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Stephen Goldsmith

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Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day
Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day
by Joel Selvin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD - BUT BLAME THE RIGHT PEOPLE, 16 Jan. 2017
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This best live Rolling Stones performances started with the 1969 US Tour and continued up to the 1971 shows. At this time they had onstage the classic twin rock guitar frontline. The results are shown vividly on the 'Gimme Shelter' film, and especially on Midnight Rambler on 'Get Your Ya Yas', the best live album they have released.
The Stones potent 1969 shows are well described by the author. His assessments of the Stones performances and off stage, and motives and behaviour of Mick Jagger are well described. Seen in the context of the financial position they found themselves in, it is understandable that they had to generate a lot of money. The only way they could do that was with money from live performances. They faced an expensive and protracted legal action against Allen Klein. There is a lot of fresh information in the book about this and much else.
I found the blame attached to the Rolling Stones harsh for what subsequently happened at Altamont. Reading the book, it must be remembered that this occurred before the information revolution. Joel Selvin mentions the Stones' lack of knowledge about the true nature of the US Hells Angels.Their only experience was with UK Angels who were little more than Motor bike enthusiasts. It is also understandable that they were distracted by the live tour commitment they had to fulfil.
My view is that the author let The Grateful Dead off too lightly. Rock Scully was evidently dealing in drugs. they associated with Hells Angels
who according to the book were becoming involved in the sale of prohibited drugs.
It was the Grateful Dead who were the accident waiting to happen. The Stones appear to have believed that the Grateful Dead organisation knew what they were doing, and there was some kind of organisation around the proposed free festival. The Stones weren't there to micro manage. Moving the venue move to Altamont was fatal and it should have been incumbent upon the Dead to stop the whole thing. They didn't.
The Grateful Dead also cried off playing. That left the Stones to face the crowd and it is to their credit that they bravely completed their
What happened was unprecedented. At Altamont the Dead showed a lack of moral and physical courage; they could have stopped it happening. They didn't.

2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
2001: A Space Odyssey [1968] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Keir Dullea
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS THIS WHAT IT IS?, 29 Jun. 2016
I Don't know if anyone else has written about this, but recently rewatching this magnificent film, I wondered if Kubrick's intentions were clear in the last scene.
The film demonstrates three examples of how intelligence is a mixed blessing, but how it is ultimately destructive;

1. The Dawn of Time where peaceable apes are transformed by intelligence into violent and territorial creatures using implements to kill other apes.
The creator of this appears to be some kind of extra terrestrial creative force

2. The Space Scene which follows on, showing how human descendants have developed social and engineering skills, to produce space vessels of unimaginable complexity, the various nationalities appear intelligent, and friendly The soundtrack a recording of the Blue Danube played by a variety of instruments, each developed by different people and cultures, played by disparate people, many of whom are gifted, collaborating in an orchestra, led by a conductor and composed by a genius. This perhaps the apex of human development , as close as men can come to God.

3. The final scene, coming after HAL's close encounter with the extra terrestrial block which appears to give Hal emotion, is disastrous for the mission and the crew. The final film footage shows the the first of a new race of superhuman, if you look at the lingering shot of the baby's face, it isn't blank or sleepy, but appears focused and hostile. Kubrick finishes there leaving the unanswerable question; If continual evolution is a double edged sword, then intelligence doesn't necessarily create beneficial effects and nice people, and that super intelligence may also make individuals anti- social and evil. That final few seconds make me both hopeful and fearful.

