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Next Week in Music | March 27 – April 2 • New Books

AC/DC, Cream, Elvis, Rufus, The Mac & Mann are in the stacks Read all about ’em:

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ’n’ roll. But it’s a short trip to the online bookstore if you wanna read about AC/DC, Cream, Elvis Presley, Rufus Thomas, Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Mann and more:


AC/DC at 50
By Martin Popoff

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in Australia in 1973, AC/DC became one of the most popular and best-selling bands in rock history with their loud, heavy, sweat-drenched, blues-based rock. This richly illustrated book from prolific rock journalist Martin Popoff pays tribute to the band on the occasion of their 50th anniversary by curating and examining the 50 most significant milestones. Popoff covers everything down through the decades: The role played by Angus and Malcolm Young’s older brother George; the songwriting, legendary antics, and tragic death of vocalist Bon Scott; the mega tours undertaken in support of the LPs; the debut of singer Brian Johnson on the band’s breakthrough Back in Black; the band’s fallow 1980s and 1990s resurgence; later difficulties such as Malcolm’s dementia and passing, along with the legal problems of drummer Phil Rudd; and, of course, each of the landmark studio LPs. In examining 50 touchstones, Popoff provides a unique presentation of AC/DC’s career arc from Sydney pub band to international mega-platinum stadium fillers. Every page is illustrated with stunning concert and candid offstage photography, including gig posters, 7″ picture sleeves, ticket stubs, and more. The result is an epic tribute to one of the most influential and admired bands in rock history — in a milestone year.”

Cream: Clapton, Bruce & Baker Sitting on Top of the World: San Francisco, February-March 1968
By Edoardo Genzolini

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cream, the hugely influential 1960s British rock power trio —  guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker — and the American city of San Francisco were a legendary pairing. The Fillmore Auditorium and Winterland were the venues where, in February and March 1968, the band’s live sound was first officially immortalized on tape and film. Yet, detailed coverage of those historic performances appears far from complete. Inaccurate documentation, as well as a devastating 1978 fire at the Atlantic Records audio archive, made the definitive chronicle of these famed shows difficult to construct. However, recent archival discoveries led author Edoardo Genzolini to look back at those days with a new perspective. This book presents his thorough documentation of Cream on and off the Fillmore and Winterland stages, when, during those two months of 1968, they really were sitting on top of the world. The author’s detailed analysis of all sets played by the band at both venues — recorded by Atlantic Records and filmed by legendary British documentary filmmaker Tony Palmer — and his precise look at which live performances ended up on which Cream albums present the definitive account for the first time. Also featured are rare, never-before-published concert photographs, presenting Cream at the height of their powers.”

Elvis Presley
By Otto Fuchs

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Elvis Aron Presley was born on Jan. 8, 1935, in a shack in Tupelo, Mississippi. Though he was born a twin, his brother — who had been named Jesse Garon — was tragically stillborn. Elvis died on Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of just 42, in his Graceland mansion. His death marked something significant in the collective mind, like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King. Conspiracy theories took off about the circumstances surrounding his death: Was Elvis murdered by the mob? Was his death faked? Did Elvis commit suicide? Is he still alive? This book sheds new light on many of these questions, while also celebrating his music and legacy. Presley played a central and vital role in the development of rockabilly music, drawing as he did on a vast range of styles, from the Gospel music of his southern youth to the country music of the Midwest. This book is dedicated to Elvis: The artist, the human being, and The King.”

Funkiest Man Alive: Rufus Thomas and Memphis Soul
By Matthew Ruddick

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rufus Thomas may not be a household name, but he is widely regarded as the patriarch of Memphis R&B, and his music influenced three generations. His first singles in the early 1950s were recorded as blues transitioned into R&B, and he was arguably one of the founding fathers of early rock ’n’ roll. In the early 1960s, his songs The Dog and Walking the Dog made a huge impact on the emerging British mod scene, influencing the likes of Georgie Fame, The Rolling Stones and The Who. And in the early 1970s, Thomas rebranded himself as the ‘funkiest man alive’ and recorded funk classics that were later sampled by the likes of Public Enemy, Missy Elliot and The Wu-Tang Clan. In Funkiest Man Alive: Rufus Thomas and Memphis Soul, Matthew Ruddick reveals the amazing life and career of Thomas, who started as a dancer in the minstrel shows that toured the South before becoming one of the nation’s early African American disc jockeys, and then going on to record the first hit singles for both Chess Records and Stax Records. Ruddick also examines the social fabric of the city of Memphis, analyzing the factors behind the vast array of talent that appeared in the late 1950s, with singers like Isaac Hayes, William Bell, Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), and Thomas’s eldest daughter Carla Thomas, all emerging from the tightly knit African American community. He also tells the story of Memphis-based Stax Records, one of the nation’s leading R&B record labels. From the earliest blues, the segregated minstrel shows, and the birth of rock ’n’ roll through to the emergence of R&B and funk, Thomas saw it all.”

