Houston In the '60s Was a Happening Place

Photos courtesy of Vicki Welch Ayo
The Larry Kane Show
One day, in the distant future, hopefully there will be a Vicki Welch Ayo to document Houston's present-day music scene. If so, that person must now be a dedicated and adventurous showgoer, someone who is enthusiastic about the current acts and venues, and who cares about local music enough to one day look back at it with unabashed love and respect.

That's what Ayo did for the 1960s Houston rock scene in her book, Boys From Houston. Released just over a year ago and weighing in at more than 400 pages, it's a glance back at the players who sowed the seeds for today's Houston music landscape.

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Pimp C's Story Coming Soon to Bookstores

Photo by Ray Tamarra/OZONE
L-R: UGK's Bun B and Pimp C at the 2006 OZONE Awards
The life of Pimp C is coming back -- in hardcover format.

Julia Beverly, the former editor-in-chief of OZONE Magazine and noted documentarian of Southern hip-hop culture at large, is planning to release an biography on the late UGK rapper, who died in 2007. Currently untitled, the book comes with the blessing of Pimp's mother, the late Weslyn "Mama C" Monroe and is set to detail his life, career and untimely death with vivid accuracy.

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Bio Paints Complex Portrait of AC/DC's Mighty Youngs

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC
By Jesse Fink, 320 pp., $25.99.

The mere mention of AC/DC to even the most casual of fans will bring up one image: the short, frenetic guitarist Angus Young dressed as a schoolboy and running around the stage like a maniac -- even while pushing 60 years of age, and sometimes making his own devil horns. He may not be the lead singer, but when the crowd chants "AN-GUS! AN-GUS!" during "Thunderstruck," there's no doubt as to who the real front man is for the group.

Diehard fans and writers who know a bit more about the band dynamics might tell you that it's quiet rhythm guitarist Malcolm who really calls the shots, while overlooking them both is older brother George.

George was never in the group, but was a crucial developer of the band's sound (especially in the early days) and the whiz in the studio, utilizing knowledge first learned as a member of the Easybeats, who had a worldwide hit in 1966 with "Friday on My Mind."

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Ballad of History's "Record Men" Sings Familiar Tune

Categories: Get Lit

Photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
L-R: The great record men Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun in 1960
Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry
By Gareth Murphy
Thomas Dunne Books, 400 pp., $27.99

For a music-industry executive, label head, A&R scout, producer or agent, there was once no higher praise than to be known far and wide as a "real record man."

That meant you were someone who wasn't simply concerned with the bottom line of deals and financial figures, but a person who actually gave a shit about the artists and the music they produced -- whether it was something following that week's trend or a piece of work that would outlive anybody involved with its creation.

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How Paul McCartney Spread His Wings In the '70s

Uncut Magazine
Wings at their peak - the mid '70s lineup: Jimmy McColluch (guitar), Joe English (drums), Linda McCartney (keyboards), Paul McCartney (vocals/bass), and Denny Laine (guitar/vocals)
Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s
By Tom Doyle
Ballantine, 288 pp., $27

While mighty expanses of forests have sacrificed themselves to create all the pages written about Paul McCartney's time as a Beatle, the ensuing post-breakup decade has killed far fewer trees. The 1970s found McCartney both trying to both build on his musical reputation as a Fab and distance himself from the already-looming legend, as both the leader of the ever-shifting lineup of Wings and a solo artist.

Now author Tom Doyle has added a valuable entry into the Beatles Bookshelf with this effort. Fascinating because, as he says, two words summed up Paul in the '70s: struggle and escape. That's illustrated with the book's core sources: several lengthy firsthand interviews Doyle and subject have had over the years for various music publications, plus new talks with band members and associates and research.

