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Bathed in Lightning: John Mclaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond Paperback – 26 Mar 2014
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About the Author
Colin Harper wrote professionally on music for The Independent, Irish Times, Mojo and other titles during the 1990s. He is the author of Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British folk and blues revival (Bloomsbury, 2000; revised 2006 and 2011) and co-author of Irish Folk, Trad and Blues: A Secret History (Collins Press, 2004).
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is literally bursting with familiar names one does not usually associate with John McLaughlin. Even in terms of the period that "everybody knows", you can find new nuggets of information. However, it is the capture of the British music scene of the 1960s that truly surprises. The book covers McLaughlin's involvements with Georgie Fame, Brian Auger, Duffy Power, Graham Bond, Jimmy Page, Danny Thompson, Jack Bruce, Ronnie Scott, Eric Clapton, Herbie Goins, Ray Ellington, Alexis Korner, Carlos Santana, the Mahavishnu Orchestras, his time with Miles Davis and even the likes of his session work with the likes of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. It's all there, with scene-setting, additional notes for the curious, pulling stories long-buried in countless music magazines and newspapers, as well as first hand from many of those who were there.
McLaughlin himself did not wish to participate with the making of the book in any way, but gave Harper his blessing. Does the book suffer for the lack of McLaughlin's direct input? Not in any obvious sense. Perhaps some additional details might have been clarified, of an extra anecdote or two would be present. But it is hard to imagine that Colin Harper has missed much.
To put it briefly, this is a broad subject (the British music scene, with jazz in particular) given a clarity of focus through an interesting lens (the career of John McLaughlin) in an entirely readable, enjoyable style. The book is a must for anyone with an interest in McLaughlin's career or British jazz of the 1960s.
I certainly learnt a lot about the London session scene and the struggle that many jazz musicians had in this era. Read in combination with Jack Bruce's biography and that of Jon Hiseman gives a fascinating insight into the difficulties of trying to pursue your creative impulses. The interesting conclusion is that you cannot escape the demons that pursue you unless you are prepared to face up to them without recourse to drugs or spirituality. The dangers of pursuing you musical vision at the expense of understanding the human frailties of the people you work or live with is a common theme in the music industry. The sad fact is that when you dedicate yourself to mastering your art it becomes an all consuming passion and there are many things that get sacrificed along the way. The rigorous hours of practise and performance are not always conducive to relationships, personal or professional. McLaughlin found that not everyone shared his goals or his sense of self-discipline.
I do find it quite inspiring that McLaughlin has over the last decade been producing some of the most exciting and creative music of his career. Certainly the One Truth band is at least as intense as the first Mahavishnu Orchestra - well at least in my humble opinion. What this book shows is this musicians constant desire to drive forward and not look back.Read more ›
I thoroughly enjoyed it especially the parts about his work with Jet Harris and Duffy Power.
Mr Harper has seriously researched this book and it shows.It's very comprehensive but not overpowering.
I even listened to an MO album after to investigate more,not for me it must be said but I definitely enjoyed the book and would read more things written by Colin Harper.
If you are a JM fan I'd imagine you'd love this book.
The basic facts include this: that John McLaughlin was first credited on record with the release of 'Experiment With Pops' by the Gordon Beck Quartet in 1968 (the source of that 34th photo). Prior to that, there's so little factual evidence of what John McL was up to that it doesn't really matter. And so to the crux of the matter. Had the earlier part of the book (meaning pages 18 to 205) been compressed down to (say) 20 pages, then some of the vast 'extra material' only available digitally could have been included in the print edition. The result could well have been better overall.
I haven't stopped reading the book. I'm up to the 1968/'69 period and things are starting to get interesting. Any book of this size and scope deserves four stars, but I have to stress my belief that it's a shame no-one stood back from the project and realised it was rather out of balance, with its subject (and indeed hard facts about his earlier life) conspicuously lacking within the first 200 pages or so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John McLaughlin has carved a unique, restless path, where the journey, not the destination, is the thing, and this biography is the definitive attempt to pin down, for the first... Read morePublished 5 months ago by julie robinson
My claim to fame is that I am the second Jazz Fusion guitarist called John McLaughlin to come from Whitley Bay, so I just had to buy this to see if our paths had crossed. Read morePublished 20 months ago by John McLaughlin
Great present for my husband who is a musician and a big fan of John McLaughlin.Published 20 months ago by G.B.
In spite of being a long-standing fan of guitarist John McLaughlin, I had only a hazy idea of what he'd been doing before the day he flew to America for the first time on February... Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2014 by Jeremy Walton
A great read for an important period in John McLaughlin's musical career. It made me want to listen to the music again which is always a good sign.Published on 21 Oct. 2014 by Allan Mcfadyen
Its no easy read, full of more detail than you may really want to know about the previously unknown/sketchy career of McLaughlin from 1958 until he arrived in the US in February... Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2014 by GLF
This is a very good book and does justice to its subject matter - one of the iconic figures
in modern guitar playing, however you view it. Read more
This isn't just just a book about McLaughlin but also an examination of the British blues and jazz scene in the 1960's.Published on 2 Jun. 2014 by John McGloin