Monday, July 27, 2015


Finished Fr 7/24/15

I found this book as I was packing for the move to 940 Westview. This biography came out just before John Phillips book and caused quite a stir back in 1986. I thought his book was much more of a revelation since he was a major supplier and user of prescription drugs, and became addicted to heroin.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' is fairly enjoyable tabloid fare and the biggest revelation is just how short the band was really on the scene- only two and a half years and for one summer, Michelle was fired from the band. They had a slew of classic singles, and I would have thought that they were together for at least a decade.

Papa John and Lou Adler, the manager were instrumental in organizing Monterey Pop.

The Mamas and Papas used voice teachers throughout their career.

The MugWumps was the band that Cass Elliot, Denny Doherty, and John Sebastian were from. Scott Mckenzie was also part of this scene.

Michelle met John when she was seventeen and he convinced her to sing with them and sideline her lucrative career in modeling.

John was an established singer in the folk trio, The Journeymen.  Scott McKenzie also in the band.

Michelle Phillips went on to have a long career in acting and a major role on Knots Landing. I never watched that show.

Michelle's affair with Gene Clark of the Byrds is what caused John to fire her from the band. She had also been romantically involved with Denny Doherty.

John, Denny, and Michelle 'dropped out' to the Virgin Islands in the early sixties. Denny was friends with Cass, and he called her down to try out for the band. This was when many of their hits were written.

They were already best selling recording artists before they ever sang in public.

'Creeque Alley' is a song that documents the formation of the group and 'the scene'...'Nobody Gettin' Fat But Mama Cass'.

The book is nearly thirty years old, and the article in Wikipedia really helped out.

THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom

This was the July selection for The Contemporary Book Club- We 7/22/15

It's the story of an Irish indentured slave who lives with a long extended Black family on a plantation in early 19th century Virginia. Lavinia lost her parents in the voyage from Ireland to America and The Captain placed her in the kitchen house when she arrives. She had a brother, Cardigan, who she hopes to find once she acclimates herself to life in her new setting. She can't seem to realize that her skin color is the major factor that separates her from her new Black family.

Belle runs the kitchen and although only ten years older than Lavinia, she becomes like Lavinia's mother. There are many other characters in this family, and Lavinia becomes 'kin' to all of them. Belle's mother, Mae, becomes like her grandmother.

Virginia is the lady of the house, Captain's wife. And she is a reclusive figure who is addicted to opium. Belle is the Captain's daughter out of wedlock and although Virginia realizes this fact, she uses the laudanum to ease the pain.

The prologue is actually the final section of the book, and it is recorded verbatim twice. Kind of strange.

I enjoyed the novel and the premise of a white girl growing up in a Black slave family was something that I have never encountered. I thought that the writer's approach was a little too 'Young Adult' and the good characters were 'really really good' and the bad characters were 'really really bad'. Most of the members fully enjoyed the novel and I would rate it a 'B minus'.

I read this just after I closed on the house on Westview Drive in early July, 2015.

Link from Amazon-

Thursday, July 9, 2015

- THE LED ZEPPELIN SAGA- The Hammer Of The Gods by Stephen Davis

Finished Th 7/9/15 (The day that I closed on the house at 940 Westview. Oddly enough, I also finished the Smith's bio, "A Light That Never Goes Out" the same afternoon.

This wasn't as 'high-brow' as the Smith's bio, but much more on the 'trashy' side. Maybe it's the subject matter. Zep's image and genre were much more lurid and sensational than the Smith's 'thinking man's' approach to popular music.

Both books were exceptional, but this was definitely a lighter read (but, that's not necessarily a bad thing)

Link to Amazon-

A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT The Enduring Saga of The Smiths by Tony Fletcher

Finished Th 7/9/15 (The day I closed on 940 Westview)

The definitive biography of arguably the best band of the 80's, and easily one of the better rock biographies ever written.

I got it in hardback from the library, and although it's over six hundred pages, I was sorry to reach the end.

Steven Patrick Morrissey

Johnny Marr (Maher)

Andy Rourke

Mike Joyce

Morrissey and Marr's families moved from Ireland to Manchester. Their first homes were torn down during the slum clearances of the sixties, and they were relocated to modern and uglier public housing. A major effect on both of the musicians' outlooks

Link at Amazon-