The Rock N Roll Librarian: Our Monthly Rock N Roll Book Club, co-hosted by Shelley Sorenson and Christian Swain. Shelley picks a book, usually a Rock N Roll biography, she reads it and I purposely do not and then we dig into it together. Shelley is a rocker from way back, and a professional librarian from way back. She goes way back with us too - the Librarian was our first “spin off” show! Shelley sees Rock N Roll Librarian as an opportunity to combine her love of books and love of music into something new! Proud part of Pantheon - the podcast network for music lovers.
All I Ever Wanted: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir by Kathy Valentine
In this episode of the Rock n Roll librarian, Shelley and Christian chat about Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine’s story of what it took to find success and find herself, in ALL I EVER WANTED: A ROCK ‘n’ ROLL MEMOIR.
The Go-Go’s became the first multi-platinum-selling, all-female band to play instruments themselves, write and perform their own songs, and have a number one album. For Valentine, the band's success was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream―but it’s only part of her story.“Like a scorching guitar solo emerging from the prettiest pop song, Kathy Valentine’s All I Ever Wanted blows away every other music memoir out there. It’s the raw, real story of a Texas girl who raised herself and became a legend through sheer grit and talent, from raucous rocker to pop princess and back again. In prose that is powerful and relatable and unsentimental and funny and scary, Valentine takes readers from the depths of a dark childhood to the electric heights of superstardom. It’s a stunning journey, masterfully told.” —Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors and Toil & Trouble
This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
Rage to Survive: The Etta James Story
On this episode of the Rock n Roll Librarian, Shelley tells Christian all about the book RAGE TO SURVIVE: THE ETTA JAMES STORY.
One of the great women of American music, Etta was equally at home singing blues, R&B, and jazz, and gave us such amazing songs as “I’d Rather Go Blind”, “Tell Mama”, and “At Last”. She regales us with riveting stories of her chaotic youth in Los Angeles, her teen years in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, and her troubled trip to stardom. From being discovered at age five singing in her church choir, to her first hit record, to her work and friendships with Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and other stars of the Golden Age of Soul, Etta relates with brutal honesty her struggle with drugs, her childhood dealing with an elusive and unstable mother, and her lifelong trouble with brutal and controlling men. A riveting story told in Etta’s own unvarnished and humorously right-on words.
By Etta James and David Ritz
Da Capo Press, 1995
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This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
No One Here Gets Out Alive: The Biography of Jim Morrison
In this episode of the Rock n Roll Librarian, Shelley and Christian discuss the life of Jim Morrison (The Doors), as told in the ground-breaking 1980 biography “No One Here Gets Out Alive”. Here is Morrison in all his complexity - singer, philosopher, poet, delinquent - the brilliant, charismatic, and obsessed seeker who rejected authority in any form, the explorer who probed "the bounds of reality to see what would happen..." Seven years in the writing, this definitive biography is the work of two men whose empathy and experience with Jim Morrison uniquely prepared them to recount this modern tragedy: Rolling Stone writer Jerry Hopkins, and Danny Sugerman, confidant of and aide to the Doors.
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This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
Time is Tight: My Life, Note By Note by Booker T. Jones
On this episode Rock n Roll Librarian Shelley Sorenson and Rock n Roll Archaeologist Christian Swain explore a musician vital to the Stax Records and Southern Soul sounds, Booker T. Jones. As we discuss his memoir, “Time is Tight: My Life, Note By Note”, we play samples of many Stax hits and other important tracks that Booker wrote, produced, arranged and performed on, featuring Otis Redding, William Bell, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Albert King, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Rita Coolidge, Sam and Dave and, of course, Booker T. and the MGs.
From Booker T. Jones's earliest years in segregated Memphis, music was the driving force in his life. While he worked paper routes and played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons, Jones, on the side, was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax Studios - all while still in high school. Not long after, he would form the genre-defining group Booker T. and the MGs, whose recordings went on to sell millions of copies, win a place in Rolling Stone's list of top 500 songs of all time, and help forge collaborations with some of the era's most influential artists.
