By Marcia Barrett
Coming to London aged thirteen from desperate poverty in Jamaica; pregnant at fifteen after being abused by a family friend; fifteen years later singing in Boney M, one of the biggest international groups of the late-1970s; a messy group split and millions in unpaid royalties during the 1980s; a 1990s solo career interrupted by six bouts of cancer - ovarian, breast, lymph node (twice), spine and oesophagus - and having to learn to walk again. Yet throughout Marcia Barrett has remained totally cheerful, relentlessly optimistic and a shining inspiration, looking on every obstacle as a mere inconvenience rather than anything insurmountable. Now, she is ready to tell her fantastic story, which is much more than just a pop star autobiography. It is a charming, candid, laugh-out-loud story of survival, triumph, indomitable spirit and total upfullness, often driven by sheer force of will. It is also that very rare thing in British publishing, a feelgood story for black women that has real significance among the UK's African-Caribbean population - there are very few middle-aged black women in this country (a keen book-buying demographic) who didn't, as youngsters, have hairbraiding copied from Marcia Barrett. But of course it has a mainstream audience too: the battles against cancer are relevant to all women, as is much of her early personal life and balancing looking after her mother and son with life on the road in Boney M.
A Fast Ride Out of Here
By Pete Way, Paul Rees
'They call me a madman but compared to Pete Way, I'm out of my league.' - Ozzy OsbourneThere are rock memoirs and then there is this one. A Fast Ride Out of Here tells a story that is so shocking, so outrageous, so packed with excess and leading to such uproar and tragic consequences as to be almost beyond compare. Put simply, in terms of jaw-dropping incident, self-destruction and all-round craziness, Pete Way's rock'n'roll life makes even Keith Richards's appear routine and Ozzy Osbourne seem positively mild-mannered in comparison. Not for nothing did Nikki Sixx, bassist with LA shock-rockers Motley Crue and who 'died' for eight minutes following a heroin overdose in 1988, consider that he was a disciple of and apprenticed to Way.During a forty-year career as founding member and bassist of the venerated British hard rock band UFO, and which has also included a stint in his hell-raising buddy Ozzy's band, Pete Way has both scaled giddy heights and plunged to unfathomable lows. A heroin addict for more than ten years, he blew millions on drugs and booze and left behind him a trail of chaos and carnage. The human cost of this runs to six marriages, four divorces, a pair of estranged daughters and two dead ex-wives. Latterly, Way has fought cancer, but has survived it all and is now ready to tell his extraordinary tale. By turns hilarious, heart-rending, mordant, scabrous, self-lacerating, brutally honest and entirely compulsive, A Fast Ride Out of Here will be a monument to rock'n'roll debauchery on an epic, unparalleled scale and also to one man's sheer indestructability.
Fire and Rain
By David Browne
Set against a backdrop of world-changing historical and political events, Fire and Rain tells the extraordinary story of one pivotal year in the lives and music of four legendary artists, and reveals how these artists and their songs both shaped and reflected their times. Drawing on interviews, rare recordings, and newly discovered documents, acclaimed journalist David Browne allows us to see,and to hear,the elusive moment when the '60s became the '70s in a completely fresh way" (Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution ).
Four Way Street
By Dave Zimmer
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have been hailed as "The American Beatles" and "Folk-Rock's Mount Rushmore." They launched a trail-blazing acoustic-electric sound in 1969 and have been captivating listeners with their music ever since. Coming together as refugees from three seminal'60s bands-the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies-the combined talents of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young have influenced several generations of musicians while proving to have enduring appeal to fans of all ages. As rock and roll's first "supergroup," CSNY generated an enormous amount of media scrutiny-from their galvanizing appearance at Woodstock to multi-platinum, chart-topping albums such as Deja Vu, from David Crosby's miraculous recovery from life-threatening addictions to the band's resurgence for enormously successful concert tours. Now, noted CSNY historian Dave Zimmer distills the best of the journalism on these four remarkable artists, ranging from group portraits to individual profiles to in-depth interviews to incisive commentary by such writers as Cameron Crowe, Ben Fong-Torres and David Crosby himself. 4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader is an open window into one of the most popular groups of all time, offering a fascinating look at their highly charged musical relationships and how they have changed over the decades, along the way revealing a colourful chronicle of the music of an era that continues to echo into the new millennium.
By Ekkehard Jost
When originally published in 1974, Ekkehard Jost's Free Jazz was the first examination of the new music of such innovators as Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jost studied the music (not the lives) of a selection of musicians,black jazz artists who pioneered a new form of African American music,to arrive at the most in-depth look so far at the phenomenon of free jazz. Free jazz is not absolutely free, as Jost is at pains to point out. As each convention of the old music was abrogated, new conventions arose, whether they were rhythmic, melodic, tonal, or compositional, Coltrane's move into modal music was governed by different principles than Coleman's melodic excursions Sun Ra's attention to texture and rhythm created an entirely different big bang sound then had Mingus's attention to form.In Free Jazz, Jost paints a group of ten "style portraits",musical images of the styles and techniques of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, the Chicago-based AACM (which included Richard Abrams, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago), and Sun Ra and his Arkestra. As a composite picture of some of the most compelling music of the 1960s and'70s, Free Jazz is unequalled for the depth and clarity of its analysis and its even handed approach.
Father Of The Blues
By W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy's blues, Memphis Blues," "Beale Street Blues," "St. Louis Blues",changed America's music forever. In Father of the Blues, Handy presents his own story: a vivid picture of American life now vanished. W. C. Handy (1873-1958) was a sensitive child who loved nature and music but not until he had won a reputation did his father, a preacher of stern Calvinist faith, forgive him for following the "devilish" calling of black music and theatre. Here Handy tells of this and other struggles: the lot of a black musician with entertainment groups in the turn-of-the-century South his days in minstrel shows, and then in his own band how he made his first 100 from "Memphis Blues" how his orchestra came to grief with the First World War his successful career in New York as publisher and song writer his association with the literati of the Harlem Renaissance.Handy's remarkable tale,pervaded with his unique personality and humour,reveals not only the career of the man who brought the blues to the world's attention, but the whole scope of American music, from the days of the old popular songs of the South, through ragtime to the great era of jazz.
From Satchmo To Miles
By Leonard Feather
Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Norman Granz, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles, Don Ellis, and Miles Davis,these are the dozen jazz figures whom Leonard Feather chose to describe the development of jazz. This is the first Feather book to examine in-depth the innovative figures who have led the way throughout the music's history. As composer, producer, and for almost half-a-century one of its leading critics, Feather has a unique perspective of these jazz immortals. He has worked with and known all of them. "These are portraits of human beings first, analyses of musicians or musical history only peripherally if at all," says Feather in his new foreword. A warm, affectionate, and perceptive inside account of twelve originals, the book is packed with wonderful stories. As Feather says: "Most of all I am grateful for the inspiration and friendship of the artists themselves. Armstrong and Ellington were directly responsible, through their records, for drawing me to jazz. After their magic had worked on me, the others, one by one, sustained and refreshed and invigorated my interest in, an involvement with, this liveliest of twentieth-century arts."