THE MCCARTNEY FILE — Bill Harry
As the title suggests this is simply an alphabetical list of facts on the life of Paul McCartney. Although extremely detailed and informative as far as his musical background goes, it tends to be completely overshadowed by the amount of trivia involved, i.e. the TV series "Dallas" is listed for offering McCartney a part. Interesting to the obsessive McCartney fan, otherwise useful only as a reference book.
ROCK WIVES — Victoria Balfour
"Rock Wives" which features the partners of some of the most famous names in rock, claims to be full of scandalous revelations when in fact the majority of it is fairly mundane reading. However, what is interesting is the type of personalities affected, the overwhelming impression being of quite sad women willing to put up with the pressures and traumas by totally sacrificing their individuality in dedicating their lives to their husbands/boyfriends. The only question is why?
PIECE OF MY HEART — David Dalton
Unlike a conventional biography, "Piece Of My Heart" is a series of observations and conversations taking place in the heyday of Janis Joplin. Well-written and very descriptive with Joplin coming across as a sort of Sixties version of Mae West who endeavours to have as much fun as possible in her short life, the end result is both amusing and sad with Dalton managing to convey the attitudes and atmosphere of that era.
KEYFAX 2 — Julian Colbeck
Not a biography, this one – it's Mr Colbeck's welcome second bash at listing and evaluating virtually every keyboard on the market, from secondhand classics to shiny newcomers. It's not just a synth book: Keyfax 2 also covers 'portable' pianos and organs, home keyboards, remotes, computers, samplers, and sequencers/recorders. A lot in fact; there are now 240 indexed pages, a distinct expansion on 1985's original Keyfax. Each entry lists an evaluation, and as Julian writes for Sounds he adopts their vague Qs for Quality and Vs for Value method – the DX9, for example, gets QQQ and VV½ (ie brilliant) in the evaluation, even though Julian rightly goes on to say that it "has little chance" amongst other DXs now on offer. Each keyboard also gets a list of specifications (brief), a review (generally kind and informative), and a picture (usually). Keyfax 2 is a touch expensive at seven quid, but offers a mostly sensible and undoubtedly unique market guide.
TALKING HEADS — David Gans
Yet another biography this time of a band, this is much less tedious than the average biog book and calmly examines the birth of Talking Heads and their progress up to the present day. By using mainly interviews Gans helps to explain the reasoning and influences behind them not only from a musical standpoint but as a concept in itself. A relatively easy book to digest due to such a high proportion of it consisting of Talking Heads talking.
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