BOOKS

  • The Sun & the Moon & The Rolling Stones – By Rich Cohen

    Review by Des Cowley. The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones – By Rich Cohen (pb, Hachette Australia) When a review copy of Rich Cohen’s new book arrived unsolicited in the mail a few weeks back, my first thought was: does the world need another book on the ...
  • This Will Explain Everything – Jeff Duff (Melbourne Books)

    Review by Ian McFarlane. This will explain everything  – Jeff Duff (Melbourne Books, 2016) It’s 1975 and renowned Melbourne jazz rock combo Kush are performing at a fancy dress ball for students of Ballarat Art College in rural Victoria. In honour of the outrageous decadence that the art ball promises, flamboyant, androgynous ...
  • Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll

    Reviewed by Des Cowley.  Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll By Peter Guralnick (pb, Hachette) Let’s be clear from the outset: Peter Guralnick is, hands down, one of the great music writers working today. From early classics like Lost Highway (1979), through to his biographies of Elvis ...
  • City On Fire

    Reviewed by Roy Trakin. Garth Risk Hallberg – City On Fire (Alfred A. Knopf) This sprawling, 900-page Dickensian/Proustian novel takes place in New York City in the midst of its mid-‘70s Gerald Ford “Drop Dead” decline, its Lower East Side slums giving way to a punk rock upheaval, culminating ...
  • Chryssie Hynde – My Life As A Pretender

    Reviewed by Roy Trakin. Chrissie Hynde, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender (Doubleday) A surprisingly dour, joyless memoir that waits until it’s more than two-thirds through before introducing the band which made her famous, Chrissie Hynde’s All-American Midwest girl turned U.K. punk icon is a picaresque tale ...
  • Allen Klein: Misunderstood Mover And Shaker?

    By Roy Trakin. Fred Goodman, Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock ‘n’ Roll (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Another misunderstood behind-the-scenes mover and shaker, accountant-turned-manager Allen Klein — gets the revisionist treatment in the third of noted author Goodman’s trilogy exploring ...
  • Robert Christgau – Going Into The City

    Review by Roy Trakin. Robert Christgau – Going into the City (Dey Street/HarperCollins) Yes, boys and girls, there was such a job as rock critic in the latter part of the 20th century. People got paid – like now, not very much – to sit and review records and, in the case ...
  • Buried Country

    “One of the most significant books ever to chronicle Australian music and cultural history…” Review by Ian McFarlane. Buried Country, The Story Of Aboriginal Country Music (Revised and Updated Edition), Clinton Walker, Verse Chorus Press (352 pages) On its original publication in 2000, Buried Country was a revelation. I thought – and still ...
  • A Journey Towards Cultural Freedom (And Bob Dylan) ‘On Highway 61’

    The musicians and writers whose art presaged and influenced The Sixties. Review by Michael Goldberg.  On Highway 61 – Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, Dennis McNally, Counterpoint Press (471 pages) Let me start at the end and tell you that the final section of  On Highway 61, some 120 pages, provides the ...
  • Des Cowley’s Music Books of 2014

    1. Clothes clothes clothes music music music boys boys boys by Viv Albertine (Faber) Viv Albertine, guitarist with the Slits, lays her life bare in this brutally frank account of her punk and post-punk adventures. She proves to be so engaging, I found myself falling just a little bit in love ...
  • Brian Jones: The Making Of The Rolling Stones, By Paul Trynka (Viking)

    Reviewed by Andrew Hamlin. The cover for Paul Trynka’s new Brian Jones biography shows the striped-sweatered subject uncharacteristically sticking his tongue out as he ponders his guitar neck. Actually, the photo, from John “Hoppy” Hopkins, show a uncharacteristic Jones on at least three counts—the tongue, the bumblebee-striped sweater, ...
  • True Love Scars – Michael Goldberg

    True Love Scars – By Michael Goldberg (Neumu Press, pb) Reviewed by Des Cowley Readers of this website will no doubt be familiar with the name Michael Goldberg. Aside from posting regular music reviews and features for Addicted to Noise, he also authors the online column The Drama You’ve Been ...
  • Boogie Man – Charles Shaar Murray

    ‘Charles Shaar Murray’s book deserves its status as a classic.’ Reviewed by Des Cowley. Boogie Man: the Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century By Charles Shaar Murray (Cannongate) Charles Shaar Murray, one of England’s finest music journalists, published his monumental biography of John Lee ...
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah

    “Yeah Yeah Yeah is nothing less than a tour de force, a panoramic monster of a book.” Reviewed by Des Cowley. Yeah Yeah Yeah: the Story of Modern Pop By Bob Stanley (Faber & Faber) Ok, let’s get it out there from the start: Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah ...
  • Wild Tales – Graham Nash

    “At the core of his life has been a passion for making music.” By Des Cowley. Wild Tales: a Rock & Roll Life – By Graham Nash (Viking / Penguin Books) Let’s face it: Graham Nash always seemed like the nice one out of Crosby, Stills & Nash. His beautiful, gentle, ...
  • Punk 45: The Singles Cover Art of Punk 1976-1980

    Review by Des Cowley. Soul Jazz founder Stuart Baker has teamed up with punk historian historian Jon Savage. Punk 45: the Singles Cover Art of Punk 1976-1980 – Edited by John Savage & Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Books) London-based Soul Jazz Records is known primarily for its pioneering anthologies and re-issues, covering ...
  • Morrissey – Autobiography

    By Des Cowley Autobiography By Morrissey (Penguin Classics) There was a veritable media frenzy over the publication of Steven Patrick Morrissey’s (or Moz or Mozza to his fans) autobiography. The fact that his memoir has been issued, at Morrissey’s instigation, in Penguin’s black classic series – normally reserved ...
  • Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir

    ‘It’s a rosy re-telling, one that harbors little bitterness or chagrin.’ Review by Des Cowley. Simple Dreams: a Musical Memoir By Linda Ronstadt (Simon & Schuster) Perhaps what genuinely sets Linda Ronstadt apart from her musical peers in the early seventies – Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young – was that ...
  • The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun

    ‘A towering, larger than life figure.’ By Des Cowley The Last Sultan: the Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun By Robert Greenfield (Simon & Schuster) Anyone with a passing interest in rhythm & blues, jazz, or rock music will probably be familiar with the name Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic ...
  • Mingus Speaks

    Review by Des Cowley. ‘It’s fair to say that Charles Mingus was a giant of a man in every way.’ Mingus Speaks By John F Goodman (University of California Press, h/b) It’s fair to say that Charles Mingus was a giant of a man in every way. ...