Album Review

Leonard Cohen’s Dark Farewell

The haunting, poetic You Want It Darker, which turned out to be the final product of Leonard Cohen’s remarkable late-career creative peak, almost didn’t happen. The project stalled because of the 82-year-old artist’s health problems and those of collaborator Patrick Leonard. Cohen’s son Adam revived it, setting up his father in a medical chair at home,… Continue reading Leonard Cohen’s Dark Farewell

Album Review

NRBQ’s Wild Half-Century Ride

It’s a good thing NRBQ have been known by their initials rather than the words those initials stand for: New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (or Quintet until 1978). It’s hard enough trying to describe what these guys are all about without a misleading label; and while R&B is somewhere in the mix, this is by… Continue reading NRBQ’s Wild Half-Century Ride

Music Book Review

Bob Dylan: The Lyrics 1961–2012

If you have any doubts about whether Bob Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature—or even if you don’t—pick up the newly issued fat book that collects his lyrics. Spanning more than half a century, it preserves an astonishingly large and innovative body of work. Arranged chronologically, the volume devotes chapters to each of 31 Dylan albums,… Continue reading Bob Dylan: The Lyrics 1961–2012

Film/TV Review

A Crash Course in Beatlemania

A smile planted itself on my face moments after tthe beginning of Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, when the film showed the Beatles on stage in Manchester, England, on November 20, 1963. There they were, in full color and with pristine sound, singing “She Loves You” to a theatre full of adoring fans. I’ve… Continue reading A Crash Course in Beatlemania

Music Book Review

An Ultimate Rolling Stones Reference

The authors of the mind-bogglingly comprehensive All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release (2013) and Bob Dylan: All the Songs (2015) are back. This time around, Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon offer an equally exhaustive look at the Rolling Stones’ work. Three of these volumes in four years? You have to wonder when… Continue reading An Ultimate Rolling Stones Reference

Album Review

Bob’s Big Box

Talk about a Bobfest! The 1966 Live Recordings, a beautifully packaged new 36-CD box, collects every known recording from Dylan’s 1966 shows on three continents—and no, 36 is not a typo. Throughout, Dylan is backed by an outfit that includes Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson of the Hawks (later the Band). The… Continue reading Bob’s Big Box