Lee Speaks About Music… #51

Mainstream Artist Books…

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Introduction…

Well I must admit this is perhaps not the usual form of music media I generally speak about, and to be perfectly honest I have not read a book in around 3 decades until recently. But just before Christmas I noticed an advert from Greg Lake’s Facebook page advertising the latest autobiography of Greg Lake entitled Lucky Man.

The fact that Greg Lake had died at the end of 2016 and much earlier in the same year Keith Emerson had decided to end it all himself, left me feeling quite sad. I have always admired both artists individually and their work with Emerson Lake and Palmer. The Nice and King Crimson.

My hobbies have never really extended to reading books. Well not since I was in my 20’s when back then I did also buy a few autobiographies of mainstream artists, such as the Yes. Genesis. The Rolling Stones. The Doors and even Roger Deans Art book. Before then I would have to go back to my school days when I read fiction stories such as Biggles and Animal Farm as such.

However I have to confess that I did in fact listen to a free Audio Book based on a Crime Thriller that I had given me a couple of years back which was written by a good friend I met on Soundcloud. Who used to play guitar and put some of his music on there.

Then became more involved as an author of Crime Thrillers. His name is William Patching and I have to say I did thoroughly enjoy his book and he as even written another 2 sequels since.

But for me music and autobiographies have always been my preferred taste rather than crime stories and other fictional books.

Most of these so called autobiographies are mainly written by other people rather than the artists themselves.

But what struck me more than anything is that this book of Lake’s is that it was written by himself when he knew he was actually dying, and just how many people get the chance to do such a thing.

Rekindling My Interest Again In Books…

Two things rekindled my interest to buy books again. The first being Greg Lake and the second was the price. To be honest I could not believe how cheap you can obtain these books for. For example when I first seen that advert for Greg Lake’s Lucky Man. I clicked on it and it was linked to his website and the hardback edition was priced at £26.

This led me to see how much it was on Amazon and you could get the Kindle Edition for your phone or pad for £.9.99. The Paperback for £15 and amazingly the Hardback Edition was advertised with £20 off and was on there for £6.

Personally for me the hardback edition is the way to go, and my preferred choice. The Kindle edition maybe cheap. but I am a stickler for having something in my hand I can feel and hold. Just like I am with the music media I buy.

Not only that, but since I have amassed more physical music media. I very much have to extend my music media shelving and buy a new rack this year. So the books will help me fill it out a bit more.

But anyway I did order Greg Lake’s book from Amazon around the 3rd of November last year. Being a prime member I expected it the next day. But instead I got an email off them stating that the book was out of stock, and they would send it just as more became available.

I never heard nothing from them again till around 2 weeks before Christmas when they sent me another email telling me it was still out of stock, and I could either wait or cancel my order.

So I Googled Lake’s book and low and behold I came across a website called The Works.Co.UK. This particular stationary shop had recently opened up a shop in my local shopping centre just down the road from where I live. It had only been there a couple of weeks. On their website I noticed they too had the hardback edition for £6. So at first I popped down to the shop to see if they had it in.

No such luck. So I ordered it on their website and had it delivered to the shop to save on postage and packaging. It took 5 days as promised on their website, and whilst I was in the shop I noticed a book on Elton John which again was a hardback edition so I purchased that and read it first whilst waiting for Greg Lake’s Lucky Man to arrive.

Book Reviews…

Well I am not going to go into great detail on these new purchases of mine I got over the Christmas period, and scratch the surface a bit, to see what I thought of them, and give them some sort of score rating. So here goes starting with the first book I read…

Captain Fantastic

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By Tom Doyle…

I have to say the price of £4 was a genuine bargain, and one I could not resist. To be honest I never thought there was a lot this book could tell me about Elton’s career during the 70’s, because back in those days I was a massive fan of Elton John.

Over the years I have watched no end of documentaries on the guy, and even if you have (like I do upon its release back in 1975) his album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy you would of noticed that it actually came with a scrapbook and another book which had a lot about his early career in that as well.

But this book is not just about the album Captain Fantastic and goes completely through his career and as far back as the early 60’s right up to the end of the 70’s, and even contains content in here I never knew myself.

Though this book is not written by Elton himself and by Tom Doyle. He has obtained the information from Elton himself and many of the musicians that played on his albums. It also contains some facts from his personal diary.

I have to say I very much enjoyed this book and found it very informative and accurate too. If like myself you enjoyed Elton’s music in the 70’s to which was the highest point of his career. I very much think you will enjoy this.

Regarding it’s original price point of £16.99. I would say it was worthy of it. But would I have spent that much originally on a book like this?. Perhaps not and I would most likely of spent that money on other music media instead. But for this bargain price you could not even make it yourself for it.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Lucky Man

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By Greg Lake…

Greg Lake’s Lucky Man The Autobiography covers quite a bit of ground from the time he was born up to the day he more or less died. Considering only 282 pages are written by Lake and it closes with a short 4 page Eulogy by his closest friend and manager Stewart Young. It does take in quite a great deal.

Though over the years I have heard many other stories from various band members of the bands he was involved in which are perhaps not touched upon here.

It not only takes in his personal career with every band he played for, but even includes his short stint he had filling in for John Wetton on tour with the band Asia. It also takes in his family and his best friends. It even takes in Keith Emerson’s suicide to which Greg felt was not because of the problem he had with his hand at all, had he had that problem since way back in 1994.

