Monday, January 7, 2013

33 1/3: Kick Out the Jams (Don McLeese) & 33 1/3: The Stone Roses (Alex Green) - Continuum Publishing

Christmas is the time of giving and my girlfriend chose to give the gift of music. Or in this case, books about music.

I'd been reading about the 33/3rd guides previously, so was glad to receive a couple of examples of the set.

(My dorky collector instinct did however kick in with a burst of inspiration to collect the entire set and the accompanying LP's. I'm in the midst of talking myself out of it).

I've read the MC5 one thus far and was surprised to find that it's rather more gonzo (about the authors relationship with the LP) than I would have assumed.
I'm ashamed to say that I don't actually own MC5's 'Kick Out The Jams' on LP (though I have a copy of the 7" single release that I reckon is worth about ten times what I paid for it). I saw a very tatty copy in Conch Records in Ponsonby for $20 a while back, which I elected not to buy. With hindsight, that was a bit of a fail.

I'm fairly sure that my girlfriend knows whom the MC5 are because of me asking her whether I'm allowed to get my favourite picture of them blown up onto canvas and put it above our fireplace.
(A space that's currently occupied by a picture of a graffiti mural of John Peel in our previous home, Bristol). From her non-plussed response, I think I'll be settling with it on the wall of the music room.

Second up is the installment regarding the Stone Roses eponymous debut album.
I can't overstate the importance of The Stone Roses first album on my life. I originally bought it on tape in Our Price Records in Farnham when I was about ten years old, having seen the video to 'One Love' on the ITV Chart Show. (Those in the know will realise that 'One Love' isn't actually on the record. I was gutted).

The album was the first indie/alternative record that I bought (up to that point, I had a worrying obsession with poodle haired hard rock bands) and influenced much of my further listening (and particularly guitar playing).

I watched the press conference announcing The Stone Roses reformation last year and believe that they're doing it for the right reasons. I can scarcely contain my excitement about seeing them next month in Auckland. I will no doubt devour this book and hammer the LP in the meantime.

My one observation about it is that it was an interesting choice to have a music journalism Professor from San Francisco talk about one of the most culturally significant Northern British bands of an era.

Whereas Don McLeese's comments on the MC5 are related to his understanding of their position in the artistic and political climate of late '60's Detroit, Green is (at his own admission) talking about The Stone Roses with little understanding of the context of their work. I wonder whether a writer more familiar with the British music scene would have offered more insight.

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