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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Bringing It All Back Home
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on 9 July 2013
This book left a lasting impression on me. It was clear from just the first few pages that here was a warm hearted man with a love for life and for people with all their flaws. I absolutely love his lust for adventure and the fact that in the face of any adversity life throws at him he retains an indelible sense of decency. After reading the book I really thought I knew him such was the openness with which he tackles all subjects no matter how difficult they may be. The tragic last few chapters could have been the centrepiece of the book but really were only part of the story. That particular chapter of his life is dealt with in much greater detail in the following book Our Billie. This book instead celebrates his love of music, of freedom and life. Rarely do I find myself laughing and crying in the same book - not many people have the ability to do that but Ian Clayton is blessed. I am also deeply touched that despite the unbearably dark times he must have faced with the loss of his young daughter he manages to celebrate the short time she was here and recall the lovely things about her and how they left a telling impression on him, his partner and his son. Truly remarkable. One guy I would love to share a pint with. Oh and he has a dislike of Tories - what's not to love?
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on 8 August 2008
I loved this book! Not only did the musical reference points invoke long forgotten memories and recapture some of my own personal experiences, but put me through the emotional wringer as the author eloquently describes the tragic, ridiculous and marvellous with demonstrable Yorkshire wit. Ian clayton illustrates the personal meaning of music as a powerful trigger for re-experiencing time and place which are demonstrated vividly through his diverse experiences which span continents. Clayton traces musical connections from his home town of Featherstone, a monolithic mining village in West Yorkshire, across the world and back again. It is fascinating to encounter the before and after effects of this voyage of discovery on the young Ian. The enthusiasm with which Clayton embraces his world of discovery is infectious, upon completing reading this book, I wanted more. This book is a compulsive, emotionally intelligent read which is about more than just music. It is a soundtrack to a life and about a curious mind refusing to accept the imposed boundaries and norms of working class northern life. If I could encapsulate this book's main message in a short phrase, it would read "Be yourself, respect the boundaries of others, but expand your own horizons".
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on 27 September 2007
Everything reminds me of something. I have filled my
house and my head with things; books, records,
paintings, stories; souvenirs that have no meaning
except to me. Sometimes I think my house is my head
and my head has become my house.

Ian Clayton 'Bringing it all back home'

I am not normally a person who trots out superlatives
but I can honestly say Ian Clayton's book is one of
the best ever written about music. And 'Bringing it
all back home' will make sense to anyone who
understands the intrinsic value of collecting music
and savouring memories. We live in an age, where we
are constantly advised to get rid and de-junk our
homes (minds?) and Ian's book is a vindication that
holding on to things does matter and to treasure old
LP's is a perfectly normal and justifiable thing to

It is always hard when you review a book not to give
to much away. I think ultimately you want people to
get hold of it and read it for themselves. Ian's book
is a very special thing indeed. Some books about music
are very cold and academic and leave the reader very
much on the outside. But Ian's book is funny, moving,
wise........all the things that we would expect really
from a Yorkshireman. The last chapter about the
tragic death of his daughter, Billie Holiday Clayton
is one of the moving passages I've ever read. I hope
I've said enough to make you want to get hold of this
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on 6 June 2010
Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been consumed by music and books. As a kid I practically lived in the library and the vast majority of my working life has now been spent in record retailing. Suffice to say, therefore, that over the years I've read many 'music' books. Some have been dreadful, a few sublime, but most have just been pretty entertaining and, were I lucky enough, informed me of a few things previously unknown. The kind of books to be read, put down and more or less forgotten about. Never before have I found a 'music book' which has affected me as much as Ian Clayton's beautifully written "Bringing It All Back Home". This astonishing work is Ian's personal homage to the powerful effect great music can have on our lives. It's a compelling, perceptive, joyful and laugh out loud read, until an unimaginably appalling tragedy at the very end hits the reader like a brick in the face. Any one of our lives may be suddenly affected by untold joy or immense sadness. This thoughtful, intimate, and ultimately sanguine and life-affirming memoir is testimony to the fact that we should try to embrace every moment.
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on 1 December 2008
I bought this book to take on holiday with me to Corsica. The other book I bought was Peter Falk's collection of memories and anecdotes. But Bringing it all Back Home (BIABH) was the one I was really looking forward to reading so I raced through the Peter Falk book which was funny and light, occasionally moving. An appetiser.
I started BIABH by the pool. As the kids battled with an inflatable Turtle and a giant yellow armchair in the warm swimming pool I headed back to England, then on to India and the USA and back to England, I travelled first class by word and music.
What I loved about this book was that from the off it seemed like I knew Ian Clayton. He seemd to be able to get inside my heart, make me laugh and in the end cry, with a simple and easy charm. I also learned some odd facts that I still recount whenever I get into a big discussion about music with my friends, Jimi Hendrix queuing for fish and chips in Ilkley, the owner of Batley Variety Club trying to get Elvis to play there and the sad tale of Billie Holiday's death.
I will stop now, at Billie.
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on 9 December 2009
This is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read about music.

