Friday, October 17, 2008

Lost classics. Hidden Gems. Amazing Stories

"The Rough Guide To the Best Music You've Never Heard" is in da house. Never heard? Well, i guess most of this blog's well educated readers know most of these artists to some degree. Among our artists, that have got their own chapters, are Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Gong and Henry Cow ("Prog and Proud"!) and Nick Drake, Nico and Ivor Cutler ("Outsiders, the musicians that never fitted in").

First question, when holding a book like this: Do we really need it, in the times of the internet, when it's so easy to find information? Well, let's suppose that the authors are quite smart, and it's always nice with some reading on paper, so OK, I don't regret buying it. We are served short biographies, some good references and a few juicy stories.
The authors also have (5-10) listening suggestions for each artist. When it comes to Robert Wyatt, they suggest we listen to "Rock Bottom" (all of it), "Moon in June", "Oh Caroline", "Shipbuilding" and "Strange Fruit". Fair enough.
Fred Frith, Peter Blegvad and John Greaves don't get their own chapters, but fall into the Henry Cow bag. Towards the end of the Henry Cow chapter we read this: "In 1998 they reformed for "Ca Va", their first album in 23 years. Needless to say, the record sank without a trace. It wouldn't really have been Henry Cow otherwise." No it wouldn't, "Ca Va" would be a Slapp Happy album, with Anthony Moore, Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause. Wouldn't it?

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