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A Must for all Al Stewart Fans
on 1 August 2002
The "True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour" is an insightful book into the life of one of the most talented singer/songwriters of this generation, Al Stewart. The book chronicles the life of Stewart from birth to the present day with many humorous and sad antecdotes along the way. I like the way author Neville Judd composited the book. The interviews with Al's mother, record executives, managers, studio musicians, contemporaries, friends and Al himself gave me a better perspective of Stewart and the trials and tributlations he went through before Year of the Cat, his success during the mid to late seventies and is horrendous battles and bad luck he had with the dreaded record companies after Time Passages. As the book moved along from album to album, I found myself pulling out my Al Stewart collection and following along with Judd what was going on during the making and release of that album. I learned so much about what Stewart was thinking during that period. His transformation from the bed-sit writing to the historical period is truly fascinating and without a doubt, I rate Stewart as the best lyricist going today. Not being from the UK, the book explained a lot of questions and gaps I had regarding friends and locations in England, from listening to Stewart's earlier work. I thought I was a rabid Al Stewart fan and knew mostly everything about him. This book proved me wrong. The stories involving Yoko Ono, Jimmy Page, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Alan Parsons and Clive Davis were fascinating.
There are no margins in this book. So a 325+ page book was easily 425+ pages with a normal book. As an avid Stewart fan, I didn't care for a repeat of lyrics of current Al Stewart material. It was, however, a pleasure to see the lyrics of unreleased Stewart material that on the surface were as strong as anything Stewart as written.
Couple of drawbacks with the book. There was a great amount of time in the book spent from teenage years through the first 4 albums. I would have liked to seen equal time spent from the 24 Carrots period to the present. Laurence Juber has been a big part of Al's life the past few years and I felt more should have been devoted to that. Also, I would have liked to see more pictures of Stewart's wife and family.
Other than that, the book is first rate. Highly recommended for any Al Stewart fan or fan of the folk rock period of the 60's and 70's.