Every chapter is like a visit to your favourite record shop; not just refreshing your memory about songs and albums you've heard and loved in the past but also introducing you to new artists and labels to try.

The author is a wonderful story teller and I quickly warmed to his obvious passion, not just for music, but for life generally. Like all of us, he has a reason why he likes a certain artist or song, and he is open and honest about those reasons(from his formative years growing up in Yorkshire at the time of the moon landings to his family's tragic loss just a few years ago). By the end of the book you feel like you're conversing with an old friend who's wide and varied taste in music you can trust. Personally this book has introduced me to several genres of music and artists which I never dreamed I would have in my collection.

If you love music buy this book for yourself. If you have friends and family who love music buy it for them. You and they will not be disappointed.
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on 15 July 2013
When someone gave me this book to read and said that they thought I would enjoy it, I wasn't so sure. However, it seems that they know me better than I know myself.

Much of the music Ian Clayton mentions I have never heard of but I could identify with some aspects of the places he's lived, worked and travelled to and the characters he's met along the way. I identify with them partly because I know some of them but also because they hold similarities to mine and probably everyone's life experiences. It was amazing though how many people he had met from different walks of life. Every so often Ian inserts an incident or a wry comment that had me howling with laughter (and I hope the neighbours didn't hear as I read in the garden). He knows how to write to create an emotion whether it is comical, happy or sad. I remember reading about his daughter Billie in the past but it was still heart wrenchingly sad to read about it here.

This isn't just a book, it's a journey of experiences that were worth sharing.
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on 13 November 2009
Ian writes with warmth, humour and love for the family and friends and the Yorkshire that he grew up in. It is with great anticipation that we hear about his musical discoveries and love of books and then his travels across continents to connect with people and other cultures and share with them a passion and love of music. He has a great ear for the human voice, and reading the book was almost like watching a film, the pages came alive before my eyes. He narrates with real honesty, and is brave enough to share both the highlights and the tragedies that his family have been through.
I recognised the landscape of my youth, Ian has painted it perfectly. His eclectic taste in music and love of people shine throughout.
I took this book into hospital with me and read out bits to the other patients, who wanted to know what I was giggling about!
A good read.....nice xmas pressie, a reminder of the importance of roots, connection, community and the unifying bond that music can give to people.
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on 10 May 2010
As an avid reader it's not too unusual to find a book that I really enjoy but very occasionally I read something that moves me to my soul. Bringing It All Back Home is such a book.

I read it first back in October 2009 and devoured it in one sitting. As a lover of music and of music history I connected with the musical subject matter from the off but it was Ian's descriptions of the place he grew up, the places he has visited and the people he has met that really drew me in. He writes with authority but also with tremendous warmth and it's impossible not to be moved. You smile, laugh, feel bemused, frown and, sadly, eventually, cry. No emotion is left untouched.

I have just read the book again having just returned from Featherstone and Pontefract and it is even more real and heartbreaking this time around.

Buy this book - you will never be disappointed - and when you finish it buy it as a present for someone you love who will appreciate its beauty. They will thank you forever.
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on 28 February 2010
I came across this book in a Waterstones in London and thought it looked interesting. Within about 20 pages i was enthralled. Although I'm aware of them, I can't say I am a fan of many of the artists in the book but i found myself make a list in the inside cover to check in the future and have since been spotifying them to add a soundtrack to the story. It works as a discography of the writers life but also a social history of world music and how sounds created in the far reaches of the world can mean so much to someone at the opposite end of the map. I get the impression that Ian Clayton could write about any subject and i'd enjoy it just as much, personally as a fan of travel books and music books i'd say BIABH works on both those levels and more, since finishing it i've had an urge to find a mate with a van and drive across Europe sourcing new music and trying to fit as much into my life as the writer of this book.

Fantastic book, couldnt speak more highly of it!
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