Flanagan, who has written about music for Rolling Stone and the Boston Globe, and is executive editor of Musician magazine, has interviewed 28 singer-songwriters ``out of the rock tradition anteceded by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, the tradition that narrowed to Bob Dylan before expanding again as a result of Dylan's great impact.'' This tradition, at least as depicted here, covers an amazing amount of territory, encompassing Elvis Costello and Kris Kristofferson, Yoko Ono and Keith Richard. Flanagan has produced a book of interesting though unsurprising interviews that, with the biographical introductions, tell us a good deal about the influences and experiences affecting the musicians' creating and performing. Among the artists interviewed are: Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, David Byrne, Dylan himself, Mick Jagger, Rickie Lee Jones, Mark Knopler, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, Sting, James Taylor, Pete Townshend, Tom Waits and Neil Young. Photos. Major ad/promo. (October)
Talk about a subtitle! Flanagan, executive editor of Musician magazine, interviews 27 songwriters of the rock eracalling some of their music rock is stretching itand talks about songs and songwriting. Most of the composers seem happy to speak more about their craft than their lifestyle or career; the interviews are unusually frank and revealing. Flanagan approached the book as a unified project, so it's frustrating that it doesn't add up to more than a collection of good interviews. At least here the artists have the last word, and the results are a good addition to any popular music collection. Mark H. Sullivan, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Charlotte
School Library Journal
YA Flanagan includes only ``performers whose songs could be performed solo on acoustic guitar without losing their sense or impact,'' in particular those from the ``rock tradition anteceded by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.'' These narrow parameters are necessary because so many talented songwriters are not interviewed. The 27 who are include Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Mick Jagger, Joni Mitchell, David Byrne, and Joan Armatrading. Flanagan's foreword discusses rock songwriting styles and methods in general. He then breaks the parade of songwriters into seven logical groups, including ``Southern Voices,'' ``Penitents of the Spirit,'' ``California Voices,'' and ``Emigrants.'' Each section is preceded by a brief introductory discussion, as is each interview. These discussions provide great insight into the history of rock and roll by placing the artists in context; the interviews then add insight into their various writing styles. Students and other interested readers of music literature, of songwriting, and of rock and roll will appreciate this well-organized, well-presented collection. Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Bill Flanagan is the author of Written in My Soul, a collection of conversations with songwriters, and U2 at the End of the World. He is senior vice president and editorial direc-tor of VH1. Flanagan has written for Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Spy, and many other publications. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.