Tuesday, October 18, 2005

When They Was Fab

A recent post by Powerline's Scott Johnson - the resident music buff at that excellent blog - got me thinking about great books on music. If writing about music is truly akin to "dancing about architecture", then Peter Guralnick is the Fred Astaire of the Empire State building. Scott mentions Guralnick's "Sweet Soul Music" as his favorite, I'd say the country-themed "Lost Highway" is nearly as good.

I am also a big fan of Tim Riley's "Tell Me Why", a critical look at The Beatles music. In it, he breaks down the entire Beatles catalog from a musician/songwriting/production point of view. He attempts to explain some of the craft that makes those songs so immortal, while recognizing that the chemistry is what pushed them over the top, never to be equaled. I am currently without a copy, since I always want my fellow Beatles fanatic friends to read it, too, and I gave away both of my copies.

I also recommend Mark Lewisohn's informative "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions", for studio minutae and his follow-up "The Complete Beatles Chronicle" which is as close to a real-time Beatle Blog as we are likely to see.

Since I'm in a Beatles frame of mind, I am really enjoying the new Paul McCartney album, "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard", produced by Nigel Goodrich (Radiohead) and written and played by Paul with a few guest musicians on a couple of tracks. Former Jellyfish guitarist and Beatle freak Jason Falkner plays guitar on a tune or two. It has the sound and feel of "McCartney" or "Ram"... intimate and homemade with plenty of great McCartney melodies and interesting chord progressions. Check it out.

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