Monday, June 18, 2012

Musical Memoirs are now @ your library

My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman

Kirkus Reviews –

Assisted by rock journalist Light (The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys, 2006, etc.), Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Allman confronts the ghosts of his past and emerges with new insight into the familial and artistic bonds that bound--and continue to bind--the Allman Brothers Band. Addicted to drugs and alcohol for much of his adult life and married multiple times, the author certainly has a hayloft full of celebrity scandal to sift through. While ABB's principal songwriter and lead vocalist covers all of his lowlights, he's much more interested in exploring the fantastic blend of blues, rock and jazz that so famously bonded he and late brother Duane to four other maverick musicians starting in the late 1960s. This is a story about musical brotherhood. With gentlemanly charm and compassion, the author vividly recounts how a guitar first transformed the lives of two restless boys living in Florida with their widowed mom. Allman's portrayal of his complicated relationship with Duane is rich and moving. Although dead by the age of 24 following a tragic motorcycle crash, Duane (considered one of the greatest guitar players of all-time) nonetheless looms large in these pages. The author's ability to share his enduring guilt in the aftermath of Duane's tragic passing is nothing less than profound. After successfully receiving a new liver in 2010, Allman appears to have at least one more silver dollar left in his pocket. As his many-faceted memoir so effectively demonstrates, the road does, indeed, go on forever for the Allman Brothers Band. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years.

A Natural Woman by Carole King

Kirkus Reviews –

An acclaimed singer-songwriter invites fans into her personal life. When King embarked on her Living Room Tour in 2004, she re-created onstage the atmosphere that millions had come to expect from the slew of albums she recorded from the 1970s onward. Tapestry, her breakthrough 1971 album, not only became a bestseller and a benchmark for women's achievements in the music industry but also introduced the down-to-earth, optimistic and liberated worldview of a woman with some timely stories to tell. King's trajectory mirrored that of many of her fellow musical peers. Bitten by the music bug at an early age and subsequently converted to rock 'n' roll in the '50s, she began writing her own songs, landing a record deal at the age of 15. She would experience far greater success, however, when she and co-songwriter Gerry Goffin turned out hit after hit for such artists as Aretha Franklin, the Shirelles and the Monkees. Having married Goffin when she was 17, King spent most of the '60s balancing her career with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Change was in the air, though, and when her marriage deteriorated, she set off for Los Angeles to seek her own voice. That voice comes through strongly on every page of this memoir, an engaging assortment of recollections comprising a journey that started in her working-class Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, took her to Manhattan and Laurel Canyon and saw her escape what Joni Mitchell called "the star maker machinery" to settle in rural Idaho. In one of the book's best sections, King explains her decision to retreat from fame in the mid '70s, chronicling the joys and sorrows of going "back to the land" as well as the tempestuous relationships she had with two men during this period. She is also refreshingly candid about her four marriages. A warm, winning read that showcases baby-boomer culture at its best.

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