Friday, July 31, 2015

The Patty Smyth Story.

I just picked up Patti Smith: America's Punk Rock Rhapsodist (quite a mouthful) by Eric Wendell.  It's part of the Tempo series of introductory books on modern musicians, including Dylan, Springsteen, Paul Simon and Bon Jovi (?).  I support the concept, but the first chapter is not giving me confidence.

On Page 5, we get this: "Big Rock Candy Mountain" was Smith's first 45; however, it was not the first single that she purchased.

I can't make head or tail of this.  A 45 is a single, and earlier on the same page Wendell writes Patti purchased "Big Rock Candy Mountain," so it wasn't given to her. If Wendell knows the first single she bought, he should say so--if not, don't bring it up.  Or go ahead and pretend you know, just don't claim a 45 isn't a single.

Page 9:  [Her mother] introduced Patti to vocal jazz singers such as Chris Connor and June Christy...

Late in the same paragraph, quoting Patti from an interview on NPR:  When I was a teenager, I dreamed of being [...] a jazz singer like June Christie or Chris Connor...

1)  So I guess we know where he got the original bit of information, since he gives us the source three sentences later.

2)  There was a jazz singer named June Christy, but no one, as far as I can tell, named June Christie, so either this is a mistake, or Patti spells it wrong when she says it in interviews.

3)  "Vocal jazz singers"?  Are there another kind?

I'm not sure if I can take a whole book of this.

PS I read a bit further and on page 26:  [Playing for several weeks at an important club] proved to be detrimental in the group's forming an eternal dialogue with one another.

I'll ignore the overheated rhetoric and merely note from context I'm pretty sure he means "instrumental" and not "detrimental."

PPS  Page 33:  [Patti] wanted a producer who would have been more of a technician than [John] Cale's made genius persona.

Unless Cale was in the mob, I think Wendell means "mad genius persona."

PPPS Page 36:  [Patti's first album] Horses ends with the track "Land"...

Page 37:  [Horses'] closing track is the song "Elegie"...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just Kids" -Patti's book is pretty good for this stuff.

Didn't Frank Zappa say something about rock journalists? People who can't write writing for people who can't read

4:03 AM, July 31, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

There are variations on the Zappa quote, but it's something like "rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

8:05 AM, July 31, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

What would an "eternal dialogue" be? Perhaps the club was detrimental to the group forming an "internal dialogue," though I'm still not sure what that means.

8:57 AM, July 31, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this book was typed and edited during a blackout?

11:53 AM, July 31, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

That Zappa quote is competitive with Car Talk: "Do two people who don't know what they're talking about know more, or less, than one person who doesn't know what he is talking about?"

1:11 PM, July 31, 2015  

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