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Terry Labach has commented on (5) products.

When I Left Home: My Story by Buddy Guy
When I Left Home: My Story

Terry Labach, January 2, 2013

Although the conversational tone of the book needs to be edited away, Buddy Guy's autobiography is a rich tale of his journey from the south to the bright lights of Chicago. Guy has seen it all, and shares his experiences and his meetings with the blues greats - Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed. He has been a student of the vibrant Chicago scene, a mentor to new generations of black and white blues artists, and is an incomparable showman and raconteur.
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The Vinyl Countdown: The Album from LP to iPod and Back Again by Travis Elborough
The Vinyl Countdown: The Album from LP to iPod and Back Again

Terry Labach, September 20, 2011

As a dedicated vinyl listener, what first attracted me to this book
was the subtitle: "...from LP to iPod and Back Again". The vinyl LP
has remained surprisingly durable and long-lived, decades after its
invention. Travis Elborough offers a simultaneous history of pop
music, global culture, and the stereophonic advance of technology.

Elborough celebrates the complete sensual nature of the LP - the
extended listening time compared to a 78, the feel and ritual of
placing it on the turntable, and iconic album covers. He also
draws attention to some of its other cultural effects of the LP, from
Frank Sinatra to Sgt. Pepper, from DJs to Run DMC.

The book does suffer from some rather long bouts of meandering where
we are treated to the author's unique view of the history of popular
music. His anecdotes and comments (both sarcastic and loving) are
still enjoyable to read.
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Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd by Mark Blake
Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd

Terry Labach, April 20, 2011

I doubt that there is any source of information on Pink Floyd that was not tapped by Mark Blake for his massive and complete biography of this innovative group of musicians.

Blake, an experienced music writer, searched, interviewed, collected articles from numerous sources, and coalesced his research into a fascinating tale. The unlikely growth of a psychedelic university band into stadium rock stars is hard to envision, especially after the sacking of founder and mentally ill creative genius Syd Barrett made some doubt the survival, let alone the success, of the band. Blake takes us through the band's journey in detail through their ups and downs (the former generally leading to the latter).

Pink Floyd is one of the few timeless bands (consider that their album Dark Side of The Moon remained in the US top 100 for 1,558 weeks!) Blake manages to make a sort of sense of their successes and failures. There could be a concept album about their own history as a band.

If you want to know how the music of Pink Floyd came to be, there is no better source than this book.
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Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason
Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd

Terry Labach, April 20, 2011

This is a beautiful book, and fans of Pink Floyd will certainly love to have it on their coffee tables.

Nick Mason, Pink Floyd's drummer, appointed himself the historian of the band early in their career - even before it was clear that that band would have any substantial history. His collection of memories, photos, and contacts has enabled him to compile an impressionistic, but full, memoir of the band's rise and fall and rebirth.

Mason is the only person who has been a member of all incarnations of Pink Floyd, and is the only person who can bring a complete internal perspective to the band's history.

It is not a complete history - some of the messy divorces that beset the band members are glossed over - but we do learn much about the organic creative process that the band created. Honed by their willingness to experiment with all things musical, their unusual production methods let them create masterpieces like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. But the stresses on the band, and the chafing of some members at the single-minded mission of leader Roger Waters in creating The Wall, destroyed the band, a process we read about, and wince at.

There is a bit of a happy ending. Although not fully reconciled, the members were able to reunite for a charity concert and remained civil, if not always friendly to each other afterwards.
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King's Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game by Paul Hoffman
King's Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World's Most Dangerous Game

Terry Labach, June 13, 2008

I had an inkling of how odd the world of chess players was, thanks to my son who showed early chess promise and success, until he gave the game up to play guitar.

But the obsessives of the chess world remain largely hidden to most of us. King's Gambit is one of a number of recent books that opens up that world. Paul Hoffman, former editor of Discover magazine, brings his writing talent to bear on both the world of chess and his troubled relationship with his father. Hoffman, himself a chess talent, was introduced to the game by his father.

Readers of "Searching for Bobby Fischer" will recognize many of the venues, characters, and observations. In some ways Hoffman's book feels as both prequel and sequel to the earlier book, as he records his travels around the world, attending tournaments and meeting players at all levels. Gossip about Kasparov and Kramnik is interspersed with his memories of his youth, his parents, and his chess.

For chess nuts, or anyone who has struggled with their parents, this book is highly recommended.
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(6 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

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