Greg Lake was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer back in February 2014. He had left it too late in noticing it, and there was no cure. Hence the very reason he would of wrote this autobiography.

Greg was no doubt a Lucky Man and this is a book that good that it even reduced me to tears of sadness at the end reading his final words. The final words to his fans from a dying man, and one who will not be forgotten for sure.

To be honest this book of Greg’s I most likely would of brought at full price if I could not of got it cheaper. I love the fact the he wrote it himself. Getting it for £6 was a massive bonus.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Beautiful Dreamer

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By John Bramley…

Beautiful Dreamer is a book that you may have gathered by the cover about Mark Bolan. It’s not an autobiography but takes in this superstars career from the point of a big fan. To which the writer here John Bramley very much was.

Has with all these books they are around the 280 to 300 page mark and are comfortable for the likes of myself to read. Bramley does cover Bolan’s career right from the start when he was picked up by a fashion magazine back in the early 60’s and was featured in it for the smart way he dressed. Right up to his death and a bit beyond.

Though it does not take in the fact of what happened to Bolan’s millions, and a lot of what is here is not perhaps quite as exciting as many of the documentaries that have already been put out of this Godfather of Glam Rock.

Never the less it does go into every album that was released from his first single in 1965 then later his career with Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex as well as his solo career.

Marc Bolan was perhaps a guy who thought he was IT regarding his stardom status, and from when he was just a mere boy, he knew he was going to be famous.

However big headed he may have been, he even proved it to the DJ John Peel who was the very guy that really got him started when he was known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. A side of Bolan’s music Peel loved the most, and it broke their relationship up when Bolan decided to go electric and come out of his shell so to speak.

For me personally I love both the acoustic and the electric side of Marc Bolan. My all time favourite of all his albums was actually the very first T.Rex album done back in 1970. I seriously shudder to think how on earth John Peel never liked it and decided to turn his back on Bolan at that stage of his career.

But then again Peel did recognise talent, and if it was not for him in the first place. I am sure many bands and artists would of never became successful in the first place.

Beautiful Dreamer by John Bramley is a worthy read even if it’s just to refresh your mind on who Marc Bolan was and what great music he wrote. The book even includes some quotes from Marc Bolan fans on Facebook.

I personally do not think it’s worth the original price of £20. But for the £6 I paid for it, it was a great bargain and I quite enjoyed it.

Lee’s overall Rating 7/10…

Led Zeppelin – The Biggest Band Of The 1970’s

LZ Book

By Chris Welch…

Well I don’t know about the Biggest Band of the 70’s so much, but this is certainly the biggest book I got over the Christmas period, and I got this at a right bargain price of £4 a couple of days before Christmas day.

Has with all the books I got they was all released last year in 2017 and this one is perhaps one that comes with the most pictures in it. It really is a superb well detailed book for its photography and the history of the band portrayed by long time music journalist Chris Welch.

The book itself contains 192 pages which may seem rather short. But taking in the size of the pages you get here, it’s easy to see that you can fit at least 4 or 5 pages of information on 1 of its pages of the other books I purchased above.

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Has you can see from the pictures above this is a very well detailed book. It weighs a ton and to be honest when seated in my computer chair reading it in my hands on my lap. after awhile I have to put it down cause my arms and hands ache :))))))).

It’s very much a book that really needs to be placed on a table to read because of its heavy weight. To even think you can get something of this quality for £4 quite frankly it’s beyond belief. It really is a treasure.

I am currently still reading this book right now and am around half way through it. But what I can say is that it takes you through every album and even details every track of every album better than I could with my own reviews.

It also takes in every band member individually and everything about the band as far as I can tell so far. Even if you paid the top price of £25 for this book I would say it’s genuinely worth it. Even based on the fact that I have not yet completed reading the book. My overall rating score can only be what it is here.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Summary…

Well I can only thank Greg Lake and the shop The Works.Co.Uk for rekindling my pleasure from reading books once again. No doubt I will be getting some more in the future, but still would prefer to focus my attention more on the music that I will be purchasing this year, and am looking forward to what comes out this year as well.

Do not be surprised if you see reviews from some of the artists albums in these books either.

Having just recently looked at the Deluxe Editions of Led Zeppelin’s entire studio discography that was released back in 2014 and 2015. I shall certainly be updating my Led Zeppelin collection with those. despite the fact that they have not made any 5.1 mixes of the albums.

Though most of them are only £10 for a double CD and that is still a bargain I will say. And it will not be too costly if for some reason the band do decide to make 5.1 mixes of the albums on their 50th Anniversary and I have to buy them all over again :)))))))).

Conclusion…

To conclude here I would just like to say that I had an exciting read over Christmas and am still enjoying reading in the new year with the last book I purchased here. I always love a good bargain and these were genuine ones at that.

I am not sure how books shops are in other countries, but one thing I do know is that all the books I got here was from one shop The Works.Co.UK and they are also cheaper than Amazon, which is why I use it, and will continue to do so for such items.

All 4 books here also come with the artists complete discography printed at the back of the book. Though you can of course find that out with the internet on many sites including the artists websites too.

Coming up next will be the first album review of the new year, and it will be Led Zeppelin’s debut album to which I sent for the 2014 Deluxe Edition today from Amazon. That should be with me tomorrow and it should be a blast and the review should be out by the weekend or sometime next week.

Incidentally according to Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin’s website. There is even another book being written right now on the band and is scheduled to be published later this year.

Until then I hope all my readers had a great Christmas and are doing well in what little of the New Year we are now in to.

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