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Kinks Bio Shows Davies Brothers Brawling to This Day

Original Kinky Kinks: Ray Davies (vocals/guitar), Dave Davies (guitar), Mick Avory (drums) and Pete Quaife (bass).
God Save the Kinks: A Biography
By Rob Jovanovic
Quarto Publishing Group, 330 pp., $14.95

As battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies continue to go back and forth with each other -- and in the press -- with sometimes wholly different views on what if anything the Kinks will do to mark their 50th anniversary, this new bio offers a fresh and insightful look into the band's music and history.

Jovanovic. who has also written books on the Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Big Star, Kate Bush, and R.E.M., pens a brisk and often hilarious narrative. He utilizes both previously published material including the brothers own books, Ray's X-Ray and Dave's Kink, and the more than two dozen original interviews conducted with band members, business associates, fellow musicians, fans, and journalists.

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The Rolling Stones' Rocky Road to Exile on Main Street

Photos courtesy of Mirrorpix/Da Capo Press
Two Birds of a Feather: Bianca and Mick Jagger arrive for the first show of the Stones' 1971 "farewell" tour of England in 1971
Ain't It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones on the Road to Exile
By Robert Greenfield
Da Capo Press, 196 pp. $25.99.

Like estranged lovers who can't quite quilt each other, music journalist Robert Greenfield and the Rolling Stones have kept coming back together through the decades...at least in print. His first book on the band, S.T.P.: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, was his personal, fly-on-the-wall account of much of the band's famously debauched 1972 tour in support of Exile on Main Street.

More than 30 years later came Exile on Main St: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, the definitive account of the making of what many consider the band's best record. In this slim, third effort, Greenfield takes an even more personal memoir, mostly of his experiences in the band's 1971 "Farewell" tour of England before they became (temporarily) tax exiles on France, And where they put down much of Exile.

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Pogues Accordionist Squeezes Out Anarchic Band's Story

Categories: Get Lit

The Pogues circa 1990
Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues
By James Fearnley
Chicago Review Press, 416 pp., $18.95.

It's interesting to note that, despite their status as one of the contemporary groups most identified with traditional Irish music, none of the members of the Pogues are actually Irish. Nevertheless, their insertion of punk-rock energy into the familiar sounds, instruments and themes of the Land of Erin have made records like Red Roses for Me, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash and If I Should Fall from Grace With God essential listening.

Accordionist James Fearnley has been with the band since its 1982 formation, when the group was called Pogue Mahone; roughly translated into "Kiss my ass," they changed it for obvious reasons. He offers this memoir (or, as he calls it, "creative non-fiction") of his run with the group from its early days to their 1991 sacking of troubled front man Shane MacGowan.

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Bill Medley Still Having the Time of His Life

Categories: Get Lit

Orange County Archives via Flickr
L-R: Righteous Brothers Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley at Knott's Berry Farm, date unknown
"I thought it was going to get easier by age 73...I guess I was wrong!"

Bill Medley is speaking to Rocks Off from the back of a car somewhere on the streets of New York City on the way to a radio interview as part of a whirlwind press tour for two projects.

First for one-half of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted duo the Righteous Brothers is his autobiography, The Time of My Life (Da Capo, 228 pp., $26.99), written with Mike Marino. And then there's a new CD, Your Heart to Mine: Dedicated to the Blues (Fuel 2000), in which one of the originators of "blue-eyed soul" tackles a bevy of blues and soul standards including "Drowned In My Own Tears," "Your Precious Love," "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and "This Magic Moment."

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Paul Stanley's New Book Looks Like the Most Reliable KISStory to Date

Photo by Neil Zlozower/Courtesy of HarperOne
KISS in their '70s prime
Face the Music: A Life Exposed
By Paul Stanley
HarperOne, 480 pp., $28.99

With the publication of this glitter-, greasepaint- and leather-slathered tome, all four original members of KISS have now penned their autobiographies.

Not surprisingly, as one astute Web site pointed out recently by comparing the quartet - their memories and opinions of the same shared incidents don't always coincide. Or even come close to similarity.

Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley, aka "The Starchild," always seemed like the most level-headed member of the group. Now he has written the best memoir of the four with the most insightful -- and probably accurate -- reading of KISStory.

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