Earth Angels: The Short Lives and Controversial Deaths of Three R&B Pioneers
By Steve Bergsman

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recording and performing in the early 1950s, Jesse Belvin, Guitar Slim and Johnny Ace produced at least 13 Top 25 hits between the three of them. All but forgotten in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll, these artists have influenced musicians as varied as Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and generations of soul singers. Their songs have been covered by artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Luther Vandross and Paul Simon. In Earth Angels: The Short Lives and Controversial Deaths of Three R&B Pioneers, Steve Bergsman affords readers a view of the lives and careers of three influential artists who left us much too soon. Bergsman notes in his introduction that this lack of notoriety is partly due to their untimely deaths. Belvin, a crooner whose Goodnight My Love became the closing theme to famed disc jockey Alan Freed’s radio show, was killed in a head-on collision along with his wife just after performing at the first racially integrated concert in Little Rock; he was 27. Slim, whose million-selling The Things I Used to Do has been re-recorded by both Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, died in New York City at the age of 32 due to pneumonia possibly induced by alcoholism. Ace’s Pledging My Love spent 10 weeks at the top position on Billboard’s R&B chart. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 25. Bergsman’s meticulous research and entertaining narrative style seeks to restore the credit denied these artists by their untimely deaths.”

Decades: Fleetwood Mac in the 1980s
By Don Klees

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Out of the dozen different line-ups since Fleetwood Mac formed in 1967, there’s only one incarnation that truly matters for most listeners. During their time together, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham created some of popular music’s most enduring records, including 1977’s Rumours. Written and recorded as multiple relationships within the band were collapsing, the landmark album became a worldwide hit that still attracts new fans. Disbanding might have been the rational response to the turmoil surrounding the making of that album, but they continued touring and recording even as tensions within the group continued to accumulate. Although Fleetwood Mac only recorded two albums together in the 1980s, four of the five members released solo albums that brought their individual contributions to the band into focus. After the group splintered in the late-1980s, it took a request from a U.S. president to fix it, if only temporarily. The underlying tension between the band members’ individual and group efforts — the truth that they worked best together but could only do so for limited periods — continues to the present day and reflects that even more so than the 1970s, the 1980s were the pivotal decade for Fleetwood Mac.”

Decades: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in the 1970s
By John Van Der Kiste

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Having moved from jazz, blues and R&B to out-and-out pop in his various 1960s bands, keyboard player Manfred Mann went back to the drawing board in 1971 with a new quartet, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, and the intention of focusing on progressive rock. With a repertoire that leant partly on radical rearrangements of songs by Bob Dylan and then Bruce Springsteen, largely instrumental epics that borrowed from Gustav Holst’s suite The Planets, and improvisations based around the interplay between Manfred’s newly acquired Moog synthesiser and the lead guitar of Mick Rogers, who left in 1975 but later returned, they soon built up a formidable live reputation throughout much of Europe (particularly in Germany) and America. Apart from the Holst-inspired Joybringer, a top 10 hit in 1973, British success was slow in coming, until a cover version of Springsteen’s Blinded by the Light and its parent album The Roaring Silence three years later took their status to a new level on both sides of the Atlantic. This book examines the nine albums, fluctuating fortunes and various lineup changes from what was to be their best and most prolific decade.”

Guitar Family Trees: The History of the World’s Most Iconic Guitars
By Terry Burrows

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This striking visual catalog charts the histories of the most prominent and sought after guitars and their manufacturers, including such household names as Gibson, Martin, Rickenbacker and Fender. From the RickenbackerFrying Pan” of the 1930s to the iconic Stratocaster to the most state-of-the-art guitars of today, hundreds of guitars are included in this comprehensive guide. Features: A history of over 200 guitars, revealing the inspirations and intents behind every model; easy-to-read specification charts listing every detail; gorgeous, full-page photographs of every guitar, plus photographs of artists who played them best; commentary on which artist played each guitar best and which album features its particular sound. Whether you play guitar or just admire them, this captivating journey into the world of guitars is a visual feast for every guitar lover.”