BOOK REVIEW: Glyn Johns’ “Sound Man”

 photo GlynJohns_cover_zpsdf6c2566.jpg If you have bought any rock albums in the last 50 years, you will have come across Glyn Johns’ name a number of times, as he was responsible for producing and/or engineering some of the music that has become a part of your life. He has been mythologized due to the work he did with The Rolling Stones and The Beatles but Sound Man (Blue Rider Press) tells the stories direct from the man himself, from his childhood tales to joining a choir that would lead him to become not only part of the recording studio, but part of the record industry.

As someone who is known as a producer and engineer, I had wondered (and perhaps hoped) that he would get technical about some of the projects that has made him someone to work with. It doesn’t get too technical or “over the head” at all but instead, he touches on meeting and working with the artists, his interaction with everyone involved and the experiences he may have had during a recording session or live shows. One is able to read about certain equipment from time to time but Sound Man isn’t a gear essay. Instead, Johns speaks from the perspective of someone who was there, yet at times he also writes as he was just a fly on the wall, observing what’s going on while putting together the process of what was and still remains his work.

The bulk of the book focuses on what he did in the 60’s and 70’s, which means extensive work with Led Zeppelin, the Stones, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and so many others. It’s a chance to find out about the negotiations for artists, doing a lot of traveling from England to Los Angeles or New York and back, and seeing everyone pass him by as if it he was just taking a stroll through a school building and saying hello to old friends. Johns does reveal a few facts that may have been overlooked, such as certain musicians that played in well known songs and why, so if you loved Charlie Watts’ drumming in “It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It)”, you’re actually listening to Kenney Jones behind the kit.

The tales from the Sound Man are that from an employee and a fan, which makes it a pleasant read. By the last third of the book, we get to the 80’s and 90’s and the changes of the music industry as a whole and despite the setbacks, he moves forward and sticks with his job, occasionally having a bit of self-doubt but realizing his ears and expertise still hold a lot of value, as it has since the early 1960’s.

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SOME STUFFS: Two new gold remastered CD’s from John Mayall Blues Breakers & Rod Stewart

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If you are an audiophile or just love music in high quality form, you probably know about these two latest gold CD remasters from Audio Fidelity. If not, get your credit/debit cards ready.

John Mayall Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton made an immediate impact when it was released in 1966, helping to great a blues revival that has never slowed down which also helped bring the music to a wider/whiter audience. This is also the album that would help form Eric Clapton into a superstar. The mono mix of this album is being used as it is the preferred version by thousands of fans around the world.

Never A Dull Moment was Rod Stewart‘s 1972 album and featured the hit “You Wear It Well”. Long before he pulled on the suits and matured, Stewart was of course one of the best spikey-haired rock vocalists around, and this is a testament to that.

Both CD’s can be pre-ordered individually through CD Universe by clicking the CD icons above, and there is a special pre-order price that will expire when the release date of November 10th approaches.