Nearly five decades later, Jones's influence continues to help define the music industry, but only now is he ready to tell his remarkable life story. Time is Tight is the deeply moving account of how Jones balanced the brutality of the segregationist South with the loving support of his family and community, all while transforming a burgeoning studio into a musical mecca.
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Face It: A Memoir by Debbie Harry
Happy Holidays Diggers! Open up this present early! Shelley and Christian break down the new autobiography of one of the most beautiful punkers to ever hit the CBGB’s stage, Deborah Harry. The book is called, ‘Face It: A Memoir’ and it is a deep dig, warts and all of her life and times. It’s a great book, written by the Blondie singer herself and punctuated with expected pictures and unexpected fan art sent to her over the decades.
Musician, actor, activist, and the iconic face of New York City cool, Debbie Harry is the frontwoman of Blondie, a band that forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. As a muse, she collaborated with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of Debbie Harry’s impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life—until now.
In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It re-creates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Aesthetically dazzling, and including never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It brings Debbie Harry’s world and artistic sensibilities to life.
Following her path from glorious commercial success to heroin addiction, the near-death of partner Chris Stein, a heart-wrenching bankruptcy, and Blondie’s breakup as a band to her multifaceted acting career in more than thirty films, a stunning solo career and the triumphant return of her band, and her tireless advocacy for the environment and LGBTQ rights, Face It is a cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps—a memoir as dynamic as its subject.
The name Debbie Harry evokes many images: seminal rock-n-roll figure, complex songstress, incandescent front woman, actor and fashion icon. As a vibrant global force and a shaper of pop culture, Debbie’s chart-topping success, fearless spirit and rare longevity led to an induction into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame for Blondie in 2006. With more than 50 million albums sold worldwide and acclaimed solo projects, Debbie has also engaged in a successful acting career with over 30 film and television roles to her credit (including Videodrome, Hairspray, and Heavy to name a few). She has become and still remains a true national treasure, one whose influence continues to impact the worlds of music, fashion and art. With Blondie, undeniably one of the most trailblazing and influential bands of our time, she and co-founder Chris Stein brought the worlds of rock, punk, disco and Reggae together with “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me” and broke ground by combining hip-hop and pop on “Rapture.” As a solo artist, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards co-produced her first release Koo Koo in 1981 and she continued to defy expectations with such genre-busting efforts as “French Kissing in the U.S.A.,” “Rush Rush,” “Rain,” and “The Jam Was Moving.” Best known as the face of Blondie, Debbie has also had a long running collaboration with the critically acclaimed American jazz group, The Jazz Passengers, stalwarts of New York's free-jazz scene. Her spectacular voice drips with a sophisticated elegance rarely heard in pop music and she continues to infuse her work with an exquisite artistic sensibility. From an irreverent Lower East Side punk goddess to a bona fide international ambassador of New York cool, Debbie Harry will forever be synonymous with that punk spirit that lives somewhere in all of
Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson
This episode Rock N Roll Librarian Shelley Sorenson and Rock N Roll Archaeologist Christian Swain go down the big muddy river and deep into the delta to discuss Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow’s new book ‘Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson’. This time, while on our Mississippi adventure, we will play many of the few Robert Johnson recordings and couple that with samples from famous acolytes throughout the rock n roll era to show just how influential this guy was to the latter music.
Robert Johnson’s recordings, made in 1936 and 1937, have profoundly influenced generations of singers, guitarists, and songwriters. Yet until now, his short life—he was murdered at the age of 27—has been poorly documented. Gayle Dean Wardlow has been interviewing people who knew Johnson since the early 1960s, and he was the person who discovered Johnson’s death certificate in 1967. Bruce Conforth began his study of Johnson’s life and music in 1970 and made it his mission to fill in what was still unknown about him. In this definitive biography, the two authors relied on every interview, resource, and document, much of it material no one has seen before. This is the first book about Johnson that documents his lifelong relationship with family and friends in Memphis, details his trip to New York, uncovers where and when his wife Virginia died and the impact this had on him, fully portrays the other women Johnson was involved with, and tells exactly how and why he died and who gave him the poison that killed him. Up Jumped the Devil will astonish blues fans worldwide by painting a living, breathing portrait of a man who was heretofore little more than a legend.
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