From Jackie Cantwell
Author: various performers
The Beatles [sound recording CD] : the rock biographies : the world’s greatest music performed by top musicians
One has to have audacity to produce an album of cover versions of the Beatles music. Musicians as diverse as Little River Band and Molly Hatchet to Dweezil Zappa and Air Supply tried to bring something new or different to classic Beatles tunes. I think they all failed miserably with the exception of Jackson Browne who brings an ethereal and lilting voice to the song ”Across the Universe”. Ordinarily I’m floored by the talents of Fee Waybill of The Tubes, but his version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was dull and uninspired. Some of these songs are even painful to listen to. Leave me with my memories of the Beatles!
From Chris Garland
author: Johnson, Eric
Up close [sound recording]
Texas guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson returns with his latest album, Up Close. If you are fan of guitar music, this album delivers. The album has a more spontaneous feel than previous Johnson efforts which tend to strive for sonic perfection. Thematically the album is pop/rock with a touch of blues and country, a departure for Johnson since on past albums he delves into all musical genres. Guests include Steve Miller on the blues classic “Texas” where Johnson and Jimmie Vaughn trade solos. Another standout track is the autobiographical tune “Austin” where Johnny Lang takes the lead vocal. Eric shines on the pop instrumental “Gem” and adds one of his greatest guitar solos to the song “Arithmetic”. The album concludes with Johnson paying tribute to his father on the tune “Your Book” where Sonny Landreth add his poignant slide guitar. Up Close is a terrific disc that stands up well to the artist’s best work.
From Ellen Druda
author: Richards, Keith
Life [sound recording]
While Keith may just think it’s “a life” like any other musician’s, clearly his experiences have been way over the top. His candid recollections about drugs and other bad behavior while being a huge celebrity, his brushes with death, and his narrow escapes from legal entrapments make this memoir seem
almost fictional in the telling. The audiobook version is told in three different voices (Johnny Depp & Joe Hurley, and Keith himself) and seem to switch for no logical reason, making jarring transitions. While I longed for more Rolling Stones backstory and gossip and less details about the different kinds of smack available to a rocker, Richards comes across as a likeable and decent guy.
From Ellen Druda
author: Egan, Jennifer
A visit from the goon squad [ sound recording]
This is a series of stories that link together using reappearing characters. We follow Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and through him we meet the supporting cast of his life. Egan has done an amazing job of weaving characters across time and place, each story leading into the next as we meet the recurring cast at different times of their lives. BBC Audiobooks America put the story on cd, not an easy task considering the experimental nature of the writing, which in print includes a powerpoint presentation. The narration by Roxana Ortega brings the characters alive at their various ages, making the production seamless, fascinating, and warm.