support bands who later broke big themselves like Black Flag or having their classic song ‘New Rose’ being covered by Guns ‘N’ Roses. The classic line-up of Dave Vanian (the only ever present throughout the band’s many line-up changes), Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies and Brian James are all interviewed by the author and often tell a varying version of key events ion the band’s history as you’d expect. They have had a fair few musicians through their ranks including Algy Ward (who went on to form Tank), Paul Gray (later seen in UFO), Jon Moss (Culture Club) and Lemmy often appeared on stage with them.

You find out lots of facts including Captain’s love of cricket (his solo career and hit ‘Happy Talk’ are also covered in depth) and interesting insights to the various offshoots including the Phantom Chords and Naz Nomad and the Nightmares. Plus of course the band were very rock ‘n’ roll with Captain often finishing gigs in the nude, and along with Rat Scabies causing mayhem and damage in recording studios and venues. There are plenty of these tales in the book.

The band suffered from a series of label issues and changing management, yet despite setbacks still managed to record some classic songs and Kieron Tyler is a fan, which helps when he assess the songs and impacts of the albums throughout those first ten years. He is honest in his assessment and makes you want to listen to the songs again

Although the book is looking mainly at the band’s first ten years, Tyler goes onto cover the more recent history of the band although not in as much detail. Good news for Damned fans is a new album is due possibly by the end of year and they show no signs of stopping yet.

Well researched and for once a band biography that includes author interviews with the various current and past members, rather than relying solely on archive interviews. Great read for fans of the band and music in general.

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Serpent’s Tail [Published 06.07.17]

First time I have read anything by Adrian McKinty. Set in the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 80’s the plot and characters are top notch.

Belfast 1988: a man has been shot in the back with an arrow. Uncovering exactly who has done it has Detective Inspector Sean Duffy sees three masked gunmen forcing Duffy to dig his own grave at the opening of the story. From this opening it backtracks looks at events that led to this, before the plot returns to the opening scene half way through the book.

The main character Duffy is  a Catholic detective working for the RUC. McKinty gives you potted history of various real life events and history that happened during that time. The writing style with dark humour and fast paced plot reminded me of Colin Bateman and Stuart MacBride.

Highly recommended and deserves to be more well known.

Best thing about finishing this book is knowing that I have all the previous Duffy books to enjoy now.

Grant signs and Frank Soo book

Posted in Books, Football, football transfers, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Stoke have signed goalkeeper Lee Grant from Derby County on a permanent contract following a loan spell since last August. He has joined on a two and half year contract for a few of £1.3m.

We have three players at the African Cup of Nations this month – Bony, Diouf and Sobhi.Bony had been the subject of a possible move to China but he seems to be staying out to see his season long loan out and get back into the starting XI.

Not much else transfer wise bar the possibility of Peter Crouch and Ibrahim Afellay both being offered new deals as their current ones finish this summer. Quite a few players are out of contract this summer including Glen Johnson, Stephen Ireland, Charlie Adam, Phil Bardsley and Shay Given. Plus we’ve still got Dionatan Teixeira on our books until June!!!

Recently published is a biography of Stoke player Frank Soo called ‘The Wanderer’ by Susan Gardiner. You can see more here at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wanderer-Story-Frank-Soo/dp/0995539618

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New book on JOURNEY guitarist NEAL SCHON

Posted in AOR, Books, Classic rock, Melodic rock, News with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Electric World – A Casual Guide To The Music Of Journey’s Neal Schon

By Neil Daniels

Published by Createspace

“He’s the most underrated guitarist to ever strap on a [guitar]. His touch could be the subtle nuisance of everything he does when he plays.”

–          Herbie Herbert, former Journey manager

Neal Schon is undoubtedly one of rock music’s most versatile yet infuriatingly underrated guitarists. His work in the legendary multi-million selling AOR band Journey is universally known but what about his excellent solo albums and his other projects such as Bad English, HSAS, Hardline and Soul SirkUs, and not forgetting his many collaborations with the likes of Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers and Jan Hammer? From the author of the acclaimed Don’t Stop Believin’ – The Untold Story Of Journey, Electric World – A Casual Guide To The Music Of Journey’s Neal Schon is the first book to exclusively explore the music of the longest running member of one of the most successful American AOR bands of all time Electric World includes a foreword by Robert Fleischman, the original frontman of Journey, and exclusive interviews with such melodic rock heroes as Marco Mendoza, Jeff Scott Soto, Danny Vaughn, Glen Burtnik, Jimi Jamison and Ricky Phillips as well as a number of highly revered producers who have worked with Neal Schon such as Richie Zito and Mike Fraser. Also included are previously unpublished photos. Electric World is essential reading for Journey fans and AOR enthusiasts.

Electric World – A Casual Guide To The Music Of Journey’s Neal Schon is a 6×9 344 page paperback and eBook. ISBN: 978-1494710644.

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