I recommend that people should read Arthur C clarks's original book which makes the film more understandable.I think its Kubrick's greatest film

The Led Zeppelin Tape Documentary
The Led Zeppelin Tape Documentary
by Luis V. Rey
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE THREE BEST LZ BOOKS EVER, 7 May 2016
This is the 4th edition of this book,and it contains substantial new and revised information. A tremendous amount of love and effort has gone into the four editions of this book.
LZ were the perfect band to research, they were brave enough to improvise, and capable on occasion, of devastatingly exciting shows. The reverse of this was that they also, occasionally, delivered awful performances. This is apparent in Luis Rey's descriptions and judgements which are objective and avoid the common pitfall of describing everything LZ did as' Brilliant' or otherwise 'Utterly Brilliant.' The sum total is perhaps the best book ever written about one rock band's evolving performance art.
This worthy book deserved to be published with higher production values; A deluxe hardback, better paper and illustration, and a colour photographic gallery of the LP and CD releases that contain this material. An attempt should be made to contact Jimmy Page to write a
foreword, or to be interviewed about this material. In the context of this book, it is probably the only place for such an interview to be printed.
It may also focus Page on releasing some of this vast material officially. For example, The entire New York and Los Angeles 1977 performances in boxed sets like Sony are doing with Miles Davis.
This is one of the three best books on LZ. It takes its place alongside 'Trampled Underfoot', Barney Hoskyn's judicious compilation that reveals something of the character of the group, and ' LZ Over Europe' Jean Pierre Leloir's magnificent photo book.

Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
by Barney Hoskyns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOB, VAN, JIMI, THE BAND AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS, 11 Mar. 2016
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There have been thousands of books written about popular music. Most of them are comparatively slight, and after reading them they often leave you wondering who half the characters described are, or what else was going on whilst the events being described happened, or how various protagonists were related to each other. Other books are dominated by the author's ill-informed or ill-considered opinions which devalue their worth.
It is gratifying that Hoskyns book has produced such a well written and entertaining book.
He has chosen a location and time of one of the most interesting periods in 'rock history'. Bob and the Band are centre stage, and we get a great deal of information about the Basement tapes recordings, the only source that rivals this book are the 'Wanted Man' magazines which are sadly no longer published.
When the Basement Tapes box set was released last year there were curious pictures of Bob in Dungarees wearing a Davy Crocket fur hat. When I saw this I wondered what that was all about. Thankfully, Hoskyns mentions this. He also mentions various associates of Hendrix whose relationship with Jimi has never been properly described. Another shadowy character is Albert Grossman, who comes to life here, in particular his part in assisting his artist clients' success. He remains an ambivalent figure. There is also interesting information on Van Morrison.
I thoroughly recommend this book. The author has produced some excellent books, including 'Raging Glories', and this book is another. Very Well done!

The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966 (The Royal Albert Hall Concert)
The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966 (The Royal Albert Hall Concert)
Price: £8.46

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MICKEY JONES THE UNSUNG HERO, 24 April 2015
This 2cd set comprises all the music from Bob Dylan's performance in Manchester in 1966. The first cd is the acoustic first half with Bob performing solo. The second cd the electric set with a band.
The electric half was released unofficially in the early seventies, in a very listenable recording. When I heard it back then, I wondered how Bob and the band had arrived at producing a stunning live performance that was years ahead of its time. This recording hasn't dated. It is one of the great rock music performances, and was audacious, brave and represents the start of modern rock music performance. How did Bob do it?
A lot of information has emerged about the 1966 tour. Bob Dylan's instinctive genius, and the Band's musicianship have been rightly acknowledged, but Mickey Jones' role seems overlooked.
What jumps out for me in this performance is Jones' drumming. He joined Bob for the start of the Australian shows in April 1966. The previous drummers Bob used in 1965/6 were in comparison lacklustre. The extant recordings indicate they concentrated on accompanying the rest of the band and played to the songs. The drumming is polite, and sounds as though the previous drummers didn't want to make too much racket.
Mickey Jones was the perfect choice. He was a formidable musician who was apparently pursued by Bob to join the band. It was his skill that was the crucial factor in making the electric performances in Australia, and especially the UK so very exciting. He was one of the few drummers at that time who led the rest of the musicians on stage. In this respect his playing relationship with Bob was similar to Keith Moon in the Who.
Listening to the electric songs as they start up, it sounds as though Bob and the Band have their eyes on Mickey, waiting for him to erupt like a volcano and drive the music along. It would be interesting to know if Bob encouraged him to play louder, and liked the provocation that he was aiming at the folky fundamentalists.
The acoustic set is a nice contrast and Bob performs beautiful songs exquisitely, with nice harmoica playing. This 2cd set is an essential and enriching recording, and I recommend it as one of the greatest live recordings of the 'Rock' era.
Hats off though to Mickey Jones, who I think was the the catalyst for these fantastic performances, and whose work behind the drums hasn't been widely acknowledged.
There are other 1966 concert recordings that have emerged, they are all great to hear and one can only hope that those good guys looking after Bob's archive might one day released a definitive collection of all extant professional 1966 recordings - and let D.A. Pennebaker make his 1966 concert film, before its too late......
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2016 5:39 AM BST

Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe
Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe
by John Buckley
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MONTY THE ENABLER, 9 Mar. 2015
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This book is a description of Montgomery the enabler. The difficulties and pressures he faced as commanding officer in the Normandy campaign were almost as formidable as the organisation of the invasion itself. The book points out his errors and flaws, but it is also a worthy tribute to him.
On the evidence, he was the most suitable British Officer to take responsibility for commanding Anglo Canadian troops in the NW European Campaign. Montgomery learnt lessons from the 1940 French Campaign. He was a realistic about what a largely conscripted army might be capable of against a formidable German Army. He was an effective communicator, trainer and organiser. He devised a clear idea of how to defeat the German Army and did so in North Africa, and used those lessons to refine his methods in Normandy. The book 'Colossal Cracks' is a good companion to this book in describing this.
He damaged his reputation after command was handed over to Eisenhower. Possibly he was distracted by internal politics. He appeared at times petulant and less than professional. The book describes a loss of focus, with excessive risk taking and not identifying where his priorities should have been at Antwerp and Arnhem.
If he could be unpleasant and irritating to colleagues and Allies, It was as well he was. It was part of his overall character. He instilled a confidence in the British Army, a belief they were capable of defeating the Germans. His character enabled him to be the effective commander he was. He kept a 'grip'. People knew what he expected. The troops were informed about what to do and that they would win. If a 'nicer' 'chap' had been selected for Normandy, this might have been created too much consensus and drift in command. Think of Zhukov and Manstein; You need big (and little) bad bastards to win wars.
The final chapter provides important conclusions in describing British Political and Strategic pressures that Montgomery was aware of. The methods Montgomery used, set piece battles and avoiding excessive casualties enabled the British Army in 1945 to achieve these.
This is an excellent and important book that describes both advantages and shortcomings of both British/ Canadian and German Armies.

Stone Free
Stone Free
by Andrew Loog Oldham
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK ITS FANTASTIC, 3 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Stone Free (Paperback)
This is a magnificent book, the author has written a three volume history of his life and times. This is the final part of that trilogy. The sum total of the collection is one of the the most important accounts of the 60s, which artistically was the pivotal decade of the 20th Century. It has been written in a very direct style. It appears to be honest and gives unvarnished account of the people he met and worked with. This gives vivid portraits of various movers and shakers and is helpful because it humanises often 'legendary' characters. The accounts are some of the best descriptions of these characters who are otherwise elusive, such as Albert Grossman.
The book is very instructive to anyone wishing to become involved with music . If that sounds dull, I should add that his writing is very, very funny, reflective and at times poignant. The dedication to Brian Epstein is also very appropriate and kind.
This has only recently appeared in book form, and may account for the lack of reviews , but it really is and outstanding document. Perhaps in the future a publisher like Folio will give all three volumes the deluxe treatment they richly deserve. I hope that Andrew will continue to write, I earnestly recommend this

