Astral Weeks – A SECRET HISTORY OF 1968 – RYAN H. WALSH

Interrupting the musical broadcast to bring you news of new book from Hallelujah The Hills frontman Ryan H Walsh, published by Penguin Random House it’s not out until March 2018 but you can pre-order now.

Astral Sojourn
The untold story of how Van Morrison fled record-industry thugs, hid out in Boston and wrote one of rock’s greatest albums.

A mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more

Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed rock musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album’s fascinating backstory–along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.

On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year, Walsh’s book follows a crisscrossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and “hippie entrepreneurs,” from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV’s wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar.

A mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks: James Brown quells tensions the night after Martin Luther King is assassinated; the real-life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom. From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes to acid experiments and hippie entrepreneurs, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place.

Beat Surrender 2015 best of everything else, tour specials, singles clubs, books, box-sets, re-issues……..

Gill Sandell & Chris T-T – Walk Away, Walk Away

Lovely covers album from  Gill Sandell and Chris TT

The Delines – Scenic Sessions

More delights from The Delines, releases as a tour only CD there was a limited release later in the year and you can get the dl at Bandcamp now too,

Ian Levine’s – Solid Stax Sensations

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Another classy release on the wonderful Kent label

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The Late Great Townes Van Zandt

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CD / Vinyl

Growing Up…. With The Jam

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Drive-by Truckers – It’s Great To Be Alive

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Epic live box set on vinyl………

Neko Case – Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule

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Early Xmas present to self, stunning vinyl box set including 8 vinyl remasters (from the original analog tape) + a limited edition 80-page full colour photo-book and vinyl slip mat all presented in a collectors box.

100,000 Words – Michael Weston King

For the past 30 years Michael Weston King has toured the world as a musician, singer and songwriter. From back street Bootle bars to Las Vegas stages, from folk clubs in Hong Kong to protest festivals in Berlin, Texan honky tonks to Italian opera houses, his songs have taken him to places he would never have imagined going to, and some he wished he hadn’t.

Through his work and travel he has met and collaborated with some of the leading lights in music, literature and theatre of the past 40 years. He has never been a diary keeper – a look back over 20 years of his diaries just shows a series of notes, things to do, gigs to play, places to be but also always lyrics. His songs are his diary.

The one constant throughout his adult years have been the songs, that have documented his journey, his travels, his life. Always a note book in hand, or a Dictaphone inside his jacket pocket, a wallet full of receipts and train tickets with scrawls on, fag packets full of scribbles, ideas and lines that maybe are the start of a new song.

100,000 Words is the story so far, a songwriter’s life’s work, MWK’s first ever collection of lyrics. Each song is individually introduced giving the background story behind it, not an explanation – we need to let the mystery be – but what inspired it to be written, why it was written, what was the influence. For the guitars players amongst you, each song also includes chords and tunings while the main opening introduction to the book is a personal insight into his career as a singer, songwriter, collaborator, working musician and world traveled troubadour.

Here are just some of the people Michael has collaborated with; Townes Van Zandt, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Jackie Leven, Ron Sexsmith, John Doe, Peter Case, Graham Parker, Kinky Friedman, Ian McNabb, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, David Morrissey, Carolyn Hester, Andy White, Rab Noakes, Eric Taylor, Tom Ovans, Mick Thomas, Steve Wynn.

Spending the vast majority of his adult life on the road has seen him tour and perform with Nick Cave, John Cale, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Nick Lowe, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Nils Lofgren, Arlo Guthrie, America, Steve Forbert, Joe Ely, Giant Sand, Los Lobos, Son Volt, Janis Ian, Terry Allen, Joe Henry, Blue Rodeo, Maria McKee, Boo Hewerdine, Johnny Dowd, The Handsome Family, Susanne Sondfor, Mark Olsen, among many others.

Having seen the likes of good friends and great artists such as Townes Van Zandt, and Jackie Leven leave us before a book containing all their collected writings came to pass, MWK sets out to ensure his life time as ‘a slave to the song’ does not go unrecorded by presenting this, his first ever complete collection of lyrics.

More info

The Style Council Mr Cool’s Dream – Iain Munn

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Mr Cool’s Dream is a wonderful book dedicated to the The Style Council and offers an amazingly detailed and accurate biopic of the band, their music and what has being described as Paul Weller’s ‘forgotten’ years, I’ve consumed many similar books but never one quite as exhaustive and in-depth as this one, it’s a real labour of love and it’s great to see it back in print – this time as a high quality 360 page paperback, a must for any fan of the band, of Weller and of the era – you can buy direct from the author / publisher here, highly recommended

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