A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Friday, November 13, 2009

One Step Beyond

Popmatters had a great review this week of Terry Edwards' book for the series on Madness' debut album.

You can read the whole review here, but here's a taster...


In addition to his own memories of the time, Edwards spoke to producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, Stiff Records’ Dave Robinson, John Hasler (designated “Minder” on the record sleeve) and Madness members Mike “Barso” Barson, Chrissy Boy (Chris Foreman), Thommo (Lee “Kix” Thompson), Bedders (Mark Bedford), Chas Smash (Cathal Smyth), Woody (Dan Woodgate), and Suggs (who also has another name, but no one ever uses it). Each chapter is prefaced by a lyrical excerpt (lots of Ian Dury, incidentally), or by a pertinent quote from a band member, either about the song in question or a band mate.

Each of these seems to be Edwards’ way of clueing readers to the fact that he isn’t just going to discuss musical arrangements and in-studio details (though, there is plenty of that included for the more technically obsessed, too). In fact, Chapter 8 begins with a lyric from “Sweet Gene Vincent” about being on the road and continues with several funny-but-true paragraphs about how rock music really revolves around laundry, before getting into the other laundry-related subject that is the a central theme of “In the Middle of the Night.” Edwards jumps from song to song and album to album tying together threads about this topic before bringing the whole thing full circle with a suitable quip. He does this so beautifully with the rest of the chapters/tracks, too, weaving actual incidents with insight into the song structures, confirming or refuting rumors about the meanings behind lyrics (sometimes both, depending on who he’s spoken to), commenting on the social and political subjects sometimes hidden in the songs, and providing tidbits of trivia.


And here's some Prince Buster for the weekend:

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