The Cry Of Love
The Cry Of Love
Price: £7.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPILE THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS, 2 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Cry Of Love (Audio CD)
When I purchased The Cry Of Love in 1971, I thought it was the best album collection Hendrix had recorded. I still think that this gives a clear indication that Hendrix' multiple skills as a musician and songwriter had become more varied and ambitious, and that it demonstrates that his great ability had never diminished. Tracks released subsequently on other posthumous releases also reinforce this view.
It is desperately sad that he never realised his own vision of a double album, and all that might have followed. Some of these recordings sound far more complete than others. The best of them are hair raising; Drifting, Ezy Rider, Night Bird Flying, Angel, In from the Storm. However on this album, and other subsequent releases, there are tracks which Hendrix would likely have been unhappy to see released. Not neccesarily because the material was bad, but because some tracks are evidently incomplete or have guide vocals.
This is the dilemma faced when somebody as talented dies; what do you do with the remaining material? how do you package it, what should or should not be selected? How do you dignify Hendrix memory? Back in 1971 I was grateful for the release of this and
subsequent albums. I think this collection was appropriate back at the time of release, plus It was graced with nice packaging.
Today, this appears to be just another reissue of commonly available tracks. It would be better for Experience Hendrix to start compiling multi-cd box sets of Hendrix' entire unreleased studio output. This would afford the opportunity to release every take, breakdown and overdub for the songs. (as opposed to Jams). A substantial amount of unreleased material has already leaked from the Hendrix vaults, why don't they compile the studio complete recordings. It would be a more valid project for experience Hendrix to become involved in. Go On!

Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile
Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile
by Robert Greenfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NEW LIGHT ON UNDER REPORTED TOUR, 26 Nov. 2014
This is an interesting read because the author was an eyewitness to the 1971 tour of the uk, which attracted comparatively little press coverage.
The original 1971 reportage of the tour published in Rolling Stone magazine by the author was collected in a Rolling Stones anthology "An Unauthorised Biography" edited by David Dalton, which remains one of the great Stones Books.
This book greatly expands on what the author previously wrote. There is also new material on the Marquee filming, the inteview he conducted with Keith in France, and the mixing of Exile in the USA.
It doesn't appear to exaggerate or distort what he saw. It also benefits from being written, from original notes a long time after events. This gives it the benefit of hindsight. There are some interesting observations and conclusions about the relationship between Jagger/Richards. and conversations with others who are now sadly deceased.
A small book, but essential if you are interested in classic period stones, before Mick Taylor sadly left. Its got a great cover as well.

Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972
Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972
Price: £44.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GIANT SPHINX IN A DESERT, 25 Nov. 2014
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This represents the apex of the Captain's career. Who else released four albums (inc. 'Trout') of such vision and ambition in the space of four years 1969-72.
Some people write it off as 'weird' What seems to be overlooked is beauty and the humour within these records, not just the Captain's lyrics and delivery, but the cover art, and the way the band itself plays these songs. Howlin Wolf is clearly an influence. I always thought that both Beefheart and Wolf could have played great Falstaffian characters in a Shakespeare play.
It isn't clear what the intent of these recordings was. What was achieved is a unique musical vision; a new blues based hybrid of music. He broke new ground. It doesn't matter that it wasn't influential and didn't change the course of music. It stands like a giant sphinx in a musical desert.
The remastering is most effective on 'Decals' and especially 'Spotlight Kid'. both recordings sound clearer, especially 'Spotlight', my favourite album.
The original vinyl issue was a very muddy mix which obscured much of the instrumentation. The reissue reveals the dual guitar attack of Zoot Horn Rollo and Winged Eel Fingerling which is magnificent. ' Clear Spot' always sounded great, due to the production work of Ted Templeman. Little has been changed, except that the instrumentation sounds less separated and this gives a more punchy effect on 'Long Neck Bottles' . I prefer the original mix on this. The slide on 'Big Eyed Beans' isn't as loud and distorted as on the original recording.
The unissued material is nice to have, and includes what sounds like an early run through of 'Pompadour Swamp'. This was later refined into a devastating opening instrumental performed by the Magic Band on the 1973 tours of North America and the UK. One can only hope that Rhino might find some professionally recorded live performances to release offficially.
The Magic Band should have been properly credited on this box set. The Captain was a catalyst, but the evidence of later recordings is that they were irreplaceable. Are we likely to see such a mighty, mighty band ever again?

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