Music

#854 A real book about real music

Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music by Ian Hampton Erin, Ontario: Porcupine’s Quill, 2018 $24.95 / 9780889844131 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve All line drawings below by Ian Hampton * Cellist Ian Hampton is known in British Columbia and elsewhere as a distinguished musician and music educator, but his influence goes deeper and further…
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#851 The reluctant warrior & writer

The Grim Reaper: The Life and Career of a Reluctant Warrior by Stu Grimson with Kevin Allen Toronto: Penguin Random House (Viking), 2019 $32.95 / 9780735237247 Reviewed by Timothy Lewis * Stu Grimson played 729 games in the National Hockey League, recording 17 goals and 22 assists. Those are not scoring statistics normally associated with…
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#712 Okanagan verse and jazz

A Matins Flywheel by John Lent Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2019 $20 / 9781771871914 Reviewed by Trevor Carolan * John Lent, the veteran BC poet, writes from Vernon where he has taught at Okanagan College and performed as a jazz artist for years. Within the literary community, he has long been appreciated for his contributions to…
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#671 Connecting the dots

The Great Happiness: Stories and Comics by M.A.C. Farrant Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019 $14.95 / 9781772012217 Reviewed by Valerie Green * I’ve learned through the years that book covers can be deceiving. Such was the case with M.A.C. Farrant’s book The Great Happiness, which shows a young girl, some flowers, and a small bird. It enticed…
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#611 A baby boomer’s songbook

Song Book: 21 Songs From 10 Years (1964-74) by Fiona McQuarrie Walthamstow, UK: New Haven Publishing, 2018 $24.00  /  9781912587155 Reviewed by Randolph Eustace-Walden * It’s been said that if you remember the 1960s you weren’t there. Well, I do, and I was. And like many others of my generation, the music of that time…
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#559 Playing saxophone at Ponoka

Playing into Silence by Tina Biello Halfmoon Bay: Dagger Editions, 2019 $18.00 / 9781987915785 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * Narrative poetry often seems autobiographical even when we know it isn’t. Perhaps poetry is by definition more intense, concentrated and personal than prose. Tina Biello’s two previous books of poetry, In the Bone Cracks of the…
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#444 Carpenters and vagabonds

A Carpenter’s Tale: Ian Ridgway, A Life by Ian Ridgway with Jim Brown and Pat Ridgway Elphinstone: Gypsy Deluxe Books, 2017 $30  /  9781775008309 Orders: patridge201@gmail.com First published December 11, 2018 * Mudflat Dreaming: Waterfront Battles in 1970s Vancouver and the Squatters who Fought Them by Jean Walton Vancouver: New Star Books, 2018 $24 /…
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#412 Vancouver jazz scene

Live at the Cellar: Vancouver’s Iconic Jazz Cub and the Canadian Co-operative Jazz Scene in the 1950s and ‘60s by Marian Jago, foreword by Don Thompson Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018 $29.95 / 9780774837699 Reviewed by Brian Fraser First published November 02, 2018 * Good books on jazz are filled with intriguing stories about the relationships…
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#387 Up where she belongs

First published Sept. 29, 2018. Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography by Andrea Warner, foreword by Joni Mitchell Vancouver: Greystone Books 2018 $36.00 / 9781771643580 Reviewed by Jo-Anne Fiske * Envision a young woman, naïve and conservative in 1965. She sat proudly in her undergraduate history class as the professor led discussion on the fifty-year commemoration…
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#334 Zappa from A to Z

First published Jul. 3, 2018. “Buying this book for a Zappa collector would be akin to gifting a dictionary to an aspiring writer, or Gray’s Anatomy to a medical student.” The Big Note: A Guide to the Recordings of Frank Zappa By Charles Ulrich Vancouver: New Star: 2018 $45  /  9781554201464 Reviewed by Derek von…
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#298 Three tributes to Al Neil

First published May 4, 2018. An obituary on this site has already recorded the life and times — and books — of Al Neil. But there’s nothing like a personal reminiscence–or three–to reveal how extraordinary and perplexing and difficult and odd he could be.                   1. In…
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#239 And here’s to you, Mr. Robinson

First published Jan, 25, 2018. Red Robinson: The Last Deejay by Robin Brunet Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2016. $29.95  /  9781550177695 Reviewed by Lani Russwurm From vaudeville to punk rock, entertainment looms larger than it probably should in Vancouver’s history, considering the city’s dinky stature for most of its existence. One reason for this is…
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#214 At home on the road

Dirty Windshields: The Best and the Worst of the Smugglers Tour Diaries by Grant Lawrence Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $26.95  /  9781771621489 Reviewed by Dustin Cole First published Dec. 6, 2017 * Grant Lawrence’s memoir Dirty Windshields recalls his days and nights as lead singer in the garage rock band Smugglers, Canada’s self-proclaimed…
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#209 Gary Cristall’s ball

First published Nov. 24, 2017. Jeannie Kamins has written and published a VFMF history with a memoir by Gary Cristall who says, “I guess I booked pretty close to 1,000 artists.” For $25 plus shipping costs, 40 Years and Counting: A Visual History of Forty Years of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Jeannie Kamins, 2017)…
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#202 Al Neil (1924-2017)

First published November 17th, 2017. “Whatever I’m doing belongs right here in Vancouver.” — Al Neil, author/pianist (The Cellar 1959) “New York has William Burroughs, Los Angeles has Charles Bukowski and Vancouver has Al Neil,” — local author John Armstrong “Al Neil gets more pleasure out of walking down the road than other people get…
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