Book review: On track – BADFINGER, WARREN ZEVON, Sessions – ERIC CLAPTON

On track...Badfinger (book)

Sonicbond Publishing [Publication date 29.04.22]

The tomes from Sonicbond Publishing come thick and fast.  The “On track…”series aims to cover all of an artist’s song/album output, condensed into around 150 pages, and relying heavily on secondary sources.

Badfinger were nurtured by the Fab Four (well, Paul McCartney and George Harrison at least) in their early days on the Apple label but were wrought by shady deals and, ultimately, tragedy.  This forms the sad backdrop to any discussion of the band.  Robert Day-Webb tells the story, highlighting the key albums whilst relying heavily on the definitive biography by Dan Matovina.

Only Joey Molland now carries the band’s flame and the book brings the story up to date with recent/related releases.

Live recordings are referred to but there is no reference to filmed material which seems an omission. Day-Webb rightly emphasises the evolving nature of the song ‘Suitcase’ (originally on the album ‘Straight Up’) which morphed into an extended jam track perhaps best seen on the Granada TV show ‘Set Of Six’ recorded in May 1972 but never getting an official release.  YouTube beckons…****

Andrew Wild’s Beatles books are amongst the best in the “On track…” series and he approaches Sessions Eric Clapton with the same due diligence.  (He’s also written about Clapton’s solo work).  It helps that he is a proper collector and has got copies of those sessions he talks about.  Wild doesn’t mention the myth (or otherwise) of a session for the James Bond film franchise in the late 1980s.

This is essential reading for those who wish to tap into Clapton’s parallel career but, as Wild intimates, with 200 plus projects an expensive hobby.  ****

Peter Gallagher covers the 12 studio albums and two live releases for an appraisal of influential American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon.  If like me you only know Zevon’s work via the classic track ‘Sentimental Hygiene’ rather than the albums in general, start here.

Like most authors in this series, Gallagher does an admirable synthesis of the available interviews and publications whilst being honest in his approach:  “free of unfettered fawning  and sycophancy”.  ****

We keep emphasising, but it is worth reiterating, Sonicbond titles don’t have an index. This means that if you want to find out about specific songs/sessions you have heard, and you’re not sure of the time period,  you’ll need to keep turning the pages.  For example if you’ve heard “Sentimental Hygiene” and you want to know (a) what album is it from (b) more about the song.  With these books in front of you, you shouldn’t have to Google it.

Review by David Randall

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