"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Song Man" by Will Hodgkinson

This is such a charming book on a thirty-something British man's attempt to write songs. Especially when he doesn't have any obvious talents in doing so. So what he has done is made a goal for himself to write some songs and record them.

And with that in mind he interviews Andrew Loog Oldham, Lawrence (from Felt), Andrew Webber, Ray Davies, Richard Hawley, Lamont Dozier, Jake Holmes, Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Keith Richards, Chip Taylor, among others about the nature, the craft and the art of songwriting. And on top of that he interviews Patti Boyd of Layla and George Harrison fame on the subject matter of being a muse.

But it is not just the subject matter of the book that makes this a charmer, but Will Hodgkinson's personality comes through the written page, and you are rooting for this guy to make good with respect to making music. He also has great taste when it comes to songwriters. It's nice that he chit chats with Webber on how to communicate in a song, and then noticing that underground iconic cult figure Lawrence is not that far off from Webber's aesthetic (as well as being a lot poorer, he also lived a few blocks away from the Titan of the Music stage.)

An incredible engaging narrative and I think this book belongs to the rock n' roll book classic category.

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